Have you ever come home to find water dripping from one of your ceiling light fixtures or step into a wet spot on your carpet in sock feet and hear that constant drip that reminds you of a slow faucet leak?

It may be time to consider replacing that old roof, but what type of roofing material should you consider? There are quite a few material choices to choose from.

The most common and usually least expensive is the 3-tab fiberglass shingle available in a 20-year and 25-year product. The 20-year is limited in availability, while the 25-year is available at all building supply locations and has a fungus resistant additive built into the shingle.

The next category in the fiberglass line is the architectural series. This is typically an upgrade from the 3-tab fiberglass line, delivering an interesting design texture and definition.

The image is a reflection of the old wooden shingle look. This type shingle is available in 30-year, 35-year, 40-year and 50 year, and the price increases accordingly.

In my opinion the 40- and 50-year shingles are not worth the investment. The 35-year shingles are available in an optional limited lifetime warranty by some manufacturers. You have to pay extra for that warranty and fulfill certain requirements for the warranty to be honored. In my opinion that wouldn’t be worth the investment either.

Metal roofing has increased in popularity recently although it may be the least understood by the general public. There are basically two types of metal roofing available.

The 5-rib metal roofing and the standing seam metal roofing. The 5-rib metal is the least expensive of the two, but there is a good reason for it. The 5-rib roofing is usually a thinner piece of metal with exposed fasteners.

The problem arises six to eight years later when the rubber washers, under the fasteners, deteriorate and become brittle. The roof can begin to leak from under the head of the fasteners, once the condition of the rubber seal reaches this point.

Even though the metal itself has many more years left, you are left with hundreds of fasteners over the surface of the roof that have lost their ability to seal properly to the metal surface. Once this happens, the “better deal” loses its perceived value, and you are left wondering how to replace or reseal all of those fasteners. The standing seam metal roofing is a thicker piece of metal with hidden fasteners. These fasteners never see the light of day, and water doesn’t get to them so they last as long as the metal itself. The bad part is this option cost a good bit more than the 5-rib roofing.

Only you, the consumer, can make the right decision that best suits your needs and budget but there are many details to consider when making the best choice for your roofing needs.

Like “where did I put those buckets the last time I stepped into a wet spot in the carpet?”

David Richardson with Richardson and Associates Roofing Company contributed to this article. Send your questions or concerns to jdn.dm@comcast.net.

JD Norris is the owner/operator of DreamMaker Bath&Kitchen and a certified S.C. Master Builder, certified “Aging in Place Specialist and certified Green Professional.