Roof Material Options for a Detached Garage

Detached modern house with a double garage

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When your garage is attached to the rest of your home, deciding on roofing material is easy. But what if your garage is detached? While you still have the option of using the same roofing material as that on the rest of your home, matching the material isn't your only (or necessarily the best) choice. Learn the pros and cons of various ways you can roof your garage to determine the best fit.

Best Roof for Curb Appeal

While your garage may not be attached to the rest of your home, if it is visible from the street, then it can be viewed as an extension of your house. This is particularly true if the garage has space above it for offices or an apartment; in this case, the garage becomes more than a second building and becomes part of the overall property. Therefore, to get the most curb appeal from your garage, continuing the roofing material from the house to the garage makes the most sense. This provides a sense of continuity between the buildings and solidifies them as part of one property.

Keep in mind that if the roof on your home will need to be replaced shortly, you should select a roofing material for your garage that will match your plans for the home to maintain continuity.

Best Roof for Durability

Garages aren't used just to house cars; they can also be the site of home-based businesses, craft rooms, playrooms, and gyms. Detached garages are often more likely to become something other than a place to park at night, which means that the durability of the garage also comes into play.

If you plan on storing materials or items in your garage that could become flammable or hazardous, such as paints, oils, fuels, or materials that give off fumes, you need to consider a non-flammable durable roof. Likewise, if you store items in your garage that may be damaged due to moisture in the event of a leak, you need to make sure you consider a long-lasting and durable roofing material. Metal roofs are much stronger and durable than asphalt shingles.

It's possible to use metal roofing materials and still match the color and style of your home's current roof. Metal roofs can look exactly like cedar shakes, slate tiles, or asphalt shingles, making it easy to match the main roof’s style and color, while providing the extra protection your garage's contents need.

Keep in mind that metal roofs can be more expensive than other more traditional roofing materials. While your garage is probably not as large as your house, you will still be paying a premium for materials.

Best Roof for a Low Slope Garage

One of the benefits of putting up a detached garage (rather than building one onto your existing home) is the ability to lower your building costs. Sometimes this results in a garage that has a low pitch or low slope roof. What this means is that the roof declines 2 inches or less per 12 feet vertically. These types of garages are cheaper to build, but they can't handle very many different types of roofing material. In fact, in some cases, the only type of roofing material you can use on a low slope roof is rolled roofing.

Rolled roofing is the same material asphalt shingles are made of, but it's thinner and comes in a 36-foot long by 36-inch wide roll. It's not as attractive or as durable as other roofs, but if you're looking for economy, it’s the least expensive roof that you can put in your garage.

Keep in mind that while you're saving on the initial cost of the material and installation, roofs with rolled roofing material are subject to hail, leaks, and UV damage. Therefore, you'll probably have to replace it more frequently than other material.

Get the Best Roof for Your Garage

Every detached garage is different. Make the right decision on roofing material based on your garage and your plans for it, and know that what you store inside is safe.