If your roof is in good condition, but you're tired of looking like all the other houses in your neighborhood, you might consider changing the shingles on your roof as a way to jazz up the exterior of your home. While the long-term investment can add considerable value to your home, it should not be undertaken without careful thought, as it is an expensive and time-consuming project.

The first thing you will want to do is sit down and discuss any future plans for changing the rest of your home's exterior. Are you planning to paint the house or even the shutters any time soon? If you have siding on your house, will you be replacing it in the near future? Also, consider landscape in the equation, as well. If you select shingles that yellow as they age, you'll want to select the color of other plants in the yard carefully, to avoid having a circus colored property. If you aren't going to be painting or residing in the immediate future, look for colors that will compliment your home. If you need help, search through magazines the contractor can give you, or drive through your community and take note of homes that are of a similar shade, as well as the roof colors. If you are a joint decision maker, talk it over with your spouse or significant other before the work begins. Once the shingles are up, it's no easy thing to change them if one of you changes their mind.

Next, pick out a type of shingle. There are a number of types currently available, including slate, wood, laminated and two styles of asphalt: fiberglass or organic. Look into the advantages and disadvantages of each type, including the cost of installation and maintenance. Also, look for benefits that may be associated with a particular type. For example, because asphalt shingles are fire resistant, they can help lower the cost of your homeowner's insurance, by giving you a higher fire safety rating. Make sure that the design of the shingles is a good fit with the architectural style of your home. There are a number of styles on the market and a wide range of edges and thicknesses that should compliment almost any home.

Finally, select a roofing contractor that is within your budget to do the installation. Making sure that the shingles are installed correctly is essential to avoiding more costly repair or replacement costs. If shingles are loose or not put on correctly, they can blow off in high winds or severe storms, or cause serious water damage through leaks. Also, be sure to check on any guarantee that is provided.

It is common for most shingles to last between 25 and 50 years, though some can survive as long as 75 years or more, Make sure you read the fine print on any advertisements used for the purchase, as the roofing manufacturer often determines the conditions under which the guarantee will or will not be honored.

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