To get the most from your roof investment, you’ll need to balance a variety of factors.

Cost, lifespan, looks, versatility and energy savings are universal concerns between both residential homeowners and commercial property managers.

Here’s a look at how to assess your roofing needs so you can choose a product that performs well under your unique conditions.

Lifespan versus Cost

When you’re deciding on roofing materials, the biggest determining factors should be cost and life expectancy. Consider this: In 2013, Remodeling Magazine found that the average new roof increased the value of a residential property by $12,000.

If you plan to keep a property for a long time, a more durable roof investment that will pay for itself with lowered maintenance costs and energy savings might be the best choice. However, if you plan to sell quickly, less expensive materials will give a residential or commercial property a fresh, new look while maximizing the return on your investment.

Balancing Looks and Usability

Before any new roof investment, you’ll need to consider the kinds of use the roof will see now and in the future. On an upscale home, natural slate looks wonderful. However, if you plan to install solar panels sometime down the road, you’ll be better off with a roofing type that supports solar installations.

The same is true for a commercial roof investment. If a contractor walks on the roof twice a year for routine inspections, you won’t need to worry about investing in a commercial roof that supports a lot of traffic. On the other hand, if you plan to turn a flat roof into an outdoor living space, you’ll need to consider a product that is both beautiful and durable against foot traffic.

Saving Energy and the Environment

Roofing is no longer simply a way to keep wind and rain out. These days, people expect a roof investment to give back in the form of energy savings. Roofs that are sustainably manufactured and easily recyclable are becoming more popular as well.

The best roofing materials offer an extra layer of insulation to help cut your heating bills in the winter. During the summer, cool roof technology reflects sunlight to keep your air conditioning costs low.

Fortunately, roofing is no longer limited to a choice between asphalt, steel or upscale decorative roofs. Manufacturers have made great strides in creating high-performance roofing products that can meet a variety of needs, making it much easier for you to maximize your roof investment.