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Roofing Material Basics

Date Added: February 02, 2010 04:56:57 AM
Author: Paul Mroczka
Category: Home Improvement

If you’re going to be constructing a new roof, then it’s helpful to consider the various options you have when it comes to roofing materials. There are eight basic types of roofs on the market. Each has it’s own special composition, look and uses. Here’s a quick, practical tour of roofing materials.

Roofing Material: Asphalt Shingles

If you’re considering asphalt shingles, you’ll find that there are many advantages. You’ll have a lot of choices when it comes to manufacturers, styles and colors. This popular roof covering is inexpensive, easy to fix and resistant to fire. The least expensive are the three-tab variety, and the most expensive are the stylish architectural kind, which are extra durable. Asphalt shingles, which are appropriate for just about any style house, offer a lifespan of 15 to 30 years. Disadvantages include their tendency to scar, susceptibility to moss and mildew and unfavorable environmental effects.


Wood roof

                             A wood roof is naturally attractive

Roofing Material: Wood Shingles

Wood shingles offer a natural look as they slowly weather to light grey and mix in nicely with the environment. This durable roofing material can last up to 50 years if maintained properly. Easy to fix and replace, wood shingles provide your home with a modicum of insulation. They fit in nicely on historic, rustic and contemporary homes as well as cottages, ranches and bungalows. However, you will need to post up additional cash for these expensive shingles and they are high maintenance. If not tended to properly, wood will often split, rot and be compromised by mold and mildew. Pressure treated wood shingles, which are the most expensive, are best in terms of fire resistance. Professional installation is required.

Roofing Material: Metal

Metal roofing materials include those made from steel, tin, copper and aluminum. This durable, lightweight roofing has a 50-plus year lifespan and requires little upkeep. It comes in a range of styles, looks and colors and is friendly to the environment. Metal shingles, which may be installed over existing roofs, can cover just any model or style of home. They hold up well in all kinds of weather, including extreme conditions. Drawbacks are expense, difficulty in installation and the possible need for timely painting.


Tile roof

                         Tile has a distinctive look

Roofing Material: Tile

Tile roofs go well with specific home styles, including Mediterranean, French, Spanish, Mission, Southwest and Italian. These attractive tiles come in various styles and colors. If maintained properly, they are durable. Because tile roof coverings are heavy, they can be problematic if there’s not enough support. Additionally, they are expensive, installation and restoration can be difficult and tile may crack when walked upon. Roofing Material: Slate Slate roofing has a stylistic look that is unique and attractive. It offers a long lifespan, from 60 to 125 years, and is fireproof. Slate is not for every house but this low maintenance roofing does look at home on chateaus and Italian, French and Colonial abodes. Slate roofing is expensive, demands expert installation, and shingles are difficult to anchor. Like tile, slate is heavy and needs extra support.

Roofing Material: Concrete

Concrete, fiber reinforced roofing comes in many colors and styles, taking on the form and look of tile, stone and wood. Overall, it is light, resistant to pests and fire and very tough. Although concrete is easy to maintain, the high-quality brands are expensive. Product quality varies a lot.

Roofing Material: Hot Mopped Asphalt

This type of roofing is limited in terms of application as it’s only appropriate for flat-roofed, modern California-style dwellings. Although it is inexpensive and offers ease in repair, hot mopped asphalt is a health risk to installers and exudes an undesirable odor.

Roofing Material: Engineered Rubber or Plastic

This is one of the newest kinds of roofing on the market. Engineered rubber or plastic, which may be incorporated into just about any type of home, last 30 to 50 years, is low maintenance and cost effective. It comes in a constantly evolving range of colors and styles. Made from recycled materials, it is durable and lightweight.

Roofing Material: Eco-roofs

These attractive roofs are not seen much in the United States but have been used in Europe for more than 30 years. Attractive and demanding little maintenance, this roof system is composed of soil and vegetation, which filters and recycles rainwater and helps keep homes cooler in the warm months. Installation is limited to moderately sloped and flat roofs. Eco-roofs require a substantial investment of funds.

Choosing Your Roofing Material

In determining what is the right roof for your home, you’ll need to take various factors into consideration, including lifespan, expense, durability, maintenance requirements and the style of your home. Before choosing your roof, decide what your priorities are, shop around and ask questions.

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