Leaks - Repairs - Replace
Types of Roofing Available Today
Except for the frame, no other feature is more important to a structure than the roof. Even without windows or doors a new home construction can stand for a long time without internal damage if it has a roof in place.
Traditionally, roofs were made from any material found locally which could protect the occupants from the elements and channel water away from the dwelling. In some areas of the world, broad leaves still form the shingling for a roof and do the job admirably. In the mid to late 1800's pioneers on the prairies built homes from the sod underfoot and using the grassy chunks as roofing. While in the southwestern states, the Spanish-influenced clay tile shingles formed the base of overhead protection and cedar shake shingles still abound in the northwest.
Today, roofing materials can be brought in from virtually any place on the planet so homeowners are not dependent upon local products. However, the geography has considerable effect on what roofing a homeowner should consider.
Types of Roofing
The asphalt roofing shingle is the meat and potatoes of the roofing industry. No matter where you live in the continental U.S. You will find this roofing material and plenty of asphalt roofing installers. The reason is that it is inexpensive, fairly easy to install in comparison with other roofing materials and, because it is light in weight, does not put excess strain on the roofing system. There are two main types of asphalt shingle and both have a layer of ceramic granules pressed onto the outer surface.
These are the standard type and are composed of paper fiber and asphalt. Paper replaced asbestos because of health concerns and so the shingles are not as hardy as they were with asbestos as the bulk. However, organic shingles are more durable than the fiberglass shingles as well as more tear-resistant and easier to handle in cold weather. As they are thicker than fiberglass shingles they cover small imperfections in the roof making for a smoother surface and won't be as vulnerable to high winds.
This shingle uses a fiberglass matt instead of paper products for reinforcement so are lighter and stronger than organic ones. They also resist curling that causes the premature aging of organic shingles and resist fire better. Although some roofing companies will disagree, an asphalt underlayment is a good idea to add an extra insurance against water leakage.
Most of the wooden roof shingles have disappeared in favor of cedar shakes. This is because wood absorbs water and is prone to rot so pine and spruce are non-starters. As well wood is very flammable and should not be used in conjunction with an open chimney. This said, cedar shakes have natural oil that both repels water and resists rot and insects. Because it is a minimum of three over-lapping layers, well-installed cedar shake roofs are both durable and great looking. After a couple of years the shingles take on a weathered, sliver color that is highly desired. In addition, cedar shingles will never create an environmental problem.
Although fairly inexpensive to buy the shakes in most areas cedar shingle installation is very labor-intensive and so costly.
This type of roof is light, environmentally-friendly and helps keep the home cool by directing heat away.
Steel: Early metal roofs amounted to corrugated iron plated with zinc. These were popular and very durable and even after the zinc wore off and the roof rusted it took years before any leaks would occur. Although these roofs were extremely heavy modern steel roofs come in long strips, pre-painted with a durable powder coating, and lock together vertically. The roofing is fastened to the roof deck with bolts or screws.
Aluminum: Arriving in the 1950's, aluminum roofing is available in strips like steel and also interlocking shakes which form a solid, wind-proof surface. They are also colored like the steel roofs
Copper: Copper is used mainly in architectural situations but it is extremely expensive and very few companies know how to install it. It oxidizes into an antique-looking, blue-green surface and can last for generations.
Slate was, and still is, the champagne of roofs. Heavy, expansive and very labor intensive to install it will last generations in a beautiful patchwork of earthen colors.
Roofing is not for the casual do-it-yourselfer that thinks that the job can be done in a day. Roofing contractors have years of experience in safely installing roofing materials so that they make sure the right materials are used and these products are installed in the right order. There is nothing more frustrating than having a leak in a new roof that could have been easily prevented with the right installation. They also have the most up-to-date safety accessories to ensure no one gets hurt.