A home's roof is arguably the most important structure in any dwelling. Without a roof a home is just an open platform, capable of deflecting winds and a low-lying sun but little else. It is because of this importance that a lot of attention is paid to roofing in the design stage of almost every home.
The typical roof has a peak and gabled ends which is the main support system for the structure. Unlike other parts of the home a roof does not have to hold heat unless the structure has been designed as an open beam home where the living space goes right up to the peak. In a normal structure the roof system is composed of a system of trusses, triangular supports which hold up the roof decking and provide it with its pitch, or angle. Once this is built in place a roofing contractor puts a crew on the job to install the roofing system that was designed for the home. The type of roof depends upon the climate and the deck that the roof will employ.
Asphalt Shingle Roof
In northern areas one of the most popular roof materials is asphalt shingles. These are composed of a rolled sheet of compressed paper soaked in asphalt cement and stamped into a three-tabbed shingle. Many manufacturers offer fiberglass matt shingles which is lighter and stronger than paper but more liable to break off in a windstorm.
Small ceramic stones are pressed into are of the shingle that will be open to the weather. This covering not only protects the shingle from ultra violet rays and weathering it provides color for the roof. After the shingles have been allowed to set for a few days an asphalt, adhesive strip melts into the bottom of the tabs, gluing the two surfaces together and making the roof a single surface.
One of the drawbacks with three-tab asphalt shingles is that individual tabs can break off in a sever windstorm. In addition they can be corroded by mold, mildew and tree sap which can deplete their useful life from 25 years down to 12 to 15.
Laminate, or architectural, shingles fight weathering, material breakdown and breaking. Architectural roof shingles are composed of two regular shingles glued together to form a heavier, shake-like shingle which lasts longer than the normal ones.
Clay and Concrete Shingles
A clay tile roof system goes back to the early civilizations in Asia and the Middle East but came across the ocean with the Spanish almost 500 years ago. These roof do not require a solid decking like asphalt shingles but need a strong support system of cross-planks called battens to hold the heavy clay tiles. These are either nailed or screw on through holes in the edges of the tiles and a special bottom piece prevents rain from being blow up under the tiles.
Pressed concrete tile has provided competition to clay because it is cheaper and lighter. Like clay it is also available in many colors and id installed in much the same way. Both products deflect intense heat that could degrade asphalt after a short time. In addition clay and concrete tiles can be manufactured to look like almost any product including cedar shakes and slate.
Steel: The first manufactured metal roofing was galvanized steel and remnants of these can be seen on barns and sheds all over the country. Even though they are orange with rust these old coverings still shed water and provide protection for the structures. Steel went through many changes and now rust protection has reached high proportions with the addition of plastic coatings that also are impervious to ultra violet rays. Unlike clay or asphalt steel will shed snow easier and is completely recyclable. The installation of steel is not complicated and is manufactured to go over battens that are fastened to the roof deck. Like asphalt the top of eaves is protected with tarred felt or rolled roofing to prevent moisture from getting under the roof.
Aluminum: Long a competent roofing material aluminum was originally put on in its natural form. Homeowners became bored with the metallic look but were impressed with the long-lasting nature of the material. Today aluminum is powder-coated with a wide variety of colors. In addition, like steel, aluminum is available in seamless strips to provide an uninterrupted surface from the peak to the eave.
Aluminum shakes are also making inroads into the roofing industry. Made in colored, interlocking pieces this roof becomes a solid surface impervious to wind and other hazards.
Slate roofing cost is very expensive but it's still a popular material in high-end homes. If the roof structure is sound slate will last several lifetimes and many slate roofs have reached the century mark. Because of the nature of the stone each roof has its own look and personality. In addition a slate roof will increase the value of the home more than any other material.
For a quote from a professional roofing contractor consult our Contractor Directory or post a project online.Posted by: TrustedPros