Roofing Types

With the exception of structural integrity there is no one item of the home that is more important than the roofing system. Because a faulty roof directly impacts every other part of the home including the ability of the house to maintain its structural integrity. The big culprit is water, because it not only destroys the interior but promotes rot and insect infestation that will eventually cause the home's structure to fail.

The type of roofing system that a homeowner or contractor will cover a home depends on what part f the country it will be built. Weather conditions play a big part in the types of materials used and this has a direct impact on the cost of the roof. For example, in Seattle, where the yearly rainfall is heavy but there is not frost, almost any type of roof could be used from slate to asphalt shingles. On the other side of the country, Vermont homeowners and builders may choose a metal roof to contend with the heavy snowfalls and the freeze/thaw cycle.

Clay Tile Roofing

One of the oldest forms of roof protection, after the cave and grass roofs, was the clay shingle. Remnants of a modern, interlocking shingle system have been found in the digs of the old Babylonian Empire, which is around the time that the firing of the bricks was discovered that made the clay harder.

Today clay tile is a standard southwest roofing system and is available in many styles and colors. In many countries of the world the clay tile goes right on the battens, wooden strips that are installed at intervals perpendicular to the rafters. However, to prevent moisture from getting under the tiles a decking covered with roofing felt is usually used. It adds strength to the deck as well.

Although more expensive than asphalt or even metal clay shingles will last the lifetime of the home if properly maintained.

Pressed-Concrete Tiles

A competitor for clay tiles is the pressed-concrete roofing system. Not only can they mimic clay tiles in design a, color and texture they can also be formed to look like wooden shakes and slate. They are also installed like the clay tiles but lighter, more durable and cheaper. Like clay they resist fire, rot, and fatigue and they won't corrode.

Metal Roofing

Like clay shingles metal roofs are almost as old as civilization. Thousands of years ago copper was pounded into shingles and laid on battens. This system evolved into the shingle systems we know today. Strip metal roofing was common as corrugated, tin-plated steel, roofing for over a hundred years. Not only was it extremely strong, even when the plating wore off the rusted steel would take a lifetime to finally show holes.

Aluminum roofing became popular in the 1950's and 1960's, especially in the snow regions. Manufacturers tried painting them but the finish usually faded because of ultra-violet rays and, as well, the paint would chip off. Powder-coating changed the way people viewed metals roofs because the coating was baked on rather than painted. This treatment made steel, standing seam roofs popular because the roof could be bought in many colors just like powder-coated aluminum. Polyvinyl chloride coatings are also popular with steel roofing.

Aluminum also scored with an interlocking shingle system. Textured like real wooden shakes these are available in many colors and, when locked together, make the roof a large aluminum surface impervious to wind and the elements.

Asphalt Shingles

The majority of the roofs in the country are sheathed with asphalt, composite shingle. This consists of a fiberglass or paper-fiber base soaked in asphalt cement and then coated with ceramic granules that are pressed on to provide a hard surface and provide the color. Cheap and easy to install they also require maintenance in some areas and do not have half the life expectancy of other roofs.

Architectural shingles have given asphalt a longer life as they are actually two shingles melded together. Because of this the designers can create shake-like shingles that are not subject to breakage from high winds. These shingles are installed in somewhat the same manner as asphalt.


Slate has been the mainstay of roofing for high-end homes and government buildings for centuries. It is heavy, expensive and requires a skilled crew to install. However, its beautiful colors will make any home a palace and the roof should last for as long as the home.

When making a choice on a roof system the homeowner should take into consideration how long he or she will be staying in the home and, as well, how much the roof will add to the resale value of the home.

Posted by: TrustedPros
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