Types of Roofs

Types of Roofs

by Marie King

Understanding synthetic slate roofing

As a roofing contractor, you know full well that all roofs are not created equal. A major part of your job is to guide your clients’ choice of a roof. That sounds like a simple enough task. However, when you factor in the different types of roofing materials and their pro’s and cons, it becomes a much more complex task.

As you realize, there are basically four types of roofing materials: cedar shakes, asphalt, metal and tile. With each of these types, comes pluses and minuses. Knowing thoroughly the weaknesses of each type, can save your clients a world of headaches.

Asphalt Shingles

The most popular type of roof is an asphalt roof. It is the lowest in price and easiest to install. This type of roof can last from 20 to 40 years depending on the quality of asphalt used. Aesthetically, it comes in a variety of colors and styles that mimic more expensive types of roofing materials.

However, it is affected by wind, and shingles can blow off during a storm. Hot weather and sun can cause shingles to curl around the edges and require replacement. It’s not a good idea to walk on a asphalt roof because it can be easily damaged.

Cedar Shakes Shingles

Cedar shakes shingles are chosen for their great beauty. Over time, they age to an attractive silver, grayish color. These shingles are also very durable. They last ten years longer than asphalt. Cedar shakes can also resist severe storms such as hurricanes and snow storms.They are also energy efficient and can hold in more heat and cooling.

The drawback of cedar shakes are their price. These shingles cost more than competitive products. These shingles require regular maintenance to prevent mold and mildew. Fire is a problem for cedar shakes because they are easily flammable. In certain parts of the country, companies will not insure cedar shakes because they can be set on fire so easily.

Metal Shingles

There are a lot of positives that go along with metal shingles., They are usually made of galvanized steel and aluminum. Sometimes, upscale metal roofs can be fashioned out of copper and zinc. They are stamped out on a press, locks applied and when in use shingles interlock.

Metal shingles cost less than other comparable shingles. However, metal shingles cost $800 a square as opposed to asphalt, which prices at about $400 per square. Metal shingles can be configured to look like slate, cedar and tile. They are noted for their durability and longevity. Some estimate that a metal roof can last as long as a hundred years. They also add value when a property is sold.

The cons of metal roofs is that they can be difficult to install if the roofer is not highly experienced with putting on metal roofing. Metal shingles are laid out in a stair pattern unlike other shingles that are placed in rows. If the shingles are incorrectly installed, it can lead to ice dams and water under the shingles because the sun cannot melt the moisture.

Roofing Tiles

Roofing tiles come in a variety of materials: terracotta, slate, concrete, plastic and clay. They are used because tiles are waterproof. They are also desired because of their longevity. Warranties on them are up to fifty years. There are missions in California that have tile roofs from the 1800‘s that are still in tact.

Their beauty is the most outstanding feature of tile roofs, and these aesthetics increase the value of the home. Insulation with this type of roofing material retains both heat and cooling because of the air space between the tiles and the decking. Tiles also function well in hail with only a 10% damage rate.

Whatever roofing material your customer chooses, you need to understand the pro’s and cons of the material. You also must have the needed experience to install it correctly.