Asphalt Shingle
Asphalt shingles are the most commonly used roofing material in North America mainly because they are economical and versatile, work well on steep-sloped roofs, are sunlight and weather resistant, require little-to-no maintenance and are reasonably priced. In addition, asphalt shingles are also easy to cut, fasten, and fit, as well as being compatible with many different kinds of flashing and edging products. Furthermore, they don't require specialized accessories for roof edges, wall terminations, and chimney or vent flashings.
These shingles are typically reinforced by organic or fiberglass material. Fiberglass shingles use fiberglass reinforcing mat, while the organic kind use a cellulose-fiber mat derived from wood. Fiberglass roofing shingles are more popular because they are more fire resistant, tear resistant, last longer, and are the most budget-friendly. They are also thinner, lighter, and easier to lug around.
Asphalt shingles now come in all kinds of colors and profiles, and to enhance the aesthetic pleasure of asphalt roofing shingles they may be coated with special laminate to provide an eye pleasing texture. They also can come equipped with zinc plating to protect against algae build up. Keep in mind, any and all additional features will increase the pricing of your roof, but asphalt shingles are still going to be the most affordable roofing option.


Asphalt Shingle Roofing Drawbacks
The main drawback to asphalt shingles is related to the service life. Asphalt roofing shingles are available in grades with an expected life of 20-50 years depending on the price. However, durability issues and wear-out or material failures occur earlier than expected in some situations. Also, shingles used in warmer climates will have a lower life expectancy, but these types of shingles generally come with 20+ year warranty. Keep in mind, however, that warranties are a marketing device and are not a reliable predictor of lifespan. To be on the safe side, it is wise to demand shingles that meet industry manufacturing standards.
Asphalt shingles are a great choice for a roofing material if you are looking for a fairly standard roof, with low maintenance, a great price, and a reasonable service life.
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Flat Roofing
Although they are not as alluring as slate, tile or wood roofing, a flat roof is still extremely significant and may even require more attention. Flat roof systems work by providing a waterproof covering over a building. Water is then directed to drains, downspouts, and gutters by the slight pitch of the roof. For this reason, flat roofs are more common in areas where there is very little rain.
The Four Different Types of Flat Roofs
There are four main different types of flat roofing. They are:
  • Built-Up Roofing (BUR)
  • Single Ply Membrane
  • Sprayed Polyurethane Foam (SPF)
  • Roll Asphalt
Built-Up roofing (BUR) is composed of overlapping rolls of saturated or coated felts, literally built up to form layers. These roofs are designed to last 10 to 30 years, depending on the materials used.
Single Ply Membrane roofs come in two main types, thermoset membranes and thermoplastic membranes. Warranties of 10 to 12 years are typical, but as with any roofing system, proper installation is crucial and maintenance by the owner is still required.
Sprayed Polyurethane Foam (SPF) is a seamless roof system consisting of a layer of foam, sealed and protected by a resilient coating. It has been used successfully as a roofing and insulation material for over 30 years.
Roll Asphalt roofing has been used for the longest. This type of roofing typically consist of one layer of asphalt-saturated organic or fiberglass felt, applied with nails and cement, and then covered with a mineral surface. Generally, roll asphalt will last about 10 years.
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Metal Roofing
Metal roofs have become a popular alternative to traditional roofing materials. This is due to the fact that metal is lightweight, maintenance-free, fireproof, energy efficient, durable, and can be manufactured to give virtually any look conceivable. Furthermore, metal roofs have a life expectancy of over 30 years and houses with metal roofs may receive a discount on the homeowner's (fire) insurance.
Metal roofing may start at $100 per square and run up to $600 a square or more for coated steels and copper. They cost more to install than shingle roofs, but the difference is not as great when re-roofing. In addition, metal roofs can be applied over several layers of old shingles, so the tear-off expenses are eliminated. And most metal roof manufacturers also provide a lifetime warranty.


Metal Roofing Materials
The two most common metal roofing materials are painted aluminum and steel. Both are durable and light weight. For those that enjoy the look of tile or slate, the lighter weight aluminum or steel can resemble the look and also be supported by your roof structure. Copper and stainless steel are also metal roofing options, but their cost is often outside of the budget of many homeowners.
Aluminum is fast-becoming a top choice because it does not rust, it deafens the sound of rain, and it is easily formed to perfectly simulate cedar shakes, tiles, and slate. Simulated cedar shakes are most popular and are difficult to distinguish from real shakes. They are available in many standard colors and in a few energy efficient paint options. Most aluminum and steel roofs are painted with tough Kynar (a dense, high-purity plastic).
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Wood Shake Roofing
Many wood shakes and shingles have been replaced by composition or asphalt shingles. Nevertheless, wood shakes and shingles are still widely used on both commercial structures and residential housing. There are basically three different types of wood roofing products which include hand-split shakes, taper-sawn shakes and wood shingles. Most of them are made from the western red cedar tree and occasionally southern pine.
Wood shake and shingles are enjoyed by many because they provide a warm and elegant look. In fact, aesthetic reasons are the main reason why people choose to go with a wooden roof on their home. This natural roofing material is popular on the west coast, especially in California and also the Northwest and parts of the Midwest.
Each wood roof product is graded according to the cut and number of defects. Wood shingles are thinner than shakes and come in Grades 1, 2 and 3. Hand-split shakes have two grades which include premium and Grade 1. Keep in mind, up to 20% of wood shakes can be flat grain, which is more vulnerable to curling. Taper-sawn shakes are just as thick as hand-split shakes and are sawn smooth on both sides. They come in three grades which include premium and Grades 1 and 2.


Wood Shake Roof Maintenance
Wood roofs do require a bit of routine maintenance. They should be cleaned periodically to remove tree debris, moss or fungus. Be cautious of professionals using a high-pressure washer because the roof can become damaged this way. Wood shingles should also be treated with wood preservatives to limit weathering effects of moisture and retard growth of molds, moss and fungi. For more protection, they can be treated with a fire retardant to reduce the chance of ignition or fire spread. Make note, treatments should be reapplied periodically to remain effective.
Aside from periodic maintenance, the main drawback to having a wooden roof is that the life expectancy is shorter than most other roofing products. It is expected to last between 8-25 years, with proper maintenance. You do have the option of purchasing a compressed version that has a 30+ year life span, but expect to pay for that. Moreover, this roofing option is more expensive than most roofing options on the market. But apparently it's worth it because it still remains popular, as homeowners cannot resist the look.
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Roof Slope
Roof slope is a very important aspect and it is considered the primary factor in roof design. The slope of a roof has an effect on the interior volume of a building, the drainage, the style, and the material you use for your covering. For example, if you noticed water collecting on your roof the problem is probably related to the slope. The style is affected too because the framing of the roof changes the slope.
The slope of a roof is often referred to as the pitch. The slope, or pitch, of the roof is determined by the vertical rise in inches for every horizontal twelve inch (12") length (called the "run"). A roof with x rise/12 run slope means that for every 12 inches horizontally (run), it rises x inches. Below are some of the common roof slopes and the terms which classify them.
  • Flat Roof: 2/12
  • Low Slope: 2/12-4/12
  • Conventional Slope Roof: 4/12-9/12
  • Steep Slope: 9/12 and higher
Steeper sloped roofs are generally more visually pleasing and tend to last longer as well. However, they also cost more because a steep sloped roof requires a taller chimney and more lumber for framing. On average, a 12/12 roof can cost up to 50% more than a roof with a 4/12 slope. Many find that it is worth it though because the roofing material is estimated to last up to 50% longer and will require less maintenance in the long run.
Lastly, roof slope helps determine the appropriate materials for the roof. A roof with a 4/12 pitch will allow products such as shingles or tiles. However, these materials do not work well on low-slope roofs. Likewise, a single-ply membrane or a built-up roof will not be appropriate for a high-slope roof.
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Styles of Roofs
There are many different styles to roofs nowadays, some of these styles are more common than others depending upon where you live. Different styles of roofs perform well depending on the geography. We have provided our users with a list of the most popular roofing styles today and some details about each of them.
  • Hipped: Four uniformly pitched (sloping) sides, resembling a pyramid.
  • Simple: All four sloping sides meet at a ridge across the top. Front slope is usually broader than the side sections.
  • Pyramidal: All four sloping sides come to a point at the top of the roof.
  • Cross-Hipped: Perpendicular wings are added to the main section forming two individual sections with their own hipped façade.
  • Gambrel: Each side has two slopes; a steeper lower slope and a flatter upper one; associated with barns.
  • Saltbox: A gabled roof with asymmetrical sides. It is said to resemble an eighteenth century salt box.
  • Mansard: A roof forming a double slope, two slopes on each of the four sides. The lower slope being steeper than the other.
  • Shed: One high pitched plane covering the entire structure. Often used for additions and porches.
  • Flat: Contains no slope. May or may not have eaves.
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Repair vs. Replacement
If you come to find out that your roof has been damaged and needs to be fixed then there are two main approaches you can take. You can either decide to make a roof repair or replace the entire roof. Roof repairs will generally save you time and money, but in most cases a new roof is the best option. As a general rule of thumb, if the existing roof on is only one layer and there are no problems with the roof deck, a new roof is not necessary.
Roof repairs require less labor, material and necessary disposal compared to installing a new roof. This cuts down on money and time. However, if you are going to make a repair it is still important to consider the ventilation of your attic.
Most expert roofers will agree that re-roofing will not last as long as a new roof. When re-roofing, the life span of the roofing singles is approximately 25% less than if you were to go with a new roof. Furthermore, if your home has any of the following, you should consider a new roof:
  • Existing roofing has bad decking
  • Existing roofing is in very poor condition
  • Existing roofing has too many layers
  • Existing roofing has bad incompatible shingles
If you are still unsure which route to take, we will be able to guide you through your decision making. We will inform you on your options and let you know whether you need a new roof, or if it's better for you to repair your existing one.
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Roof Mold
Most homeowners believe that as long as they do not see visible signs of mold that their environment is free of contamination. What they don't realize, however, is that large accumulations of mold may be growing in areas that they cannot see, like on top of the roof and in remote attic spaces.
We can provide you with an inspection of your roof and check for water intrusion. If a leaky roof is suspected, check in the attic for signs of water damage or mold growth. Dry rot may form if mold becomes established in the wood in your home. This type of mold development can cause serious damage to the structure of your home.
The way to control mold growth is to control moisture. Conditions are ideal for mold growth where there is excess moisture or water build up from say, a leaky roof. For this reason, it is always important to have your roof regularly inspected and repaired.
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Roofing Materials
Roof covering is the one part of the roof that allows a homeowner to customize according to specific needs and wants. Shingles and shake can come in all shapes, sizes, materials, colors, and prices. It is important for you to become knowledgeable on the different materials used in roof covering. This knowledge will assist you in selecting a roof covering that is right for your personal tastes, climate needs, and budget.
The most common types of roofing materials include:
  • Asphalt shingles
  • Wood shake and shingles
  • Tile roofing
  • Slate roofing
  • Metal roofing
The longevity of your roof cover relies heavily on the quality of the material that you select. Using the finest material will add resale value and visual appeal to your home. When selecting a material make sure to pay special attention to the level of maintenance that each material requires and also how well it holds up to outside elements such as rain, sunlight, fire, and debris.
Keep in mind, if you are re-roofing, you may want to stick with the material you already have. For instance, a historic home ought to have the original roofing material or a least a carefully manufactured imitation simply because it is important to carry on its traditional beauty. You will still be able to find traditional materials to go forward with your re-roofing, however, modern asphalt shingles can come close to the original appearance for a fraction of the price.
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Roofing Terminology
Understanding the components of your roofing system will help you determine the style of your roof, identify interior space, and dictate where to add rooms, frame additions, and place chimneys. The roof also suggests the type of climate that the geographical location of the building receives. Not only will understanding the details of the roof help the builders responsible for the design, but it will also help the homeowners select the perfect roofing style for there location and personal taste. You will find some of the most important roofing terms defined below.

Roof Details
  • Valley - When two roofing planes meet at the bottom of their pitch to form a valley.
  • Hip - When two roofing planes form a fold or vertical ridge.
  • Gables - Roof sections facing in separate direction from the actual roof, forming a triangular wall segment. They are often used as an opening for a window.
  • Dormers - Create additional openings in your roof and are classified by a variety of styles associated with roof shapes. (Gabled, hipped, shed, etc.)
  • Roof Dormers - A section that extends up from the main roofline and forms a miniature house, containing a window, lights, walls, and a roof.
  • Wall Dormers - A section that extends up from the main roofline and looks much like a gable, but with walls.
  • Eave Details - The part of a roof which projects out from the side wall, projecting the edge of the roof.
  • Roof - The exterior surface on the top of a building.
  • Fascia - Horizontal band or board that runs along the eaves of a roof.
  • Boxed Eave - Horizontal overhang that runs from the eaves edge to the side of the building.
  • Cornice - The top set of moldings just below a roofline, usually consisting of a fascia board, a soffit and appropriate trim moldings.
  • Rake - The inclined portion of a cornice. They can be close or extended.
Roof Pitch
  • Low Slope - Roof pitches that are less than 30 degrees.
  • Normal Slope - Roof pitches that are between 30 and 45 degrees.
  • Steep Slope - Rood pitches that are more than 45 degrees.

        
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