Know Your Roofing Materials

A variety of roofing materials, each with advantages and disadvantages, can top a house. Location is a main concern when selecting materials, for example in coastal areas where hurricanes are common a sturdier material is used. In the medical world a popular phrase is “doctor heal thyself,” but for homeowners it’s “owner know thy roof.”

One type of roofing materials is fiberglass asphalt shingles, which have a base of glass fibers covered with ceramic coated mineral granules. This inorganic shingle is highly fire resistant and has a longer expected life than other shingles. This type of shingle does not absorb water, and it resists cracking. According to Underwriter Laboratories it can also withstand high winds. Seems like a winner!

An inorganic, three dimensional shingle is architectural shingle. It is made of multiple layers which gives it a depth and thus an appearance closer to wood or slate roofing. Disadvantages are weight and cost, both more than other shingles.

Roll roofing is less expensive than shingles. It can be used on roofs with shallow grades, or on steeper roofs as a compliment to shingles. These roofing materials are most often used on industrial buildings. It has a heavy felt base, saturated with asphalt, covered by a smooth or mineral surface. This roof is easy to install and will last a long time, 10-20 years.

Metal roofing is steel panels used in place of shingles. Zinc is used in the best steel panels. Like roll roofing this is more common on industrial buildings. Durable, long lasting and resistant to fire, metal roofing is a great choice among roofing materials.

Wood shingles are the oldest type of shingle. Cedar is the most common wood used for these shingles, but many consist of a variety of woods. Wood shingles are amongst the most difficult to install. As expected, wood shingles are susceptible to fire. A fire-retardant coating reduces the flammability, but does not eliminate it.

A roof has other elements in addition to the shingles. These are not roofing materials such as shingles or tiles or total roof coverings, but nevertheless are elements of a roof. Flashing consists of strips of sheet metal or roofing material placed to cover joints, to make the joints waterproof. A special type of flashing is a “boot,” made to fit around a vent pipe. The boot is sometimes plastic. A Drip Edge is an “L” shaped, weather-resistant material placed at exposed roof edges to shed water and protect the roof’s wood parts. Felt paper, or building paper, is a sheet with a tough, fibrous base saturated with asphalt installed under shingles. Building paper helps keep water away from the wood frame under the shingles.

The truth is that even if you get maximum care of your roofs, there could be times when you experience emergency fixes. In the event you remember it and do the necessary at the right time, your roof will certainly possess a problem-free, longevity.

A great source of information on roofing materials is the Internet. Do your research or you could be all wet.

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