There are More Kinds of Roofs Than You Might Think!
The average person wants a beautiful roof that’s not too expensive, lasts forever and requires no maintenance. In the real world, however, homeowners must balance aesthetics with durability and cost. With a variety of materials available, modern builders have plenty of choices for building attractive roofs that offer good value and impressive life cycles.
Available in solid or blended colors, asphalt shingles are the most popular roofing choice throughout America. One of the least-expensive roofing options, these shingle products are typically guaranteed for 20 – and in certain cases – 30 years. This gives them excellent value, which is the principal advantage of this roofing material. Available as the standard three-tab style, these shingles boast a commonality that turn some homeowners off. At the same time, they are also available as a thicker architectural shingle, which can be built to resemble slate and, in the right colors, wood shakes.
Wood Shingles and Shakes:
These roofing options provide a natural look that adds significant character to a home. Thanks to subtle variations in width, thickness, color and cut, no two will ever look the same. Many homeowners find this quality more attractive. At the same time, wood offers some real energy benefits, helping to insulate the attic while allowing the house to breathe. On the downside, wood shakes require regular maintenance and repair. Rot, mold and insects can also result in greater life cycle costs. Pressure-treated shakes can mitigate these problems; however, wood shakes also come with increased costs related to greater installation challenges.
A nice choice for homes with Spanish Mission, Italian or southwestern designs, clay provides an expected lifespan that’s greater than that of the materials on which it rests. It won’t burn or rot and is impervious to insects. It also requires very little maintenance and is available in an array of styles, colors and brands. With some varieties, however, color can fade over time. Clay tiles are also fragile, making them more susceptible to damage from maintenance, gutter work and home painting. Clay is also more expensive and requires a more complicated installation process.
Often seen on more upscale homes, slate is actually shingle-like slivers of rock. It provides a nice natural appearance and can be laid out in an array of patterns. The benefits are identical to those of clay roofing. It’s also available in a nice variety of colors, which mimic those found in nature. On the downside, the material is quite heavy, requiring extra support. It’s also breakable enough to complicate gutter cleaning, house painting and rooftop maintenance.
These days, lighter-weight tiles, shingles, panels and simulated wood shakes are all being manufactured using fiber-reinforced cement. Some are coated with enamels, plastics, thin metals and recycled material. They provide excellent lifespan, good fire protection, rot resistance and low maintenance. Some tiles effectively mimic the appearance of wood shakes without the downsides associated with actual wood roofing. That said, concrete is usually more expensive than traditional roofing materials.
In the late 1700s, copper, zinc and lead roofs were some of the most popular roofing materials. These days, the material is making a comeback of sorts, with standing-seam steel roofing representing the most popular choice for residential metal roofing. Modern metal roofs can also be made to resemble shingles, clay tiles, wood shakes and Victorian metal tiles. There are also a variety of powder-coated steel “systems” that offer cost-effective variations to the whole galvanized sheet-steel theme.
Fire-retardant, durable and virtually maintenance-free, metal roofs also offer increased energy efficiency by reflecting light and blocking heat transfer into attics. Since it’s generally lightweight, metal roofing can be installed over existing roofs. That said, installation requires an experienced professional, and the initial costs can be higher than those of other roofing materials. Once homeowners factor in life cycle costs, however, metallic roofing can be a better investment compared to other types of roofing.
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