What Materials Are Needed to Do a Roof?

Written by todd anderson
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What Materials Are Needed to Do a Roof?
Strong roofs are as important as a strong base for a house. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Roofs are made of various types of materials: metal, tin, tile and other man-made materials, which can be expensive. They serve an important purpose, protecting the property from sun, rain, sleet, snow, dust and dirt. Asphalt shingles and wood shakes are traditional materials that are less expensive options, but they are not very durable. Composite roofing is a low-priced, low-maintenance, durable material for a roof. Several factors need to be considered when choosing roofing materials, including the structural strength and design of the property, local climate, building ordinances, neighbourhood conventions, cost and personal preferences.

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Asphalt Shingle Roof

Asphalt shingles are an affordable roofing material and are available in organic and non-organic (fibreglass) types. Organic shingles are made of paper-saturated asphalt materials, which make it waterproof. The shingles are available in a range of colours and make a colourful addition to a property. The advantages of using asphalt shingles include durability, which is due in part to the strict manufacturing guidelines followed in their production; ease of maintenance and repair; the range of colours and styles available; and low cost. The downside to using asphalt shingles is their vulnerability to ice and wind damage.

Slate Roof

Slate roof material is a durable and nearly indestructible type of roofing material. This type of roof is popular in places like New England and can last 100 years or more. Slate is resistant to outside influences such as rain and snow and is very heavy. Slate is one of the more expensive roofing materials and will require professional installation by a skilled stonemason. The high cost of the material is offset by the fact that it is usually a one-time investment. The downside to installing a slate roof is the weight, which needs to be reinforced with support shingles; this, in turn, results in additional cost.

Metal Roof

Metal roof materials are expensive to buy and install, but they are highly durable and a good investment. Due to their longevity, metal roofs can increase the resale value of a property. Another advantage to using metal roofing materials is that they help to decrease energy consumption. In certain areas, having a metal roof decreases homeowner's insurance premiums. Metal roofs offer good protection against fire, mildew, insects, rot, hurricanes and snow. The downside to installing a metal roof is the cost and the noise quotient afterward, including the magnified sound of falling rain.

Wooden Shingles

Wooden shingles or shakes made of western red cedar are a good choice because of their resistance to rot and decay. Hand-sawn and tapered wooden shingles are called shakes and shingles are sawn. Wooden shingles come in three categories: one, two and three, with one being considered the best for roofing purposes. Wooden shingles offer some level of insulation, can be easily repaired or replaced, blend into any environment and, with care, can last up to 50 years, at the least. The downside to using wooden shingles is the cost, the need for professional installation, their susceptibility to rot, decay, mildew and splitting and poor fire resistance.

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