Roofing material options are more abundant than ever and choosing the right product for your roof is as important as the contractor you hire to install it. Whether you're purchasing a new roof or replacing an existing one, the team at Scudder Roofing can walk you through the pros and cons of the materials and styles available to you and help you make a decision on the best fit for your home, your life and your pocketbook.
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Asphalt shingles are the most common roofing material used in this country today and also generally the least expensive. Standard asphalt shingles can last from 15-20 years and work for a variety of roof and architectural styles. With asphalt you have a large array of weights, colors, durability levels, styles, sizes and designs to choose from. These shingles are vulnerable to wind and ice damage, subject to mildew and moss and they are available in paper-based (felt) organic or fiberglass. Fiberglass typically receives a Class A Fire Rating while the paper-based shingles highest fire rating is B and most only garner a C. The fiberglass shingles are the most popular choice between the two versions. Lighter-colored asphalt shingles reduce cooling costs but the words "asphalt shingle" and "eco-friendly" are rarely uttered in the same breath. In some instances you can use recycled asphalt shingles to make your installation more environmentally-friendly.
An upgrade to standard composition shingles, architectural shingles are also known as laminated or dimensional shingles and they are made of two layers bonded together with an asphalt sealant and designed to last anywhere from 30-50 years. Architectural shingles are more durable than their cousin above and they also offer greater fire protection and resistance to wind. Architectural shingles are also more expensive but they produce a beautiful, multi-dimensional and varied effect on a roof and they are a very popular choice. Although there are more eco-friendly choices than architectural shingles, you can make this material installation as green as possible by installing 40-50 year shingles. You can also use recycled asphalt shingles in many instances.
Clay tile is considered a lifetime roof; in fact, it will often outlive the decking it's built on (100 yrs or more). Overlapping or interlocking, clay tile is now created by baking (firing) molded clay into tile in a high-temperature kiln. Traditionally, clay tile was formed by hand. Today's clay tile can be curved or flat, color-glazed or even have a variety of surface textures applied offering consumers a wide array of looks to choose from. Benefits to this type of roofing material include life-span, its low maintenance requirements and fire-protection. Clay tile is more expensive than some of the other roofing materials available but its beauty and natural appearance often outweigh the cost for homeowners looking for an attractive roofing material to enhance their property. Tile is a very heavy material which may necessitate extra roof support and extra cost. This material is also quite breakable and can chip and so walking on the tiles should be left to professionals. Flat styles of clay tile are often used to create French and English looks while curved styles are used for Mission or Spanish-style old world European looks as well as Southwestern looks. Clay tiles are one of the most versatile and eye-catching roofing materials available on the market today.
Concrete tile is generally composed of cement, sand and water and this material comes in a variety of finishes, colors and styles as well as cuts and shapes - from shingles to shakes and clay to slate-lookalikes. Concrete is an excellent choice for a long lifespan (30-40 years), low maintenance and durability. Normally a Class A Fire-Rated roofing system, concrete tile is durable enough to walk on, energy-efficient and a natural insulation to noise.
Specialized or historic restoration roofing projects oftentimes necessitate locating obsolete clay or concrete tile. Tile as a roofing material dates back some 12,000 years and while we can`t procure tile that ancient, there are several sources for tiles from as far back as the early 1800`s all the way through to the present. In fact, vintage/historic and reclaimed tile is a rather large niche business in the roofing industry. From repair to consultation and identification, nearly all obsolete tile roofs can be restored, reproduced (or at least repaired) to their former beauty.
Metal roofs aren't what they used to be. If you're thinking back to the old barn roofs of years past that used tin, strike that vision from your mind because today's metal roofs are light years ahead of those. Fully recyclable, metal roofing materials come in steel, aluminum copper and alloy strips with steel holding the most popular spot with consumers. Fire-resistant, nearly maintenance-free and durable (50-75 years), metal generally lasts longer than many other materials on the market and can resemble shakes, clay tiles, shingles or even Victorian tiles. Energy-efficient due to the fact it reflects the sun's rays and keeps your home or business cooler during the hot summer months, metal roofs weigh very little and can sometimes even be installed over existing roofing systems. Metal is expensive -- many times higher than the majority of other roofing materials -- but metal often makes a stunning and very durable roofing system choice.
Natural slate stone is fireproof and available in a variety of natural colors and shapes. It is one of the most gorgeous roofing materials available and often used on historic homes. More expensive than most other materials, slate is durable, has an incredibly long life-span depending on the quality of materials chosen (60 to 200 years) and enhances any structure. Slate requires little maintenance, it is waterproof and can be laid in a variety of patterns offering a big selection of looks. Similar to clay tile, one of the drawbacks to slate is that it is a very heavy material and may necessitate extra roof support which means more expense. Slate can also be breakable and requires very specialized installation.
Lighter and less expensive than natural stone, synthetic slate is an option for consumers who love and covet the look of slate but for one reason or another cannot use the real thing. It's also a look you can feel good about as composition (synthetic) slate is recycled and made from post-industrial synthetics. Synthetic slate is very durable, fairly easy to install requiring no extra roof reinforcement and comes in a wide array of colors and blends. This roofing material is an economical and fine-looking choice that can last you typically 40-60 years.
Characteristically made from Western Red Cedar and sometimes cypress, pine or even redwood, wood shakes and shingles offer a high resistance to rot and if properly maintained and cared for, can last from 30 to 50 years or more. Wood shingles or shakes have a natural appearance and blend in with the environment which makes them a first-class choice for numerous architectural styles and locales. Many wood shakes and shingles today are treated with fire retardants and chemical preservatives which increase the material's resistance to fire as well as to early rot or decay depending upon your climate. These shakes/shingles resist moisture and are a renewable resource. One of the great beauties of a wood roof is that no two installations will ever look exactly the same due to color variations and cuts as well as thickness to the shake or shingle. Shingles are machine-sawn while shakes are hand-hewn and can appear more rustic. The lifetime of a wood roof is shorter than many other roofing materials and this roof requires proper care and maintenance to fulfill its life expectancy.
Many people refer to this type of roofing as storybook and materials used are typically wood shingles including steam-bent cedar shingles and bent wood shingles. To achieve this specialty look, shingles are laid down in a pattern that resembles a wave -- sometimes called ocean wave or sea wave pattern. From time to time, composite shingles can be used to simulate a modern version of this very special "fantasy" roofing. Our area (Carmel specifically) is famous world-wide for some of the finest examples of this old world craftsmanship that has almost become a lost art.
Also a storybook or cottage style roofing, thatch is a durable choice created from straw, water reed, wheat reed, flax, grass or from a variety of other types of straw. This is the original eco-friendly roofing material and it has an amazing wherewithal for severe weather conditions and quite a long life-span (depending on the material up to 60 years). Because of today's modern technology, thatched roofs can be made fire-retardant and they do not have gutters or any need for them.
Eco roofs are becoming more and more popular as consumers become educated on living green and making green choices in their lives. Eco-roofing represents a variety of materials including roofing that can be recycled, roofing created from vegetation and soil (living roofs), reflective roofs, materials that are produced in a green manner and many more. Green roofs offer very effective insulation just to name one of the many benefits.
This material is used for homes or businesses with flat or nearly flat/low pitch roof surfaces. Also called hot mopped roofing, three or more layers of asphalt-coated fiberglass are applied over felt to create this material and the top layer is comprised of mineral blends or gravel that has been crushed. The surfacing material is both decorative and useful for weighting the BUR down and for protection from ultraviolet damage. In the past, tar and gravel roofs were produced with tar paper but today, most of these roofs are made with the more modern fiberglass membranes and have a lifespan of approximately 15-25 years. BUR is an economical option but probably the least ecologically-friendly selection for your roof and leaks can be difficult to uncover.
Modified bitumen is bitumen (asphalt or tar) modified with plastic and layered together with polyester or fiberglass. This roofing material has a rubber-like feel that is highly elastic and exceedingly durable and makes a great material choice depending on the structure to be roofed. Typically used in one, two or three layers, Bitumen can be applied with a torch or cold applied processes and seams can be either self-adhered by mopping hot asphalt or welded and melted with heat. This material is popular for retrofitting, resistant to cracks or splitting and offers a lifespan of approximately 10-20 years depending on several factors. Similar to tar and gravel, modified bitumen requires a surfacing material that is typically comprised of mineral blends or gravel or that has been crushed. It can also have factory-applied "cool" coatings making it Energy Star compliant. This membrane roofing material has a proven track record and is a popular, durable and flexible choice. Although modified bitumen can reach extremely high temperatures causing performance issues, this can be prevented by using an elastomeric coating for high reflectivity.
Over the past few decades, single-ply (one layer) roofing has gained in popularity, particularly as a commercial roofing option. This is in large part due to its economical price, safety, easy and fast installation, energy-efficiency and flexibility. Single ply is an exceedingly durable, low maintenance material that is available in two configurations: reinforced thermoplastic or reinforced thermoset. This thick material is laid down on a flat or low-sloped roof in a single layer and can expect a lifespan of 25-30 years if cared for properly. Pre-fabricated sheets are produced in a highly-audited factory setting with very strict requirements for quality control "that minimize the risk inherent in built-up systems" according to the Single Ply Roofing Industry (SPRI). They can be installed as fully adhered, held down by ballast or mechanically attached. Seams can be chemically bonded or hot air welded and the material can be installed with a Class A fire rating. Resistant to wind and lightweight with incomparable leak protection, installation of a single-ply membrane is a very clean process with no smelly fumes, no big and heavy equipment and no flames. An eco-friendly application, the light or white colored membrane (also called a cool roof) is reflective and helps to drive down energy costs.