The Best Materials for Roofing

19 Jul

best materials for roofingBecause roofs are meant to protect a home from the elements, their composition can vary as much as the climates they contend with. Deciding which roof materials are best requires a consideration of price, weather, and local building codes. Some of the more popular kinds include asphalt shingles, wood shakes, metal, slate, terracotta tiles, and cement tiles. In some cases, the style of the house can help determine the type of roof components used. A Spanish colonial house, for instance, practically demands a terracotta roof.
With regards to price, there’s a basic rule that applies practically everywhere. Asphalt shingles are going to be much cheaper than anything else. Even relatively expensive ones are usually going to be around half the price of the nearest competitor. It needs to kept in mind, though, that the lifespan of this type of roof is 30 years maximum. Other stock can last much longer. While wood has about the same longevity, slate, terracotta, cement, and metal can easily last twice as long. Some slate and terracotta roofs have even survived for centuries.
Climate is another big factor in deciding on a roof material. Heat and cold, along with humidity levels, are the main concerns in choosing a roof. In a hot location, like Phoenix, Arizona, the roof needs to help keep the home interior cool. Slate accomplishes this by providing a thick surface that slows the rate of heat absorption. Wooden shakes do the same thing. Terracotta and cement tiles have a curved surface that creates an air space below each tile. This keeps at least half the roof shaded. Metal roofs can get as hot as asphalt, but unpainted steel roofs can reflect some of the sunlight. Metal also cools very quickly when the sun goes down.
Wood provides some insulating capacity in a cold climate. Dark slate and black asphalt also are able to absorb some heat from sunlight, which helps offset low temperatures. Dry climates can be rough on wood shakes by causing shrinkage that can make them split. Under these circumstances, they’re also vulnerable to fire. This is the reason many communities in southern California have building codes that restrict their use. While terracotta is more resilient in a dry setting, tiles can suffer cracks when hit by a cool rain right after a hot, dry spell. Northern California, however, can accommodate any type of roof material. One exception would be areas along the ocean. San Rafael roofing, for instance, should probably not include steel or aluminum. The salt in the ocean breeze can quickly corrode these metals. Copper roofs, which are much more expensive, are more resistant because of the greenish patina they form.

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