Choosing Your Roofing Materials
Cost and durability are often the most important factors when you’re
selecting a roof, but aesthetics are important, too. Consult carefully with your roofing professional before you choose. Asphalt Shingles
The vast majority of steep-slope roofs in the United States are made of asphalt
shingles, reinforced with either asphalt-treated organic (wood) or fiberglass materials. Asphalt shingles are long-lasting,
Organic and fiberglass reinforcements don’t affect the appearance of the roof, since they’re
available in a number of textures and colors, but they do affect how fire resistant it is. Asphalt shingles with fiberglass
backings are more fire resistant than organic shingles.
The National Roofing Contractor’s Association recommends
that you use shingles that comply with American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards. ASTM D 225 is recommended
for organic shingles and ASTM D 3462 for fiberglass shingles. Not all asphalt shingles on the market comply with these standards,
so be sure to ask. Clay or Concrete Tile
Tile is popular when durability is important, and
it’s also available in a large number of variety and finishes. Its main drawback is that it is heavy. If you’re
replacing a non-tile roof with tile, make sure the structure is able to support the additional weight. Slate
Slate is certainly the most durable of all roofing structures – it is considered virtually indestructible. Besides
being expensive, it also requires specific skill and training, so choose a roofer who is experienced in the application of
Metal is most frequently used for low-slope buildings. In recent years,
metal panels and shingles have been devised that simulate more traditional roof coverings, and so they’ve been seen
more often on steep-slope homes as well. Metal is durable, is weather resistant, and can also be fire resistant. Make it Last A roof is a major investment, so it’s smart to do whatever’s
necessary to make sure it stays in good shape.
and preventive maintenance will keep small problems from becoming big ones. It’s smart to hire a roofing professional
to check things out on a regular basis, and do all the necessary maintenance.
If you decide to climb up
there and check the roof yourself, there are a number of problems to look out for:
- Standing Water – when
water is ponding on a roof, it means there is improper drainage, and water can begin to damage structures. The installation
of roof drains may be necessary, or the clearing of obstructed roof drains that are already in place.
and Blistering — When cracks appear in the surface of a built-up roof, cold weather can create channels, and these hold
- Enclosed pockets of air mixed with water vapor can be broken by hail, which can cause leaks.
If they’re large enough, they can also affect drainage, and pull seams apart. If either of these appears, call a roof
The free flow of air is a critical factor
in a roof’s durability. Without it, heat and moisture build up and can shingles to buckle and rafters to rot.
Never block off your roof’s louvers, ridge vents, or soffit vents, even in winter. Attic ventilation prevents structural
damage, increases the life of your roofing material, and increases the comfort level of the rooms beneath the attic.