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  • Writer's pictureJaden Tuitt

Types of Roofing Materials

Asphalt shingles

Photo by Pro-Choice Roofing:

Asphalt shingles, or fiberglass shingles, are the most common roofing material because they are the least expensive. Fiberglass shingles are a lightweight option that resist tearing and reflect some sunlight. In addition, fiberglass shingles offer good fire protection. This type of shingles has replaced the use of organic asphalt shingles, which are heavier but more stable in high winds. Asphalt shingles are good for fighting algae growth and resisting damage as well as reflecting the heat of the sun to keep the home cooler. Using shingles is a very affordable option for roofing materials but composition shingles must be replaced often. If you live in an area where there are drastic temperature changes in a short amount of time, asphalt shingles might not be the best fit for your home. Also, if you live in a hot area like Florida, Louisiana, or Texas, cheap asphalt shingles will most likely last no more than 15 years.

Asphalt shingles come in three categories – strip shingles, dimensional shingles, and luxury shingles. Strip shingles, also known as 3-tab shingles, are the most basic and inexpensive asphalt shingle option available. They give your roof a flat look because it consists of a single layer of asphalt, which provides a slate look. Dimensional shingles, also called architectural or laminate shingles, consist of two or more layers to give a thicker, multi-dimensional look to the roof. This material resembles that of wood shake and natural slate materials. Luxury shingles are a premium option for asphalt shingles, with the best quality and protection against weathering.

Metal Roofing

Photo by Modernize Home Services:

Metal roofing is an energy efficient, durable, eco-friendly option because after the metal panels must be replaced, they are completely recyclable. Metal roofing is great for managing energy costs as it keeps the home cool during hot seasons because it reflects the sun's heat. Using metal roofing, you can get a traditional roofing style in shingles, tiles, or shakes that lasts 50 to 100 years. Although most metals have a class A fire rating, meaning that the material is not likely to fuel a fire as it doesn’t burn well, metal roofing makes roof access difficult for firefighters.

Metal options for roofing include zinc, steel, aluminum, and copper. Steel is an affordable option that lasts between 40 and 60 years and is available in many styles and colors. But it is at a higher risk of corrosion that the other metal roofing materials. Copper is unaffected by rust, corrosion, and the elements while lasting for a long period of time. Zinc is a durable, corrosion-resistant option that will change color over time. But it is not easily found in the United States. Aluminum is a less expensive option that comes in many colors, but it is less durable and prone to denting because it is lightweight.

There are three types of metal roofing – hidden fastener, exposed fastener, and stamped. Hidden fastener metal roofing has no exposed screws while resisting erosion and being the most secure metal roofing option. However, hidden fastener metal roofing is the most expensive. Exposed faster metal roofing has visible screws and it the most popular of the metal roofing options but it is not as resistant to aging as the hidden fastener option. Stamped metal roofing is the most cost-efficient metal roofing option, and it provides quite a bit of flexibility for the look of your home as it comes in a variety of colors, and it can resemble other roofing materials. But it is important to note that stamped metal roofing is less resistant to weather, and it doesn’t last as long as the other two metal roofing options.

Wood Shingles and Shake

Photo by Eco Paint Inc.:

Wood roofing materials are typically made using western red cedar, pine, redwood, or cypress. Wood shingles have a uniform appearance with smooth surfaces and clean edges, whereas wood shakes are thicker, more expensive, and less uniform with a rugged rustic look. These roofing materials are moisture resistant and insect resistant with a lifespan that is about 30 to 50 years. Also, wood roofing materials are recyclable. Wood shingles and shake are well suited for Victorian, Cape Cod, Tudor, Cottage, and Bungalow style homes. Although treated materials have a class A fire rating, nontreated materials have a class c fire rating, meaning the material does burn so it will contribute to the spreading of a fire. Also, intreated wood shakes need to be cleaned regularly so algae and moss cannot grow. Keep in mind that the wood may naturally start to stain over time and repairs are expensive. Also, wood roofing is best in drier climates where forest fires are not common.

Clay and Concrete Tiles

Photo by McCoy Roofing:

Clay and concrete tiles are a good choice for tile material because they are easy to work with and they are reinforced to provide better durability and strength that lasts over 50 years. Also, the tiles are both waterproof and recyclable. These tiles are resistant to insects and fire, and they come in a variety of colors, styles, and textures. To reduce heat penetration into the home, you can use light-colored tiles to reflect sunlight. Clay and concrete tiles look great in European, Mediterranean, and Spanish style homes. However, it is important to note that tile is more expensive than asphalt, metal, and wood in addition to them requiring additional framing support and making chimney and roof repairs more difficult.

There are some notable differences between clay tiles and concrete tiles. Clay doesn’t peel or fade, it is durable and insulating in the color's terra cotta, brown, orange, yellow, and white. Concrete has the color of cement, but you can paint it to any color of your desire. Concrete styles can be in the flat style with no curves, in the low-profile style with small curves, or in the high profile with large curves. Also, concrete absorbs more water than clay, so it is more likely to grow mildew and experience stains. Because concrete tiles are heavier than clay tiles, the structure of the roof must be able to hold the weight. Even in various whether conditions, clay tiles keep their color, whereas painted concrete tiles fade over time. Also, in freezing or thawing temperatures, clay tiles may crack. For this reason, clay tiles are more often found in warmer climates that colder ones.

Synthetic (Rubber) Slate Tile

Photo by The Spruce:

Synthetic slate tile is a low cost, lightweight option for roofing that is made of rubber and plastic and is both durable and recyclable. This material is meant to provide the same natural stone look of authentic slate roofing, which is quite expensive, less durable, and more difficult to install. This roofing material is also a great choice because it requires little maintenance compared to other roofing materials and it doesn’t require additional reinforcements because it is lightweight. Also, its ultraviolet inhibitors decrease the amount of sun damage, and its impact modifiers prevent storm damage. However, synthetic slate tile makes roof and chimney repairs difficult because they are likely to break during the repair process.

The types of synthetic slate include symphony slate, echo star, DaVinci and LudoSlate. Symphony slate is a high-quality synthetic slate that is resistant to weather and comes in a variety of colors. Echo star is intended for steep incline roofs and comes in a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes. DaVinci slate tiles are low maintenance, cost-efficient, and not damaged by freezing or thawing temperatures. Lastly, LudoSlate is a lightweight, sustainable terra-cotta roof tile with a ceramic finish.

If you are looking to build a new construction home, contact J.B. Stones to get started.

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