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How the hell do you pick a Roofing Surface?

Written on 06-15-2017

I know what you're thinking.. 'roofing surfaces? Hell yea!'

I feel the same way. Nothing gets me going in the morning like a great roofing product. There are a lot of options and they all come at a different price, a different warranty, and a different look. Let's break down the different roofing options and keep you out of the rain.

Asphalt Shingles

Made of bitumen embedded in an organic or fiberglass mat, covered with ceramic grit. [1] They are a good choice if you're looking for style at a budget price. [2] Expect to find 2 main types of asphalt shingles; laminated (or architectural or dimensional) and three-tab. Laminated shingles are layered to increase their thickness for visual appeal and they perform better than three tab. As you'd expect, laminated shingles cost more but the price is coming down. [2]

Use organic paper fiber mats in cold weather and windy areas. Use fiberglass in more fire prone and wet areas. [5]

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Benefits

  • Cost effective [3]
  • Easy to install
  • 20-30 year life span [2][3][4]
  • Comes in a variety of colors [3]
  • Moderately fire resistant [5]

Restrictions

  • Must be used on slopes greater than 3/12 pitch
  • Vulnerable to high winds [2]
  • Provides less insulation than other materials [3]
  • Petroleum based product makes it non eco friendly [5]
  • Not very durable [5]

Styles

Goes well with traditional suburban homes.

George Town Gray
Landmark
CertainTeed
Chestnut
Luxury Shingles
CertainTeed

Clay Tile

Clay tiles are versatile and designed to be flat, ribbed or scalloped and can resemble wood shakes or slate. [3][5] They can come in an interlocking pattern; with side and top locking to improve protection from water and wind. [7]

Benefits

  • Long life [5]
  • Non-combustible [3][5]
  • Energy efficient [3]
  • 40-50 year life span [3]

Restrictions

  • Expensive
  • Must be installed by a professional
  • Very heavy and might require additional framing [3][5]

Styles

Goes well with mediterranean, mission, southwestern and spanish-style homes.

Bermuda Blend
2 Piece Mission
Boral
Rustic Palmero
1 Piece 2 Tile
Boral

Concrete Tile

Made with a mixture of Portland cement and sand and can look like clay tiles, wood shakes or slate. [5] Look for tile where the color is applied throughout the whole body and not just the surface.

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Benefits

  • Long life [5]
  • Non-combustible [3]
  • Energy efficient [3]
  • 40-50 year life span [3]

Restrictions

  • High cost
  • Must be installed by a professional
  • Very heavy and might require additional framing [3]

Styles

Goes well with mediterranean, mission, southwestern and spanish-style homes.

La Terra Blend
Barcelona
Boral
Moab
Saxony Shake
Boral

Slate

Slate comes in real slate stone or a composite material that looks nearly identical. The composite variety comes in an array of colors and is made using either plastic/polymer, clay, rubber or asphalt. [2] Real slate usually is dark gray with an irregular appearance. [5]

Benefits

  • 50-100 year life expectancy [1][3]
  • Composite is not heavier than asphalt singles [2]
  • Fire resistant [3][5]
  • Recyclable [3]

Restrictions

  • Expensive [3]
  • May crack under impact [2]
  • Susceptible to fading [2]
  • Consider using snow guards in snowy climates [2]
  • Requires professional installation [3][4]
  • Only suited for steep pitches [5]

Styles

Goes well with colonial, european and french chateau homes.

Semi Weathering Gray Green
Vermont Natural
Evergreen Slate
Unfading Green
Vermont Natural
Evergreen Slate

Membrane Roofing

Large sheets, generally fused in some way at the joints to form a continuous surface. Comes in several options such as thermoset membrane (such as EPDM) or thermoplastics (such as PVC, TPO, CSPE). [1]

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Benefits

  • Easy to install
  • Most often used in commercial applications
  • Good for flat pitches [3]

Restrictions

  • Not visually appealing

Styles

Goes well anywhere function is more important than beauty such as a shed or a big box commercial building.

Metal

Metal roofs can be pressed into a variety of shapes such as corrugated, standing seam, flat seam and others. It also comes in a variety of metals such as copper, aluminum, steel or zinc and can be painted any color. Copper is used due to its corrosion resistance, durability, long life, low maintenance, and sustainability benefits.

Benefits

  • Durable depending on the material [5]
  • Well suited for low pitches [1]
  • Easy installation [2] but requires a professional [4]
  • Very light in weight (half that of asphalt) [2][5]
  • Reflects the sun well, keeping a structure cooler in the summer. [2] (a third less than asphalt) [5]
  • Recyclable [5]
  • 40-75 year life span [3]
  • Fire resistant [4]

Restrictions

  • Relatively expensive compared to asphalt shingles. Copper can be very expensive.
  • Very loud in rain storms

Styles

Goes well with bungalows, cabins, contemporary and cottage-style homes.

Gannett Green
Corrugated
Jarden Zinc Products
Aluminum
Standing Seam
Coppercraft

Metal Shingles / Shake

Similar to the previous Metal Roofing section. Made from metal such as copper, aluminum, steel or zinc. Pieces may be designed to interlock. [1]

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Benefits

  • Durable depending on the material [5]
  • Well suited for low pitches [1]
  • Easy installation [2] but requires a professional [4]
  • Very light in weight (half that of asphalt) [2]
  • Reflects the sun well, keeping a structure cooler in the summer [2]
  • Recyclable [5]
  • 40-75 year life span [3]
  • Fire resistant [4]

Restrictions

  • Relatively expensive compared to asphalt shingles. Copper can be very expensive.
Artisan Slate
Shingles
CertainTeed
Terra Red
Rustic Shingle
Classic Metal Roofing

Rubber Shingles

Similar to asphalt shingles but is made from rubber, often recycled automotive tires. [1][6]

Benefits

  • 50 year life expectancy [1]
  • Mimics wood and slate shingles [6]
  • Eco friendly [6]
  • Lighter than wood and slate [6]
  • 30-50 year life span [6]

Restrictions

  • Will smell like recycled tires for several weeks after installation [6]
  • Flexibility may cause install problems [6]
Charcoal Black
Heritage Slate
Euroshield Roofing
Blackstone
Euroslate
Euroshield Roofing

Wood Shingles

Shingles sawn from bolts of wood such as Atlantic white cedar, Western Red Cedar, California redwood and southern pine. [1] Wood shakes are handmade and rougher-looking than wood shingles, which are usually cut by machine. [3] Often in a weathered silvery gray color. [5]

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Benefits

  • 25-30 year life expectancy [1][3]
  • Breath well in dry climates helping them dry quickly [1]

Restrictions

  • Has a short life span and requires periodic maintenance [5]
  • Be sure to use Class A fire-rated product in fire prone areas [3]
  • May mold or rot in wet climates [3]
  • Can be used on moderate to steep pitches [5]

Styles

Goes well with bungalow, cape cod, cottage, craftsman and tudor-style homes.

Wood Shingles
Handsplit Shakes
Imperial Shake Co
Premium Grade
Handsplit & Resawn Shakes
Watkins Sawmills

Cost Comparison [5]

$/Sq Ft $/Year
Asphalt Shingles (3-Tab) $75-$125 $4-$8
Asphalt Shingles (Laminated) $125-$200 $4-$10
Metal (Steel) $250-$450 $5-$15
Clay Tile $800-$1,000 $13-$20
Concrete Tile $300-$500 $5-$10
Slate $1,100-$2,000 $10-$20
Wood Shake (Cedar) $350-$450 $14-$30
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Lifespan Comparison [5]

Asphalt Shingles (3-Tab) 15-20 yr.
Asphalt Shingles (Laminated) 20-30 yr.
Metal (Steel) 30-50 yr.
Clay Tile 50+ yr.
Concrete Tile 50+ yr.
Rubber Shingle 30-50 yr. [6]
Slate 75+ yr.
Wood Shake (Cedar) 15-25 yr.

Weight Comparison [5]

Asphalt Shingles (3-Tab) 190-250 lb.
Asphalt Shingles (Laminated) 240-340 lb.
Metal (Steel) 80-150 lb.
Clay Tile 600-1,800 lb.
Concrete Tile 550-1,000 lb.
Slate 800-1,000 lb.
Wood Shake (Cedar) 200-350 lb.
[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_commercially_available_roofing_material [2] http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/roofing/buying-guide [3] http://www.hgtv.com/remodel/outdoors/top-six-exterior-siding-options [4] https://www.thespruce.com/basic-types-and-cost-of-roofing-materials-1822016 [5] https://www.todayshomeowner.com/choosing-a-roof/ [6] http://www.roofery.com/shingles/shingles-made-from-recyled-tires.html [7] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roof_tiles

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