Roofing Materials – Pros and Cons

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Considering the many choices, each with its own pros and cons, it can be a daunting task to decide on the type of roofing for your home. When choosing a roofing style, make sure to pay attention to a few key factors: home design, structural strength, cost, local building ordinances, and personal preferences. It is also a good idea to consider the long term effects of your choice and what it will mean for your home in years to come.

Below is a quick look at a number of roofing types, accompanied by their main advantages and disadvantages.

Composition Shingles

Pros: At a very affordable price, these roofs are offered in a variety of colors and styles. Composition shingles made from asphalt and fiberglass are of a high quality and very durable. They are easy to install compared with other roofing types, require little maintenance, and usually have Class A fire protection.

Cons: These types of roofs do not perform well in high winds, and under certain conditions there is a chance that they might blow off. The materials also scar easily if hot, which damages the appearance and durability of the roof.

Wood Shakes

Pros: Available in a variety of colors, widths, thicknesses, cuts of wood, etc. – these roofs allow for flexibility in style. Wood helps to insulate your attic, which allows air to circulate easily.

Cons: Wood shakes are unrated by fire safety codes and often require wipe or spray-on fire retardants, which are usually less effective in fire resistance than other roofing materials. These roofs require much maintenance and repair due to damage from mold, rot, and insects. Old shakes are not recyclable and have a more complicated installation process than other roofing types.

Clay Tile

Pros: Provides a unique look, especially for homes with a Spanish, Italian, or South-Western look. A wide variety of colors and styles are available. Tiles are long-lasting, don’t rot or burn, and cannot be damaged by insects. This roofing material requires little maintenance.

Cons: Tiles are heavy, which can cause a roof to require extra support. Also, if color is only added to the surface of the tiles, it can fade over time. Tiles are fragile, which makes it more difficult to repair the roof or walk on it to repair gutters or fireplaces. Clay tiles are one of the most expensive roofing materials, and installation can be quite complicated.

Concrete Tile

Pros: This roof type is very durable is available in a variety of colors and styles. Most concrete roofing is long-lasting and requires little maintenance. Tiles are resistant to rot and insect damage and provide good fire protection. Concrete tile can be made to mimic other types of roofing.

Cons: This roofing style is on the expensive side and because it is relatively new on the market, there are still problems with breaking and color changing that must be resolved.

Metal Roofs

Pros: Regaining its popularity, metal roofs are now most popular in standing-seam steel (Standing-seam steel describes the upturned edge of one metal panel that connects it to adjacent sections, creating distinctive vertical lines and a historical look). These roofs can also be created to mimic other roofing types such as wood shakes, clay tiles, shingles, etc. Metal roofs are durable, fire retardant and require very little maintenance. Metal roofs are energy efficient and consist of many recyclable materials. They are light weight, which means they can be installed over existing roofs.

Cons: Installation of metal roofs can be difficult and the cost is higher than most other roofing types. The life-long cost of the roof should be considered to determine if the initial cost is worth it.

Flat Roof

Pros: This roofing is most used in commercial buildings or flat homes with good drainage. Made of asphalt, it is less expensive than other roofing types and is very durable. Although the result is not as aesthetically pleasing as other materials, it can be covered with a layer of stone to achieve a more desirable look.

Cons: The installation of asphalt can be harmful to the environment and the installers. Some urban areas do not allow hot mop roofs because its fumes contribute to smog and release extremely high levels of air pollutants.

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Source by John Dickinson