For the best durability and beauty, a complete roofing system includes hip and ridge shingles, ventilation products, shingles and a water-resistant underlayment.
All roof systems have five basic components:
- Structure: this includes the rafters and trusses that support the sheathing.
- Deck/sheathing: these are the boards or sheet material that are fastened to the roof rafters to cover a house.
- Underlayment: a sheet of asphalt-saturated material that is used as a secondary layer of protection for the roof deck.
- Roof covering: these are the shingles or tiles that protect the sheathing from weather.
- Drainage: the features of the roof system's design that allow it to shed water.
- Flashing: this is the sheet metal or other material that prevents water seepage.
Types of Shingles
Today, there are many types and styles of shingles to choose from. The choices range from asphalt shingles to wood shakes and clay tiles, from steel panels to rubber lookalike slate. There is an increasing trend towards engineered roofing materials since building codes mandate using fireproof construction materials.
Probably the most common roofing material is the three-tab asphalt shingle. As a cost-effective roofing options, asphalt shingles are available in a dozen or so different colors both solid and blended. These asphalt shingles are guaranteed for 20 to 30 years, which makes them an excellent value.
- Fiberglass Shingles
These are comprised of a fiberglass mat, top-and-bottom layers of asphalt and mineral granules. They are available in architectural grades and a variety of colors that offer a textured appearance.
- Wood Shingles and Shakes
These shingles are generally made from cedar, redwood, and southern pine. Shingles are machine-sawn; shakes are hand-hewn and rougher looking. Their natural look is popular but brush fire concerns limit their use.
- Ceramic Tile
In sunny climates, you'll find ceramic tile roofs everywhere. Barrel tiles resemble half cylinders about 16 inches long. Remember that tile roofs are heavy, so your roof's framing must be strong enough to support the load. The process of installing a tile roof is labor-intensive, which makes an authentic tile roof more expensive than a three-tab asphalt shingle installation. In addition to ceramic barrel tiles, there are clay roof tiles options.
Slate shingles are typically used in the Northeast and true slate can be very heavy and expensive. An engineered slate lookalike fabricated from recycled rubber and plastic is only about one-third the weight and cost of slate, and can be installed using standard tools and techniques.
- Synthetic Roof Products
These simulate a wide range of roof coverings, such as slate and wood shingles and shakes. And while they may look like the traditional materials, synthetic roof products do not necessarily have the same properties, such as color, texture and durability.
Selecting the right roofing materials is the first decision you need to make when you decide to reroofing. You'll want to consider style and color, performance requirements and warranty protection. You'll want the roofing materials' style and color to complement your home's exterior brick, paint or siding. For example, if you have a Spanish-style stucco home, you'll want to choose a tile roof; if you have Cape Cod traditional, a composite shingle would be the best bet.
Take a look at other homes in your neighborhood to compare colors and roofing styles. Do the other roofs fit into your neighborhood? Roofing contractors will also help you choose the right color and style for your house.
Roof Skylights are available in sizes that fit standard 16- or 24-inch framing. Adding a large skylight means that the installer will cut one or more rafters. If the roof is conventionally framed with doubled up rafters on the sides of the rough opening and headers at the top and bottom of the opening, this should be an easy task. However a truss roof presents a challenge since trusses are carefully engineered to carry roof loads, and modifying them in the field is a bad idea. If your home has trusses, ensure you use skylights made to fit between roof members, or gangs several smaller skylights together to create a larger window.
Additionally, your roof's thickness will determine the type of mounting and flashing required. Thinner roofs such as asphalt or fiberglass use self-flashing or curb mount. Thicker, higher-profile roofs such as wood shakes, slate or clay tile require built-up curb and flashing.
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