Types of Roofing Materials

Roofs are an easy thing to take for granted. They look simple and easy, flowing lines of shingles stacked serenely on top of each other until they reach the apex of a home and flow down the other side. But the roof of any home is layered with protective elements working together to protect it from the elements.

The bottom layer of any roofing system is the rafters, these are usually made of 2×4, 2×6, or 2×8, depending on the home. The rafters run from the base of the roof to the top and are set so that the 2 inch side is facing skyward.

OSB or plywood is then placed on top of the rafters. These are sheets are a composite of wood chips pressed together into a sturdy board that shingles will eventually be nailed into.

Felt paper goes on top the plywood. Felt paper(also called tar paper) is a thick, tough material that gets rolled out lengthwise across the roof and nailed into the plywood with nails or staples specially designed to no not tear through the paper. Felt paper is a waterproof surface provides an extra layer of protection between weather and wood.

Next is a feature unique to cold climates called the “water and ice” guard. Since water expands when it becomes ice, this rubbery layer is placed at roof’s bottom edge to prevent ice that forms there from creeping up under the shingles and bringing moisture into the house.

The final step before applying shingles is to lay drip edge. These are the metal strips all along the edge of a roof that help guide water off the roof and prevent rain from seeping into the wood when it gets under the shingles.

And last, but not least are the shingles. Because different shingles work well for different climates, architectural styles, and budgets, this is where most of a homeowner’s decision making happens.

The 3-tab shingle is the most common type of residential shingle. It is made primarily of asphalt and fiberglass, is fairly fire resistant, and quite affordable relative to other shingle options.

Growing in popularity is the architectural shingle. It is another shingle made primarily of asphalt and fiberglass, but layered much more thickly. Architectural shingles can stand up to stronger winds and have a longer life expectancy than their 3-tab cousins.

Wood shingles are a gorgeous option for homeowners who want to add a historic quality to their home. Wood shakes, are like shingles but thicker and less uniform, they add interesting lines and texture to a roof. Usually made from cedar, wooden roofs are aesthetically pleasing but be warned that they are costly to build and maintain, and frequently less fire resistant than asphalt shingles.

Clay tiles are popular in hot climates. Whereas on a hot day, asphalt shingles soak the sun’s heat right up, clay tiles reflect it back into the clouds, keeping the house and its residents cool.

Slate roofs have been seen in the USA Since before there was a USA. The first known example dates back to the early 17th century. Slate roofs are a prime example of the choice homeowners often face between quality and quantity. They provide a dignified, textured, and colorful appearance. Although very expensive to install, slate roofs can last over 100 years! A good investment if your house will be a hand me down.

Depending on where you live in the country, a certain type of roof material may be a better solution. We suggest consulting with a contractor that knows what the best material is for your home and the weather that your home is exposed to. Our chosen Atlanta Roofing Contractors prefer slate or asphalt shingle roof materials in Georgia. If you are weary about the opinion of one roofer, it is always best to consult another expert in your area.

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Are you wanting to learn about Roof Materials? This article covers all types of roof materials for a residential home.

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