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Roofing Material Options, Part 2


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Continuing where we left off with our last article, there are many decisions to be made before choosing a new roof and below is a continuation of roofing material options …
Slate Shingles: Slate, as its name implies, is made from real stone and when quarried has a tendency to separate in thin sheets. Slate is best installed by highly qualified installers of slate—sometimes hard to find west of the Mississippi. Slate for roofing comes more locally from Vermont, Virginia, New Hampshire, Arkansas, Kentucky and internationally from China and Brazil, to name a few. While it’s never good to walk on a roof, for example walking on asphalt will displace the minerals and reduce their longevity, slate is a material that will break if walked on. While a slate roof would require adequate truss strength to hold the additional weight it also inherently has a longevity factor and can last for upwards of 100 years.
Spanish Tiles [Concrete or Clay]: Also a highly durable roof surface that can last upwards of 100 years. With clay tiles being around dating back to old California missions and before, they are used more in southern, warm climates, but with proper planning and installation, and newer concrete tiles, this type of roof can be used in northern climates providing a roof which makes a statement of elegance, durability, and low maintenance. The newer concrete tiles are made from a mixture of sand, cement, and water then molded under heat and high pressure. The exposed surface can be finished with paint like material adding color options and come in three main appearances: flat profile, low profile with small curves, and high profile with a larger curve surface. Like clay the tile surface can be textured or smooth and edges can be either ragged or uniform. These tiles are resistant to hail, wind, and fire. The downside to cement tiles is their weight; on average 40% greater than clay tiles and that they have a 13% water absorption rate, also increasing their weight.
Clay tiles are made by baking molded clay. The density of which is determined by the length of time and temperature at which it is heated. Natural clay tile colors range from shades of white to yellow to orange to brown with the most popular color being Terra-Cotta. Made from natural earth clay material they are environmentally friendly and easily recycled and they are resistant to strong winds and fire will not destroy them. The drawback to clay tiles in colder climates is their propensity to crack or shatter in freeze thaw cycles. Conversely, concrete tiles are not susceptible to freeze/thaw damage.
Rolled Roofing: Rolled roofing material, while not commonly used, is a mainstay of outbuilding and other less attractive structures and/or low sloping residential roofs. The material comes in rolls 100’ x 3’. It is a fast and extremely cheap way to roof a shed or workshop when your primary focus is functionality and not aesthetics and it’s essential when covering a roof with no or very little slope. While the advantages are that it is the least expensive of all roofing material, applies quickly, and it is good for protecting against rainwater, the disadvantages are that is less attractive, few color options and it has a short lifespan of 5-8 years. Okay for your shed not recommended for your home.
As well, we need to keep in mind that not every roofing material can be used on every roof, our decisions will be driven by several factors, such as, our locale, the pitch of our roof, the weight of the material—is it too heavy for our structure, immediate cost, upkeep requirements, and longevity. All these factors will play into the final decision about what roofing material is best suited for my specific roofing job.
Now, about the color and writing that check …

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