Wondering how to choose your roofing? Read our tips and FAQs to learn more.
How can I tell exactly what kind of roof I will need?
There are so many types of roof systems available. Membranes are chosen depending upon certain structures or situations. This depends on how much foot traffic there will be, type and amount of mechanical equipment is on the roof, whether the roof is highly visible and is in a sunny or shaded area.
What kinds of shingles are there?
There are a number of things to consider when selecting a new roof for your home. Of course, cost and durability head the list, but aesthetics and architectural style are important too. The right roof for your home is the one that balances those four considerations. Asphalt shingles take over an overwhelming share of the U.S. residential roofing market. These shingles can be either organic or fiberglass materials. Although shingles reinforced with organic felts have been around much longer, fiberglass-reinforced products have come to dominate the market. The fire resistance of asphalt shingles, like most other roofing materials, is categorized by Class A, B, or C. Class A is the most fire resistant, while Classes B and C have less. Generally, most fiberglass shingles have a Class A fire rating, while most organic have a Class C rating. Shingles reinforcement will have little effect on its appearance. Both organic and fiberglass products are available in laminated (architectural) grades that offer a textured appearance.
It consists of a wood-fiber base that is saturated with asphalt and coated with colored mineral granules. To fight fungus growth in warm, wet climates, they are available with special algaecide granules.
It consists of a fiberglass mat, top and bottom layers of asphalt and mineral granules. Typically, fiberglass offers greater durability, but their manufacturer is important.
Laminated dimensional shingles
It is used for higher–budget applications. It is thicker, due to a lamination of more than one thickness of product. It also contains shadow lines, resembling a wood shake or slate shingle.
System was developed in Europe during the sixties and introduced in the U.S. in the early seventies. The term modified refers to the addition of plastic or rubber-based polymeric binders to asphalt to improve its performance and weather ability. Modified bitumen is used in multiple layers in what is essentially a "factory assembled" built-up roof. Several coats or laminations of modified bitumen are reinforced with a woven glass or polyester fabric reinforcing mat, which is often covering with a granule-surface cap sheet, or left smooth for aluminum or white coating to be applied. Modified bitumen roofing exhibits many characteristics of a built-up roof (BUR), yet affords the ease of application of a single-ply system. These membranes are resistant to heavy traffic, punctures and tears.
Wood shingles and shakes
These are made from cedar, redwood, southern pine and other woods; their natural look is popular in California, the Northwest and parts of the Midwest. Wood shingles are machine sawn; shakes are handmade and rougher looking. A point to consider: Some local building codes limit the use of wood shingles and shakes because of concerns about fire resistance. Many wood shingles and shakes only have Class C fire ratings or no ratings at all. However, Class A fire ratings are available for certain wood shingle products that incorporate a factory-applied, fire-resistant treatment.
Tile—clay or concrete
Tile is a durable roofing material. Mission and Spanish-style round-topped tiles are used widely in the Southwest and Florida, and flat styles also are available to create French and English looks. Tile is available in a variety of colors and finishes. Tile is heavy. If you are replacing another type of roof system with tile, you will need to verify that the structure can support the load.
It is quarried in the United States in Vermont, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia. It is available in different colors and grades, depending on its origin. Considered virtually indestructible, it is, however, more expensive than other roofing materials. In addition, its application requires special skill and experience. Many old homes, especially in the Northeast, still are protected by this long-lasting roofing material.
Primarily thought of as a low-slope roofing material, has been found to be a roofing alternative for home and building owners with steep-slope roofs. There are two types of metal roofing products: panels and shingles. Numerous metal panel shapes and configurations exist. Metal shingles typically are intended to simulate traditional roof coverings, such as wood shakes, shingles and tile. Apart from metal roofing's longevity, metal shingles are relatively lightweight, have a greater resistance to adverse weather and can be aesthetically pleasing. Some have Class A fire ratings.
Do we have to tear off the old roof before installing a new one?
You get best long term results by removing the existing roof. Always tear off the existing roof in cases where insulation is wet or deteriorated, or if the underlying structural deck is any concern. Trapped moisture within the old roof will limit the life of your new roof. Old roof removal will add to the cost and could inconvenient or disrupt your interior occupants.
Subject to city codes and restrictions, if the existing construction is sound and you want to save money, you can often leave the roof in place and install new materials over it.
How long should my new roof last?
This depends on the new roof design and your maintenance of it. The useful life of your roof will be extended by proper maintenance. This includes making sure the drainage is clear of debris, maintaining a good quality coating on the membrane, and keeping flashings in good condition.
Is a built-up or single ply roof better?
Either type of roof when designed and installed properly will perform well. The costs depend upon the specification of your project. The three main points to consider are the detail work involved, size, and the accessibility to the site. A single-ply membrane is often the roof or choice. The numerous types of single-ply systems have different methods of installation for each. Please feel free to discuss your options with any of our roofing specialists.
Should we add insulation?
When considering insulation "thinking green" means more than climate change! Most roofs now ready for replacement were built before energy conservation was crucial. Added insulation will increase the cost of your roofing project, but often the energy savings over the life of the roof will more than cover the cost of the added insulation. The building codes in your area will be checked to determine the required "R" value for roofs of new buildings, or if your existing roof is torn off prior to replacement.
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