Roofing: Different styles, different materials

Jan 12, 2019 | Project

All things considered, it is little wonder so many different styles of roofs and the materials used to construct them exist in North America. The climatic challenges facing roofs in Canada are innumerable. Roofs provide shelter from sun, rain, snow and ice while enduring temperature swings that range from sub zero, super freezing on a January night to egg frying hot on a summer day in July.  Humidity, both inside and out are also challenges facing roofing material and style on structures anywhere in our country.  Additional considerations include, but are not necessarily limited to, supporting structure of a roof and availability of materials

The roofing layer exposed to the weather is called the weatherproofing layer. Many materials have been used to weatherproof structures. They range from natural products like thatch and slate to manufactured solutions such as tiles and polycarbonate sheets.

In the United States and Canada, wood shingles are taken from bolts of wood such as red and white cedar. These shingles can last up to 30 years. However, young growth red cedar has a short life expectancy and high cost. Eastern white cedar is also used. All wood shingles benefit by being allowed to breathe (dry out from below).

Asphalt shingle is composed of bitumen embedded in an organic or fiberglass mat, normally covered with colored, ceramic grit. The advantages of swift removal and installation of this style of roofing provides reason enough to make it very popular.  Consider its durability and comparatively low cost and it is little wonder that it is the solution of choice for many.

Rubber shingles are made, you guessed it, primarily from rubber but also binders and ultraviolet light damage deterrents as well as color. Interesting to note that these are manufactured in large part from recycled tire rubber.  Surely, for the environmentally oriented, something that is appealing.  Additionally, rubber tiles can last in excess of fifty years. There is an additional cost factor to consider compared to asphalt tiles. However, the durability and material certainly do make rubber shingles a style to consider.

Metal shakes or shingles come in a variety of colors. They boast long life but are only available at a very high cost. They offer different advantages including durability and ease of installation but the higher cost for this product makes it a lesser choice among roofing styles.

Obviously, the number of styles and materials used for roofs varies considerably. Personal choice, budget and any number of additional factors can influence the final decision.  In all cases, the installation by a professional roofer remains the best choice to protect both the roof itself and the investment made in the structure.

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