Before undertaking a roofing project, someone might not understand how vast the selection for roofing materials can be. Just the section of shingles at the local home improvement warehouse can be enough to make the amateurs head spin. Shingles are just the start though; there are a wide variety of materials to decide between when embarking on a roofing project. To begin by clarifying, roofing materials are the top layer of the roof that is visible. Roofing materials are meant for the express purpose of insulation and protection from the outside elements, with a secondary function being aesthetics.
There are a couple of roofing materials that are made from natural elements. Thatch roofs made from overlapping plant materials and can still be found throughout regions of Europe and the United Kingdom. Thatch roofs may seem outdated but some can have a very long life expectancy and protect well against the elements. Most of the current applications of thatched roofs are in developing countries. But, there are many well-off people who choose thatch to create a rustic look or have a more environmentally conscious home. Slate is another material that is natural and many roofs around the world still use. Slate is a type of rock that can be broken into tiles shapes easily because of its fine grain. Slate is mostly used in Europe and United Kingdom but can be found in some places in America as well. Slate roofing is extremely durable but can also be very costly. Also, 90% of the slate roofs in Europe come from the slate found in Spain.
The type of roofing material that most Americans are familiar with is shingles. While shingles encompass a variety of materials, it is generally used to describe overlapping rectangular material. Shingles can be made from wood (shakes), slate, asphalt (bitumen), ceramics, or composite. With the development of new materials throughout history, wood and paper-based asphalt shingles are used much less due to their risk of flammability. America’s most common type of residential roofing material is the fiberglass-based asphalt shingle.
Another common type of roofing material is tile. Tile is made from a ceramic and is very brittle and easily broken, therefore should not be used in areas where large debris can fall and damage it. Tile is a very popular material in Mediterranean countries and also Southern Germany. Tile can be found across the America’s as well and is common in tropical climates like Florida. Tiles are a very good protector against rain and fire and this is one of the reasons that it spread so quickly across certain regions.
Metals are also popular materials still used around the entire world. Metal roofs can range from cheap for developing countries to very expensive for affluent home owners. Metals have a lot of advantage over other types of roofing materials. Metal is resistant to almost all types of natural elements and is very energy efficient. There are a variety of metals used in roofing including (but not limited to):
- Stone-coated Steel
- Galvanized Steel
- Stainless Steel
When you are choosing what type of material to use for your new roof, make sure to look at every option available. There are many types of roofing materials and they all have advantages and disadvantages. Sometimes going off the beaten path and getting a really unique material can make your house stand out from the rest.