Roofing Choices – Variety vs. Popularity

An ever-increasing array of roofing options is available for residential and commercial buildings, but a few time-tested options still cover most roofs.

Whether it is because buyers and contractors prefer to use materials they know and understand or because of concerns over looks and durability, newer roofing materials are seeing only limited acceptance.

Slate and Ceramic Roof Tiles

For sloped roofs on homes and businesses, modern slate and ceramic roof tiles are more durable than ever and

Photo by rucativava

require less maintenance that they did in the past. Synthetic materials are also now available (even some made from recycled materials) and these look great and perform well in most roofing applications.

Wood Shingles … Nearly a Thing of the Past

Wood shingles are becoming less popular with each passing year because of local ordinances and the danger of fire from contact with burning embers. While these shingles are still the norm in some communities and even required by some homeowner’s associations because of their look, an increasing number of cities are banning them. Communities where wood shingles were once featured on nearly every home are having to get used to the look of other materials.

Composite Materials … Affordable and Effective

Standard composite or asphalt shingles still cover more homes than any other material. This is due in part to the relatively low cost of the materials and its resistance to embers and even small hailstones. While modern shingles go up quickly, a multi-person crew is still required to install them, and installation can take several days or even weeks on complicated roofs.

In areas subject to high winds, an increasing number of homeowners and businesses are turning to sheet metal for their roofs. While metal roofs were once considered eyesores or too industrial in look for residential neighbors or upscale shopping areas, new metal choices and changing tastes are opening more eyes to the value of sheet metal roof coverings. Modern metal materials have more appealing corrugation patterns, baked-on finishes in a variety of colors and even stamped-in patterning to make them resemble other materials, like ceramic tiles.

In many cases, metal installers can measure a home days or weeks before installation and provide the measurements to the maker who will then precut pieces to the building’s exact dimensions. On the day of installation, the crew simply fits the precut pieces in place, adds trim and caulks around vent pipes and other openings.

Ceramic Roof Materials

In recent years, ceramic materials and modern choices made from recycled materials have remained relatively high in price when compared with traditional composite materials. Metal has actually decreased in cost recently, making it now comparable in cost to composite.

Homeowners and businesspeople may be slow to adopt newer materials, but one thing is certain: As construction heats up again, demand for all materials will improve, and material makers will see a spike in sales. That’s good for the industry and the economy as a whole.

One other thing is certain too: No matter what the material used, every structure requires a high-quality, well-installed roof.

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J. Steeple is writer, blogger, handyman, and homeowner. She wishes her roofing was orange. Maybe someday.

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