Roof Tiles Materials Choices

A roof offers protection from the rain, snow and sun. It keeps the heat in during the winter and out during the summer. Approximately 10 percent of the cost of construction goes into the roof of a typical home. Roof tiles materials are available in many price ranges. Slate roofing is the most expensive, but it lasts the longest. Slate roofs can be seen on the famous Biltmore House in North Carolina and on Buckingham Palace in England. Slate is environmentally friendly, because it is a natural product. Asphalt roofing shingles are made from a petroleum by-product and make up over 80 percent of all roofing sold. They are inexpensive and come in a wide variety of colors. A reflective asphalt shingle has been developed that is designed to reduce cooling costs by reflecting infrared light.

Concrete roof tiles are another economical roof tiles materials. Concrete tiles or lightweight concrete shakes are often recommended in windy areas. They can sustain winds over 125 miles per hour that would strip off other materials. They typically last for the lifetime of the home, which is often in excess of 100 years. Concrete is environmentally friendly because it is made from abundant natural materials and does not use chemicals in the production process. It can be designed to look like clay, wood or slate, and the surface can be textured or smooth. Concrete tiles also have the highest fire rating, Class A, which is required by most building codes.

There are other roof tiles materials that have the highest fire rating. Metal roofing materials, especially a standing seam metal roof, are excellent in areas subject to high fire danger. Steel shingles may last 50 years with proper insulation and an appropriate underlayment or moisture barrier. Steel roofing that is coated with zinc and aluminum alloy may have 3 to 4 times the life of galvanized steel. Aluminum is an extremely lightweight metal for roofing but it must be painted or zinc coated. Copper may be the most expensive material, but it will not rust and has an estimated 200 to 300 year lifespan. It ages beautifully to a natural blue green patina. The historic Christ Church in Philadelphia has a copper roof, and it dates back to before the Revolutionary War. Also, the Statue of Liberty is made of copper and has been standing in New York Harbor since 1886.

There are almost endless choices when shopping for roof tiles materials. A simple flat roof repair may be inexpensive and easy for the homeowner to do himself. A complete roof replacement estimate will involve hiring a reputable contractor and perhaps a specialty roofing contractor. Still, there is always an affordable choice for the homeowner.

by Lawrence Cunningham