Nowadays there are a lot of choices available in roofing materials, such as cedar shakes, metal, slate, tile and asphalt. The type of material you need will depend on the style of roof you have, the contractors available, and your budget. There are several things to consider when deciding on a roofing material, such as design, insulation, and the life span of the material.
Types of Roofs
If you have a pitched roof (slanted) then you have some options for roofing materials which are not available for flat roofs. For example, you can choose to use cedar shake, which is made of cedar wood shingles. It is very environmentally friendly and can last for up to thirty years before needing replacing, if installed correctly.
Composition and dimension shingles are also available as materials for pitched roofs. Composition shingles are the more common material, and are made of either organic or fibreglass asphalt. They are easy to install, inexpensive, and last for twenty to thirty years. Fibreglass composition shingles are thicker and more adaptable than organic shingles, which can be quite fragile, but they do cost a little more. Dimensional shingles are the best choice for design because they allow you to customize their appearance, and are also thicker than composition shingles. They are more expensive, but last for longer, around forty years.
The longest lasting type of roofing material are slate and tile shingles. However, these are also the most expensive material, and as such far more rarely seen than asphalt or dimensional shingles. Tile and slate are also quite difficult to install because they are very heavy and require a high level of expertise: but if done properly, slate roofs can last for over a hundred years without needing replacing.
The most common materials used for flat roofs are tar, gravel, or modified bitumen. These can last for around fifteen years, and are very cheap. They are however, quite messy to install because each layer of the roof is held together by the tar or bitumen. Tar and gravel roofs are built up with interspersed layers of saturated felt and tar or asphalt, and then topped off with a mixture of mineral and rock. This gives the rood a higher weather resistance and allows you to walk on it more easily. If bitumen is the material used, then the layers are made of polyester or fibreglass with bitumen in between. While being the least expensive roofing material, these types of roofs are not very resistant to harsh weather like heavy rain or snow. EPDM is a rubber material which can also be used by flat roofing contractors. It is simple to install because it is also laid in a single layer, but it will need extra insulation. Rubber will last much longer than tar, gravel, or bitumen, and can give a limited level of UV protection. Another option for flat roofs is metal, usually the single seam variation.