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Which Roofing Material Will Best Suit your Needs?

Last modified: 2019-03-13 | Approximate reading time 6 mins

Karine Dutemple

Do you need to renovate or repair your roof and are uncertain about your choice of roofing material? Here are the various options available to you, as well as insights about their respective advantages and disadvantages.

Different roofing materials

Toiture en bardeau_Soumisison Rénovation_shingle roof_renoquotes

Asphalt shingles

Organic shingles

Above all, asphalt shingles are a true and timeless classic and are available in two forms: organic shingles and fibreglass shingles. The first one, which when manufactured is recycled asphalt paper heated under pressure, is recognized for its flexibility which greatly facilitates the installation during cold weather.

Moreover, this composition makes the material heavier and less susceptible to damage when exposed to strong winds and bad weather conditions. The uniformity of this material allows it to efficiently conceal the slight imperfections of the roof.

Fibreglass shingles

If we compare this type of shingle with the previous one, we can say that a fibreglass shingle has a better endurance when it comes to withstanding heat. Having less asphalt in its composition, fibreglass shingles are simultaneously lighter and more affordable, while also having less chance to curl. As a counterpart, let’s mention how important the installation of an underlayer is before thinking about the installation of your singles.

Because of its growing popularity, it is important to say that fibreglass shingles are available in many colours and forms and that this type of roofing material often comes with a 20 years warranty. It’s impossible, however, to ignore this material's lower resistance regarding temperature extremes.

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Organic and fibreglass shingles: the similarities

Despite the differences that oppose them, these two types of shingles both have the capacity to preserve a mild temperature indoors by reflecting sun rays on the roof's surface.

As everything has a downside, it must be mentioned that black shingles contribute to higher indoor temperatures. Moreover, the installation process of this type of shingle requires particular care, otherwise, the roof will be exposed to water infiltration.

Let’s conclude by remembering that the quality-price ratio of this material is interesting, which is also the case for the fact that it requires little maintenance. Indeed, an inspection from time to time and the replacement of damaged shingles will be enough to maintain your roof.

The elastomer roof

Because of its top-notch elasticity, an elastomer roof will be able to handle the effect of sun rays and will also be very resistant to impacts and tears. As its joints are welded by fusion, the elastomeric roof is remarkably weatherproof.

This material’s impressive lifetime (between 25 and 40 years) will not prevent the material from being damaged due to stagnant water on its surface, which is something that could affect its life expectancy by almost 10 years. Also, you need to know that algae and ice can also greatly damaged this material. Sadly, note that an elastomer roof is not always recyclable and the possibility to do so is very different from a city to another.

You need to know that this material is excellent at resisting extremes temperature and that it is a good choice for a flat roof. What about its maintenance? If this material if properly installed, it won’t need much. Although the material’s installation process does present some fire hazards, it’s worth knowing that it is possible to opt for a cold installation process. Therefore, this initial risk is now avoidable.

Let’s conclude by saying that to assure the best possible longevity for this type of roof, you will be required to install some sort of ventilation system.

Wood shingles

Wood shingles can be made from different types of wood and this includes pine, oak and acacia. This type of shingle allows water to flow correctly and directly off the roof. Moreover, wood is a noble material, and it will offer your house great authenticity, which is something that only wood can bring.

Even though wood shingles were somewhat set aside in the early 20th century, it’s worth mentioning that they became more popular at the beginning of the ’80s. Also, some people may hesitate to opt for this material as the wood used to manufacture shingles is less mature and therefore, often weaker than the one used before.

Apart from that, it’s worth knowing that shingles with fibres that are not straight will have more chances to slip and become crooked. However, we must highlight the fact that a roof made with this material can last for 30 or 40 years if it has these characteristics:

  • It is made of eastern cedar (ideally);
  • The wood doesn’t contain any knots;
  • The wood is grade A quality; 
  • The wood doesn’t have any sapwood (part of it that allows the sap to pass in the tree);
  • The wood grain is flat.

We must specify that a shingle that is bevelled and that has a slit is what is best, as this type greatly reduced chances that water will ever accumulate on the roof, it’s less likely that shingles will deteriorate before the time comes. Moreover, it’s well known that your best bet is to choose large shingles.

Terracotta tiles

In some parts of the world, including Europe, this type of shingle is the most popular for individual homes. In fact, this is due to the fact that it is highly resistant to frost and other tough weather conditions.  It’s possible also to get tiles from different styles and colours. For this reason, they can mesh well with most homes. Terracotta tiles are both incombustible and rot-proof and it’s possible to say that they are the best choice for a roof with a slight incline and contrary to other materials, it is completely natural.

The lifespan of terracotta tiles on a roof is approximately 30 years, which is like other types of roofs. Let’s mention that a roof made in this material is better for sunny and wet climates and not a very good one for cold climates like ours.

Finally, we need to say that a waterproofing membrane under the tiles is a necessity to block any water infiltration inside the shingles. For its maintenance, a good cleaning process is with water and soft soap is usually enough.

Concrete tiles

toiture en tuiles de béton_Soumission Rénovation

Let’s begin by mentioning that this roofing material does provide a good resistance to temperature extremes, which is very interesting for colder areas. Also, concrete tiles resist impacts, acid rain, cold, humidity, sunrays and saline breeze. Taking into consideration that this material is available in a vast number of colours and forms, it’s also worth noticing that concrete tiles can be used in different manners on the roof.

Sadly, this installation requires the expertise of a professional due to how complex it is. Moreover, since this material is smooth and slippery, the risk of injury must be taken seriously. Let’s say that a waterproofing membrane is necessary to prevent water infiltration.

Another thing worth saying: the price is high (between 7 and 10$ per foot scare). It must be noted that a roof made of concrete tiles has a minimum lifespan of 50 years, which makes its high cost profitable in the long term. Why such a high cost? Because of its manufacturing costs and the obligation to strengthen the roof structure to be able to support its weight.

What else can we say about it? First, it’s incombustible, which allows homeowners that choose it as a roof siding to reduce their insurance fees. Also, it’s a good insulating material and its waterproofing properties make it a good choice for a roof.

Concerning the maintenance, it should be noted that your roof needs to be cleaned from time to time, depending on outdoor conditions. If dirt seems to be inlaid in the tiles, a defoaming agent applied with a sprayer and the use of a brush will be necessary to properly clean the tiles. Obviously, everything needs to be cleaned at the end. Don’t ever use a pressure washer on the roof, because the force of this type of device will damage the surface. Let’s conclude with the fact that the sliding's colour may slightly fade over the years.               

Slate roof

A slate rooftop is one of the more durable and costly roofing materials. Moreover, slate gives a lot of personality to a home. Note that a slate roof s a guarantee of longevity. Indeed, if they are well maintained, they can last for generations. In contrast, it’s true that the quality of the material is not always the same from one tile to another, because it’s entirely organic.

A zinc rooftop

Zinc is a material that has gained a lot of popularity over the years. Its recent success, notably for architects, is explainable by this material's capacity to adapt to rounded shapes, which is not the case for the other materials mentioned. In addition, zinc is a light material and therefore does not constitute an overload for the roof.

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