Explore Your Roofing Options
Tile, Slate, Metal Roofs & More
There are a number of factors to consider when selecting a new roof system. Of course, cost and durability top the list, but aesthetics and architectural style are important too. The right roofing system for your home or building is one that balances these considerations. The following roofing products are commonly used for steep-slope structures.
Asphalt shingles claim an overwhelming share of the U.S. steep-slope roofing market and can be reinforced with organic or fiberglass materials. Although asphalt shingles reinforced with organic felts have been around much longer, fiberglass-reinforced products now dominate the market.
Organic shingles consist of a cellulose fiber (i.e., wood) base that is saturated with asphalt and coated with colored mineral granules. Fiberglass shingles consist of a fiberglass mat, top-and-bottom layers of asphalt and mineral granules.
A shingle’s reinforcement has little effect on its appearance. Organic and fiberglass products are available in laminated (architectural) grades that offer a textured appearance. Zinc- or copper-coated ceramic granules can also be applied to organic or fiberglass products to protect against algae attack, a common problem in warm, humid parts of the United States. Both types of shingles also are available in a variety of colors.
Wood Shingles & Shakes
Wood shingles and shakes are made from cedar, redwood, southern pine and other woods; their natural look is popular in California, the Northwest and parts of the Midwest. Wood shingles are machine-sawn; shakes are handmade (hand-split) and rougher looking. Some local building codes limit the use of wood shingles and shakes because of concerns about fire resistance. Many wood shingles and shakes only have Class C fire ratings or no ratings at all. However, Class A fire ratings are available for certain wood shingle products that incorporate a factory-applied, fire-resistant treatment.
Clay & Concrete Tiles
Tile—clay or concrete—is a very durable roofing material. Mission and Spanish-style round-topped tiles are used widely in the Southwest and in Florida, and flat styles are also available to create French and English looks. Tile is available in a variety of colors and finishes, and it is very heavy. If you are replacing another type of roof system with tile, you will need to verify that the structure can support the load.
Slate is quarried in the United States in Vermont, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia. It is available in different colors and grades, depending on its origin. Considered virtually indestructible, it is, however, more expensive than other roofing materials. In addition, its application requires special skills and experience. Many old homes, especially in the Northeast, are still protected by this long-lasting roofing material.
Metal, primarily thought of as a low-slope roofing material, is now a popular roofing alternative for homeowners and building owners with steep-slope roofs. There are two types of products for metal roofs: panels and shingles. Numerous metal panel shapes and configurations exist. Metal shingles typically are intended to simulate traditional roof coverings, such as wood shakes, shingles and tile. In addition to a metal roof’s longevity, metal shingles are relatively lightweight, have a greater resistance to adverse weather and provide a modern flair.