Amherst Roofing, Inc. on Buying a New Roof | Print |

Buying a new roof ...


There are a number of things to consider when selecting a new roof system. Of course, cost and durability head the list, but aesthetics and architectural style are important, too. The right roof system is the one that balances these four considerations.


Asphalt shingles—which possess an overwhelming share of the U.S. residential roofing market—can be reinforced with either organic or fiberglass materials. Although 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. To fight fungus growth in warm, wet climates, they are available with special algicide granules.


Fiberglass shingles consist of a fiberglass mat, top-and-bottom layers of asphalt, and mineral granules. Typically, a fiberglass mat offers greater durability, but its manufacture is important.


The fire resistance of asphalt shingles, like most other roofing materials, is categorized by Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL) Class A, B, or C. Class A is the most fire-resistant, while Classes B and C have less fire resistance. Generally, most fiberglass shingles have Class A fire ratings, and most organic shingles have Class C ratings. UL Class A fire ratings are available for certain products that incorporate a factory-applied, fire-resistant treatment.


A shingle's reinforcement will have little effect on its appearance. Both organic and fiberglass products are available in laminated (architectural) grades that offer a textured appearance. Zinc or copper-coated ceramic granules also can be applied to either organic or fiberglass products to protect against algae attack, a common problem in hot, humid climates. Both types of shingles also are available in a variety of colors.


Wood shingles and shakes are made from cedar, redwood, southern pine, and other woods. Shingles are machine-sawn; shakes are hand-hewn and rougher looking. Their natural look is popular in California, the Northwest, and parts of the Midwest. A point to consider: Some local building codes limit their use because of concerns about fire resistance. Many wood shingles and shakes only have a UL Class C fire rating (or no rating at all).


Tile—clay or concrete—is a durable but fairly expensive roofing material. "Mission-style" and "Spanish" round-topped tiles are used widely in the Southwest and Florida, and flat styles also are available to create French and English looks. Tile is available in a variety of colors and finishes. Note: Tile is heavy. If you are replacing another type of roof system with tile, you will need to verify that the structure will support the load.


Slate is quarried in places such as Vermont, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Canada. It comes 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 skill and experience. Many old homes in the Northeast still are protected by this long-lasting roofing material.


Metal, primarily thought of as a commercial roofing material, has been found to be an attractive roofing alternative for home owners. There are a variety of metal shingles intended to simulate traditional roof coverings, such as wood shakes, shingles, and tile. Apart from metal roofing's longevity, metal shingles are relatively lightweight, typically have a Class A fire rating, have a greater resistance to adverse weather, and can be aesthetically pleasing.


Synthetic roof products simulate various types of traditional roof coverings, such as slate and wood shingles and shakes. A point to consider: Although synthetic roof products may simulate the appearance of traditional roof coverings, they do not necessarily have the same properties.


We recommend that you look at full-size samples of the proposed product, along with manufacturers' brochures, or visit a building that is roofed with that product before making a buying decision.

Call Amherst Roofing today for a Free Estimate at 239-594-1133.