Monday, June 4, 2012

A roof over your head...

There are several types of roof that you can have over your head, -hopefully you only need one ;-)
Cost and durability are not the same of course.

- The most typical type of roof might be the “composition shingle” roof. It is a combination of thick tar-paper-like material, and something that looks like rough sand on top of it. The sand/stone material that covers it is in fact to protect the material itself from sunlight. If not protected, the material would age a lot faster. New materials make these roofs attractive, with various duration spans – 25, 35 and 45 year materials.

- Wood shake, with wood shingles of various thickness. This type of roof is not allowed any longer in some Counties because of the heightened fire risk. These roofs are more expensive than the former and can last up to 50 years; they are considered more attractive because of “natural” materials – wood.

- Another very typical type of roof, for Eichler homes for instance and houses that have flat roofs: “tar and gravel”, which as the name indicates, is made of a thick tar paper layered in such a way as to make a water proof protective barrier on top of the roof. The tar is melted when the layers are put down, and at the edges. There again there is gravel on top of the roof, not to make it more attractive, but mainly to protect the tar paper. This is a fragile roof, as cracks develop easily with hot/cold variations and the aging of tar. But they are economic.  Needless to say that all these roofs have to be installed by good professionals...

- Along the same lines, (mostly seen on Eichlers), there is another type of roof that is very prized (and more expensive): the foam roof. There, special foam is layed / blown over the roof with elaborate machines, and a protective layer is put on top of it. It makes for a great roof insulation on these otherwise lightly built houses. The coating has to be renewed every 5 years or so, there again to protect from the UV and harsh solar treatment. That type of roof is more expensive.

- Clay tiles and concrete. Do you picture these Italian roofs, redish in color and so stylish? Clay tiles last a long time (50 to 100 years) and can be fragile.

- Metal roof: in the various forms of tiles, or panels. They are quite expensive especially if you go to copper. This will last also between 50 to 100 years. Beware of the rain noise on it though…

- Slate: do you picture one of those old European houses, with slate roofs that last for a century or two? The slates can be thick on some of those, and heavy. This type of roof on modern houses is elegant and durable (and thiner), .. and expensive too…

- Dirt. Yes, dirt, with plants on top of the house. Energy efficient and green. Mostly on flat roofs. You need to make sure that under that dirt, there is a good waterproof membrane to cover the roof of the house.

- Solar shingles. New materials are being created that enable to incorporate some shingles that create electricity (solar panels) with other shingles. Some of those can be seen on the roofs of the new houses at the Enclave in Mountain View, on Levin. Are these the roofs of the future of Earth? It is an elegant concept.

- Tin. as in tin roof in shanty towns...  Many, many people on earth only have a cheap layer of metal above their heads as a roof.  .. as a thought here, just to remember to appreciate what we have...  This being said, metal roofs (under which category "tin roof" falls) can be made of many different types of metal, like tin, or aluminum, or galvanized steel, and they can last a long time if well installed.

Here is an example where you can see 3 types of roofs together: tin, wood shakes, and slates:

Let me know if you need a few names of professional roofers around here.

Thanks for reading!

Our Brother's Home - a non-profit organization worthy of interest.

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