Choosing Roofing Shingles in Texas
What many Texas homeowners desire is a roof that’s not too expensive, requires no maintenance, and lasts forever. But most roofs are replaced and or at least repaired every ten to twelve years here is southeast Texas due to the intense heat and leaghty sun drenched summers. By carefully choosing re-roofing material, you can reduce the cost and increase the duration of the life of your Houston TX roof. In the long run, you’ll use less building material, fill up less landfill space with discarded materials and have a roof that lasts for years or even a lifetime with some options.
If you select a light-colored surface or a material that doesn’t absorb heat from the sun, you significantly reduce the cool needs of the home or building. When your attic stays cooler, your cooling bills re reduced. I will post more on “Cool Roofing” shingles in a future blog.
Popular Roofing Materials
Below I provide a quick overview of the most popular types of roofing. Remember that cost alone does not determine quality of the roofing shingle and not all of these products will meet the specific needs of your home or building. By carefully selecting the right material, ensuring it is installed properly and by performing occasional modest maintenance, your roof can function properly for 20 to 50 years or even longer!
Composition shingles (asphalt shingles) are the most common choice for a clean look at an affordable price. Higher quality versions made from asphalt or fiberglass shingles offer a more durable option, we’ll discuss those later.
Composition shingles come in a large selection of types, brands and colors. They are versatile, adapt easily to different applications, are relatively easy to install and in some applications can even be nailed in place over an existing roof. This type of shingle is low maintenance and can be walked across without damaging the material. Most brands also offer Class A fire protection and can be recycled.
The negative side of composition shingles is that they don’t have the lifespan of other roofing materials like tile or metal, they don’t offer the dimensional look of tile or wood shakes, and there is a possibility of them blowing off in high winds. At Texas Home Exteriors, we use GAF Roofing Shingles.
Wood shake Shingles offer a natural look with a lot of character. Because of variations like color, width, thickness or cut of the wood, no two shake roofs will ever be the same. Wood offers some energy benefits, too! It helps to insulate the attic, and it allows the house to breathe, circulating air through the small openings under the felt rows on which wooden shingles are laid.
A wood shake roof, however demands proper maintenance and repair or it will not last as long as other products. Keep in mind that mold, rot, and insects can be a problem with this type of roofing. The life cycle cost of a shake roof may be high, and old shakes cannot be recycled.
Additionally, installing wood shakes is more complicated and costly than roofing with composite shingles and the quality of finished roof depends on the experience of the contractor as well as the caliber of the shakes you use. The best shakes come from the heartwood of large old cedar trees, difficult to find anymore thus adding to the cost. Note that some contractors maintain that shakes made from the outer wood of smaller cedars but the usual source today are less uniform and more subject to twisting and warping causing them not to last as long.
Roofing Tile is a good choice for homes with Southwestern, Italian, Spanish Mission designs or even for homes with a modern, clean look.
Tile lasts a long time with an expected lifespan greater than the material on which the roofing rests. Tile will not rot or burn and it cannot be harmed by insects. It requires little maintenance and comes in a variety of colors, types, styles and brands.
The biggest drawback to tile by far is its weight. Depending on the material used to make it, tile can be very heavy, so heavy that extra roof support may be required. Originally made from clay, new tiles are being made from lighter materials and lightweight metal tiles can be installed over existing roofs. However, keep in mind that with some new materials color is added only on the surface of the tile which can fade over time.
Also be aware that some types of tile are fragile, so walking on them can and will often break them thus making it more difficult to accomplish maintenance like painting or cleaning rain gutters and fireplaces. Initial installation can be complicated and tile can cost more than other roofing materials but it does have a nice look.
Slate is actual shingle-like slivers of rock that commonly shows up on more upscale homes. Although slate is by far a more expensive choice, it offers a very natural look and can be laid out in a variety of patterns.
The benefits of slate are identical to those of tile with a very long lifespan, good fire protection, low maintenance and an invulnerability to rot and insects. It comes in a good selection of sizes and colors, although colors are limited to those found in nature.
Like tile, slate can be very heavy and sometimes requiring expensive extra support. It too is breakable enough that walking on it is difficult for a non-professional and complicating tasks such as rooftop maintenance, gutter cleaning and painting but again is a very lovely looking option.
Concrete is now a roofing material. Shingles, simulated wood shakes, lighter-weight tiles and concrete panels are being manufactured from a variety of fiber-reinforced cement products. Some are coated with plastics, enamels, or thin metals with some even containing recycled materials. Although the products themselves are not yet recyclable, they are a good choice for durability and resource efficiency.
The advantages of concrete roofing vary from product to product, but generally they all have a long lifespan, require low maintenance, offer good fire protection and are resistant to rot and insects. Concrete mixed with cellulose can mimic the appearance of wood shakes while improving on the durability and fire protection that real wood affords. It can approximate the look of clay tile or slate while mitigating the structural problems caused by the weight of the real material.
Concrete is more expensive than some roofing materials and early types of concrete roofing had problems with the material curling, breaking and changing color. Technology has improved, however; and these problems have mostly been overcome. Style and color choices are expanding and by mixing the cement with additives, manufacturers are producing lighter and lighter products.
Metal Roofs are increasing in popularity and back in style. In the late 1700s, zinc, copper, and lead were the most popular materials used for roofing and used for such famous historic buildings as the Washington Monument and Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello both having metal roofs.
Standing-Seam Steel Roofing is the most popular residential metal roofing on the market today (the term standing-seam describes the upturned edge of one metal panel that connects it to adjacent sections, creating distinctive vertical lines and a trendy historical look).
Stone-Coated Metal Roofing Shingles are pressure formed with an aluminum-zinc alloy coated steel with an acrylic bonded stone chip finish. The stone coating resists fading and UV penetration and is a beautiful roofing choice. We have used both Decra and Metro Stone Coated Metal Roofing.
Metal roofs can also be made to resemble wood shakes, clay tiles, shingles and Victorian metal tiles. Aluminum or coated steel is formed into individual shingles, tiles or into modular panels four feet long that mimic a row of shingles or tiles and look very nice.
Metal roofs are durable, fire-retardant and almost maintenance-free. They are also energy-efficient reflecting heat and blocking its transfer into the attic. Research by the Florida Solar Energy Center in 1985 showed that metal absorbed 34 percent less heat than asphalt shingles (believe it or not) and homeowners switching to metal roofing reported saving up to 20 percent on their energy bills.
Well that was a bit of a lengthy post, I know, but I hope you found it information as it is my intention to provide information homeowners and those interested in roofing and shingle trends and available roofing options across the U.S. Stay tuned for a block on Cool Roofing Shingles and FREE Solar Ventilation!
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