In this blog post we’re going to cover the best types of roofs for your residential or commercial building.
Whether you are building your roof from scratch or patching up your existing roof a wide range of materials and types are readily available. But which one is the best for your home?
There are many types and materials to choose from which include asphalt, wood, and composite shingles, as well as slate, concrete, and clay tiles. Cost is an important factor, but it’s not the only one. Style, material weight, and installation requirements should also influence your selection. Lastly, you want your roof to blend in well with the neighbourhood. If you build a flat roof in a neighbourhood of cedar roofs, it can cause your house to stick out like a sore thumb.
A number of considerations will affect the cost of a new roof. The price of the material is the starting point, but other factors also must be considered. One is the condition of the existing roof if you are remodeling a house. If old materials must be stripped off, and if the supporting structure needs repair, that can be costly. The shape of the roof is another contributing factor. A gable roof with few or no breaks in its planes makes for a simple roofing job. A house with multiple chimneys, intersecting rooflines, turrets, skylights, or other elements will cost significantly more to roof. It’s always important to get an estimate before starting any work.
Not every roofing material can be used on every roof. A flat roof or one with a low slope may demand a surface different from one with a steeper pitch. Materials like slate and tile are very heavy, so the structure of many homes is inadequate to carry the load. Consider the following options, then talk with your roofer and get an estimate for the job.
This is the most commonly used of all roof materials, probably because it’s the least expensive and requires a minimum of skill to install. It’s made of a fiberglass medium that’s been impregnated with asphalt and then given a surface of sand-like granules. Two basic configurations are sold: the standard single-thickness variety and thicker, laminated products. The standard type costs roughly half as much, but laminated shingles have an appealing textured appearance and last roughly half as long.
Wood was the main choice for centuries, and it’s still a good option. Usually made of cedar, redwood, or pine, shingles are sawn or split. They have a life expectancy in the 25-year range but cost an average of twice as much.
Aluminum, steel, copper, copper-and-asphalt, and lead are all durable—and expensive—roofing surfaces. Lead and the copper/asphalt varieties are typically installed as shingles, but others are manufactured for seamed roofs consisting of vertical lengths of metal that are joined with solder. These roofs start at about $250 per square but often cost two or three times that.
Tile and Cement. The half cylinders of tile roofing are common on Spanish Colonial and Mission styles; cement and some metal roofs imitate tile’s wavy effect. All are expensive, very durable, and tend to be very heavy.
Slate is not very common in Vancouver. However, is among the most durable of all roofing materials. Not all slate is the same but the best of it will outlast the fasteners that hold it in place. Hundred-year-old slate, in fact, is often recycled for reinstallation, with the expectation it will last another century. But slate is expensive and very heavy.
Types of Roofs
Once you pick your material, you have to pick the style of roof you want. There are many different types but we have narrowed it down to three different types. The styles of roofs vary depending on area and taste.
Gable roof designs are one of the simpler and most common styles when it comes to roofs. The gable roof style looks like an upside down. There are numerous advantages to the gable roof style. First, its simple design makes it easier to construct and less expensive than alternative roof types. There is also available space underneath the roof, allowing for an attic or a more open concept. Gable roof structures easily shed water and snow which makes them great for areas with heavy snowfall such as Canada. The steep pitch of gable roofs allows for excellent water drainage and fewer leaks. They also allow for more ventilation, and provide more space for an attic or vaulted ceilings.
A Sawtooth roof is two or more parallel pitched roofs in which the sloped and vertical surfaces alternate. As the name suggests, the roof resembles the side of a saw blade or a graph line. Sawtooth roofs were once only used in industrial buildings. However, now they have become trendy and are now used in modern home design.
They are very chic looking, this design can have windows placed in the vertical spaces of the roof, allowing more natural light inside the home. The higher peaks provide the opportunity for either attic, vaulted ceilings or loft living space. The combination of the various slopes and use of natural light make this design an excellent choice for homes with Eco-friendly conveniences, geothermal, solar panels, and radiant heating systems.
Flat roofs are common especially with commercial buildings but can be used on residential homes as well. They are definitely the most simple roof to construct because they have little to no pitch. The most common types of systems used with flat roofs are rubber. By far the biggest advantage of using a flat roof is the expense. From the initial building and installation to the materials most often used to cover the roof, flat roofs are fairly cheap.
Choosing the Right Roof
More often than not, if you are remodeling, the existing roof of your house will determine your choice of roofing material. Should you be considering other options, you’ll want to consider not only the cost but the color, texture, weight, and durability of your alternatives, as well as what traditionally has been used on houses like yours.
Originally published on November 15th 2017, updated on March 1st 2021