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Roof Types

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Roofing material is the outermost layer on top of or on the upper steep sides of a building, generally supported by the underlying structure. A building's roofing material provides the first line of protection from the elements. The outer layer of a roof can show great variation dependent upon availability of material, the nature of the supporting structure, and the desires and needs of the occupants. Those types of roofing material which are commercially available range from natural products such as slate to commercially produced products such as tiles and steel sheeting. Roofing materials should be placed on top of a secondary water-resistant material called underlayment; the underlayment in almost all cases is the primary leak barrier of any roof, thus is of primary and critical importance.

Materials - Tthere are a Myriad of Choices

  • Shingle is the generic term for a roofing material that is in many overlapping sections, regardless of the nature of the material.

    • Wood shingle: shingles TAPER sawn from bolts of wood such as red cedar which has a life expectancy of up to 40 years. However, young growth red cedar has a shorter life expectancy, along with very high cost and scarcity. All wood shingles benefit by being allowed to breathe (dry out from below), as a result, spaced decking is often encountered during reroofing, which adds additional cost to the replacement roof.

    • Shake (shingle): Shakes are different than wood shingles in that they are split on 3 sides and sawed on the back side. Commonly referred to as "resawn Shakes". A cedar shake is NOT the same as a cedar shingle, it is "hand split" to allow for a rustic look and depth of shadow. Most wood shakes encountered in Colorado are considered Medium thickness.

    • Asphalt shingle made of bitumen embedded in an organic or fiberglass mat, usually covered with colored, man-made ceramic grit. Cheaper than slate or tiles. The reduced cost of this particular style of roofing is especially apparent in its application and removal. Installation is very streamlined and a rapid process. The rated life span varies. Use only on slanted roofs of more than 3/12 pitch.

  • Ceramic tile: High cost, life often more than 100 years. Installed on batten systems in most cases. It is critical to use the proper underlayment with long lived roofing systems.

  • Membrane roofing: Membrane roofing is in large sheets, generally fused in some way at the joints to form a continuous surface.

    • Thermoset membrane (e.g. EPDM rubber). Synthetic rubber sheets adhered together with contact adhesive or system specific tape. Along with a DensDeck underlayment, this is our most popular low slope product.

    • Thermoplastics: such as PVC, TPO - Plastic sheets welded together with hot air, creating one continuous sheet membrane. They can be re-welded to perform sheet and penetration repairs. The overlap is heat-welded with hot air to create a mechanically fastened thermoplastic roof. PVC is also known as IB.Vinyl roof membrane.

  • Liquid roofing: comes in a number of types. Please see GACO page.

  • Bituminous waterproofing is a general term for:

    • Modified bitumen: Torch Down heat-welded, asphalt-adhered, or self adhesive. Asphalt is mixed with polymers such as APP or SBS, then applied to fiberglass and/or polyester mat, seams sealed by locally melting the asphalt with heat, or self adhesive. Lends itself well to most residential low slope applications due to ease of installation and compatibility with asphalt shingles, but has a limited lifespan and does not tolerate pooling water well.

    • BUR (Built-up roof): Multiple plies of salt-saturated organic felt or coated fiberglass felts. Plies of felt are adhered with hot asphalt, coal tar pitch or adhesive. It is typically covered with a thick coat of the waterproofing asphalt tar and covered with gravel. The gravel provides protection from ultra-violet degradation, stabilizes the temperature changes, protects surface of the roof and increases the weight of the roof system to resist wind blow-off. This is a obsolete roof surface that we often replace with EPDM.

  • Metal roofing of all Types:

    • Metal shakes or shingles: Very attractive, with long life but high cost; suitable for roofs of 3/12 pitch or greater. Because of the flexibility of metal, they can be manufactured to lock together, giving durability and reducing assembly time. See EDCO page.

    • Corrugated CORTEN and A-606 alloy is raw unfinished steel manufactured with wavy corrugations to resist lateral flexing and fitted with exposed fasteners. See CORTEN page.

    • Standing-seam metal: With concealed fasteners, and mechanically seamed metal with concealed fasteners.

    • Stone-coated metal roofing: See Decra Page.

  • Concrete: Or fiber cement tile, usually reinforced with fibers of some sort, may also be in the form of S tiles.

  • Slate: High cost with a life expectancy of 80 to 400 years. GAF manufactures a modern quarried slate roofing system, however, slate roofs are one of the most difficult to work on and match repairs to. We have the skill sets and matching lab available to repair slate roofs.

  • Thatch is roofing made of palm stalks in overlapping layers. Now mostly only seen in the southern parts of the US in an ornamental function, it is a common roofing material in tropical countries.

  • Asbestos shingles/tiles have a very long lifespan, are fireproof and were low cost, but now rarely used because of health concerns. We still run into Asbestos tiles and siding in many markets nationally but not too often in Colorado. When we do we know exactly how to handle the mitigation and reinstallation steps required by federal and state laws. It all starts with identifying the product, then educating for the next steps in the process.