TYPES OF ROOFS

Asphalt Shingles


Both 3-tab asphalt shingles and laminated asphalt shingles contain a strip of factory applied adhesive that is activated by the sun’s heat after installation and seals each shingle to the next course. The seal strip also provides much of a shingle’s resistance to wind uplift. Shingles with factory-applied adhesive have a strip of clear polyester film applied to each shingle to prevent the sealing strips from bonding the shingles together when packaged. When the shingles are installed, the self-sealing strips will not align with the plastic film strips and will bond to adjacent shingles. For this reason, the plastic film strips do not have to be removed.
Asphalt shingles are composed of: a base material, either organic felt or glass-fiber mat, that provides support for the weather-resistant components and gives a shingle strength; asphalt and fillers; and surfacing material, generally in the form of mineral granules, that provides protection from impact and UV degradation and improves fire resistance.

The most common form of asphalt shingles are strip shingles. They are rectangular, the most prevalent size being 12 inches wide by 36 inches long. Metric shingles are 13-1/4 inches by 39-3/8 inches. Strip shingles most frequently have three tabs that are exposed along the length of the shingle for visual effect and are called 3 tab strip shingles.

Shingles may be produced in a single layer or two or more layers. The latter generally are known as laminated strip shingles, or architectural shingles, and they have a three dimensional appearance.

Wood Shakes/Shingles

Wood shakes and wood shingles are manufactured from western red cedar, cypress, pine and redwood trees. Shakes are split from logs and reshaped by manufacturers for commercial use. They are thicker at the butt end than shingles; generally one or both surfaces are split to obtain a textured effect. A split and resawn shake has a split face and sawn back. A taper sawn shake has a natural taper and is sawn on both sides. Wood shingles are sawn on both sides and have an even taper and uniform thickness. When applied to shingles, the industry terms “Perfection” and “Royal” mean 18 inch and 24 inch lengths, respectively.

Cedar shakes and cedar shingles are available pressure treated with fire retardants and chemical preservatives for increased fire resistance and to prevent premature rot and decay in some climates.

Pine shakes are made from southern yellow pine and are taper sawn. They also are available pressure treated with preservatives to protect against decay and insects. Interlayment felts are required for pine shakes.
Roof deck

Wood roof systems may be applied over continuously or closely spaced wood decking or over a spaced, sometimes referred to as “skipped,” sheathing. Solid roof decking or sheathing should be used in areas of the roof deck where an ice dam protection membrane is required.

The most common materials used for roof decks are plywood or oriented strand board (OSB). When plywood is used, NRCA recommends the use of a minimum 15/32 thick or ½ inch nominal exterior-grade plywood for 16-inch rafter spacings and 5/8 inch nominal thickness for 24-inch rafter spacings. For OSB, NRCA recommends a minimum 15/32 inch thick or ½ inch nominal exterior-grade OSB for 16-inch rafter spacings.

Built-Up Roof (BUR) Membranes

Photo of an aggregate-surfaced BUR

Surfacing for built up roof systems include aggregate (such as gravel, slag or mineral granules), glass-fiber or mineral surfaced cap sheets, hot asphalt mopped over the entire surface, aluminum coatings or Elastoplast coatings.
Built up roof membranes, referred to by the acronym BUR, have been in use in the U.S. for more than 100 years. These roof systems are commonly referred to as “tar and gravel” roofs. BUR systems generally are composed of alternating layers of bitumen and reinforcing fabrics that create a finished membrane. The number of plies in a cross section is the number of plies on a roof: The term “four plies” denotes a four ply roof membrane construction. Sometimes, a base sheet, used as the bottom most ply, is mechanically fastened. Built up roofs generally are considered to be fully adhered if applied directly to roof decks or insulation.

The reinforcing fabrics also are called roofing felts or ply sheets. Roofing felts are reinforced with either glass-fiber mats or organic mats. Felts are produced in a standard width of 36 inches and metric width of about one meter.

The bitumen typically used in BUR roof systems is asphalt, coal tar or cold-applied adhesive. The asphalt or coal tar is heated in a kettle or tanker and then applied by mop or mechanical spreader. Asphalt is a petroleum product refined from crude oil; coal tar is derived from the distillation of coal. Cold-applied adhesives typically are solvent-based asphalts that don’t have to be heated in a kettle or tanker.


  Clay Tile


Roof deck

NRCA recommends tile roof systems be applied over continuous wood decking. When plywood is used, NRCA recommends the use of a minimum 5/8 thick nominal exterior-grade plywood.
Clay tile is produced by baking molded clay into tile. The density of the clay is determined by the length of time and temperature at which it is heated. Tiles may be glazed and also may have surface texture treatments applied. As a result, there are a wide variety of tile profiles, styles, finishes and colors available. In addition, there may be separate accessory tiles—matched to each field tile design—of various shapes designed for use on ridges, hips, hip intersections and gable ends. Installation methods depend on the nature of the tile being installed; that is, whether it is two piece, one piece, interlocking or flat.
Concrete tiles are made of portland cement, sand and water in varying proportions. The material is mixed and extruded on molds under high pressure. The exposed surface of a tile may be finished with cementitious material colored with synthetic oxide additives. The tiles are cured to reach the required strength. They generally have lugs on their undersides for anchoring to batten strips. There are additional waterlocks or interlocking ribs on the longitudinal edges that impede movement and prevent water infiltration.

As with clay tile, there are a wide variety of profiles, styles, finishes and colors available. Color may be added to the surface of a tile or dispersed throughout (color through). Special texture may be added in surface treatment. Each type of tile roof system may make use of separate ridge, hip, hip intersection, gable end and finial accessory tiles of various shapes in addition to field tiles.

PVC Membrane

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Slate

Example of a slate roof system

There are several classifications for slate roof systems. The first is standard slate, which refers to slate that generally is from 3/16 inch (5 mm) to 1/4 inch (6 mm) thick with uniform length. The category “standard smooth” refers to standard slate that has a relatively smooth surface, in comparison with “standard rough” or just “rough”. Rough slate has a rougher texture and generally is available in thicker pieces. Finally, there is “graduated/textural slate,” which is designed with varying lengths and thicknesses and generally is rougher than standard slates.

Roof deck

NRCA recommends slate be applied over continuous or closely spaced wood decking. When plywood is used, NRCA recommends the use of a minimum 5/8 thick nominal exterior-grade plywood.
Roofing slate is a dense, durable, naturally occurring material that is essentially nonabsorbent. Two properties of slate are cleavage and fracture. It has natural cleavage, which permits it to be easily split in one direction. Fracture, usually occurring at right angles to the cleavage, is called the grain. Roofing slate commonly is split so the length of the slate runs in the direction of the grain. The surface texture of slate after being split for commercial use derives from the characteristics of the rock from which it was quarried. Some slate splits to a smooth, practically even surface, while other yields a surface that is rough and uneven.

The color of slate is determined by its chemical and mineral composition. Because these factors differ in various regions, roofing slate can be obtained in a variety of colors. In addition, exposure to weather causes slate to change color. The degree of change varies depending on the slate. Slate exhibiting minimal color change is known as “permanent” or “unfading” slate. Slate that shows a more marked color change is known as “weathering” slate. Between unfading slate and weathering is “semi weathering” slate.

Metal Roof Systems

—Example of an architectural metal panel roof system

Most structural metal panel roof systems are designed to resist the passage of water at laps and other joints, as sealant or anti capillary designs can be used in the seams. Structural metal panel roof systems possess strength characteristics that allow them to span supporting members.

There are three general categories of metal roof systems used for steep-slope roofing applications: architectural metal panel, structural metal panel and metal shingle/shingle panels. Generally, architectural metal panel roof systems are watershedding and are intended for use on steep slope roofs. Structural metal panel roof systems are used on low and steep slope roofs. Structural metal panel roof systems can be used on low slope roofs because of their hydrostatic, or water barrier, characteristics.
Because architectural metal panel roof systems typically are designed to be used on steep slopes that will shed water rapidly over the metal panels’ surface, the seams typically are not watertight. Many architectural metal roof systems are well suited for use on roof slopes of 3 inches per foot (14 degrees) or greater. One exception to the general slope guidelines for architectural metal panel roof systems is the traditional flat seamed, soldered or welded metal roof system, such as copper. It may be specified on slopes less than 3 inches per foot (14 degrees). Solid roof sheathing, or decking, is required for architectural metal panel roof systems, and NRCA recommends using underlayment.

Metal shingles and shingle panels are available in numerous varieties for use as steep-slope roof coverings. Most of the metal shingles are press-formed during the manufacturing process to provide a variety of shapes. These products can take the shape of individual or multiple asphalt, tile, slate or wood shingle configurations.
—Example of a structural metal panel roof system
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