PythonXY Roofing Guide

Getting The Perfect Roof

It is a vital part of owning a property to keep it properly maintained and that includes taking care of the guttering and the roof. These parts of the structure are an important defense against the weather and their condition also impact on the value of the property when it comes to selling. If you ignore your roof you can run into issues caused by damp like damage and mold. This can lead to leaks and damage inside the home too.

Usually we do not think of calling in a roofing contractor until we see the result of damage already happening but you do not have to wait for damaged or missing tiles or a hole in the ceiling before you find a roofing contractor. There are other services too that can help you ensure your roof stays tight and weather proof over the years, and can help you avoid larger and more expensive repairs.

They can assess your roof to see if it will be fine through the next winter, look at entry points like the flashing to check for water damage and make sure your warm air is not getting out, clean gutters to ensure the water is flowing away and not back onto the roof, inspect the tiles for damage, check the mortar for cracks and so on. They can also help ensure you have the right roofing materials for the structure and the climate it is in.

Roofing materials

Roof Type and the Roofing Materials Used

The most usual type of roof used is pitched. The pitch is a measurement of the steepness of the roof, and that steepness will affect how fast the water and so on runs off the roof. Most roofs of this type measure between 4/12 and 8/12 in pitch, under that is very shallow and may  not shed water, and over it is too steep to stand on when repairs are needed. A pitch of 1/12 or under is called a flat roof. The roofing material most often used on pitch roofs are composition shingles but there are other options that can work such as slate, wood shingles, metal, slate and more.

Flat roofs with a low to no pitch where water does not run off do not tend to have traditional roofing materials used on them. For a while they were covered in flat seamed soldered metal and tar and gravel but in the last two decades other roofing types have been developed using materials like modified bitumen, plastic and rubber.  The most common one used is modified bitumen which is manmade and combines bitumen (asphalt) with chemicals to extend its life. These chemicals are either elastifiers, which are added to ensure the asphalt is kept flexible, and then there are UV blockers, which are added to ensure the sun’s UV light does not damage it. Modified bitumen comes in large rolls that can be positioned on the roof and then melted together to form one sheet that covers the whole roof. While tar and gravel are still used in some situations, modified bitumen is far more popular as it is not just more effective it is also cheaper.

Understanding Roofing Materials

Since the first days of man part of his activities have been trying to create a barrier between himself and the elements and to create a warm, dry and safe place to live. At first he used materials he had close to him, mud, grass, wood, rocks. Roofing today is not that different in principle to those basic times apart from the complexity of the materials. In fact slate, one of the best materials to use today for your roof as been around and used especially in Europe as roofing for hundreds of years. You can also still find homes with simple fired clay tiles, or wood shingles. When you consider asphalt tar it has been refined into a composition shingle that is the most popular roofing material used in America today.

All materials will have some advantages and disadvantages. Choosing the right material from the many roofing materials for you is about considering those strength and weaknesses in terms of the conditions you live in, your needs and your budget.

Composition shingles

Most commonly the least expensive shingle is used with a 20 year warranty and it is known as the 3 tab shingle or the strip shingle. You can get a variety of types, warranties and colors though. The second most popular is the dimensional shingle with a 30 year warranty which is also called an architectural shingle or laminated shingle. This one differs from the 20 year warranty shingle in being heavier, thicker and was made to like wood shingles. You can get laminated shingles with 40 and 50 year warranties too, each a little thicker than the last but otherwise the same in terms of looks. When you look at all composition shingle roofs, around 95% of them use laminated and strip shingles. There are other options though such as hail resistant shingles and other specialty shingles.

3 tab composition shingles

AS said the most commonly used shingle in the US with a 20 year warranty. They are popular mostly because they are inexpensive, they are easy to install and there is a wide choice in color. However they do have a shorter life than other options, they are quite plain in terms of appearance and if your roof has any variation in placing these 5” x 12” rectangles it can look obvious when the pattern has to adjust or be altered.

Laminated shingles

They are made in a similar fashion to the strip or 3 tab shingle but an extra layer of material is laminated on after being cut in a saw tooth pattern. Laminated shingles are therefore a little thicker and last longer. Different variations on that saw-toothed pattern can give a nicer varied appearance almost thatch like, and it does not have the issue of having to be a perfect repeating pattern. Another attribute of this option is it is better at hiding any imperfections in the roof deck. You can get 30, 40 or 50 year versions too so can get a longer lasting more durable shingle.

Hail resistant shingles

You can get 3 tab and laminated styles of hail resistant shingles with the 3 tab style having a 30 year warranty and the laminated style having a 50 year warranty. When you look at them they do not seem to be different from the regular kind above, but they are made with modified bitumen a special asphalt that has 2 chemical modifiers added called UV blockers and elastifiers.

hail resistant roof

Specialty shingles

While these only make up 2 to 3 per cent of the market for composition shingles there are still a large range to look at. Some are made to look like slate, some like wood grain, some are heavy and thick, some have multiple layers of laminate and some are even coated in copper.


In the Southwest and Texas the most commonly used roofing material is tile. You have two basic groups, clay tile and concrete tile. Concrete is more commonly used as it is very durable and it is cheaper. Clay is more durable but costs more. There are a large number of styles, colors and brands for concrete tiles but these are variations of three types, the small barrel, large barrel and flat. There is a fourth version a few companies make called a bar. If you are looking for the villa style tiled roof look that would be the large barrel tile. The Mediterranean style tile is the small barrel. The flat tile has two types, the shake tile with a textured surface and the slate tile with a smooth surface.

Tile roof

The colors are mostly created by baking on a glaze. The colors that are more natural though are often produced by taking the concrete and dyeing it. These are also called color-through tiles. Some people opt for this rather than the glaze option because the more natural options tend to stand the weathering a lot better and will not change appearance so much over the years.

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