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When building a new roof you have a spectrum of roofing materials from which to choose, among them asphalt, wood, metal, tile, and cement. Although you may be focused on the style, consider cost, weight, and installation necessities. Following is a guide to understanding the process and choice of roofing materials:


Defining Square Measurement


Roofers use squares instead of square feet to talk about the surface area. One square equals 10 feet by 10 feet or 100 square feet. For example, a two-story home containing 2,000 square feet and a gable roof will be approximately 1,500 square feet of roofing surface. Divide by 100 to get 15 squares.


Cost Considerations


Costs for purchase and installation of a new roof consist of: materials used (asphalt, wood, metal, tile, cement, and slate); whether you are remodeling and its cost (materials removal, infrastructure repair); whether the roof includes little or no structural impediments; and whether more structural breaks on its surface, (numerous chimneys, intersecting rooflines, etc.) will factor into cost considerations.


Materials Options


Roofing materials are not adaptable to all roof types. Flat roofs need a surface dissimilar to a steeper-pitched roof. Heavier roofing materials cannot be used on most homes due to structural configurations.


Roofing Materials


Asphalt shingle – popular, inexpensive, and easy to install. Made of fiberglass, asphalt, and a granular surface. Two types of asphalt shingles are retailed:  Single thickness and laminated

Wood – composed of cedar, redwood, or southern pine, you can expect them to last 25 years, but they are double the cost of asphalt.

Metal – if durability is what you’re after, consider aluminum, steel, copper, and lead.

Tile and cement – also a durable material, but pricey and very heavy.

Slate – the heaviest, most long-lasting, and expensive roofing material, slate can last 100 years.


Flashing Protection


You can’t install a roof without flashing. Made of metal or plastic sheets, it is used to protect spots on your roof where different materials converge. Flashing covers and protects, ensuring a watertight seal.


For the majority of roofing materials before shingle work starts, tar paper is laid down as a protective barrier, then shingles nailed down over that. Another step roofers perform for cedar shakes is to lay down cedar breathers, preventing moisture from damaging the wood. For winter weather, a snow and ice shield is sometimes done for the same reason.


With basic information on how to choose materials, and the steps necessary for installation you can proceed with confidence in building a new roof.

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