A wide variety of materials are available for the roofing of homes, ranging from thatch roofs to stone. Most states have building codes to which roofs must conform, including Colorado. These codes are fairly conservative, focusing on tried and tested materials and designs that meet modern building requirements. United Restoration are experts in following all of Colorado’s roofing regulations and we’re members of the National Roofing Contractors Association.
Asphalt or Composite Shingle
Asphalt, a petroleum bi-product discovered over 5,000 years ago, occurs naturally in the environment. During the past 150 years, it has gained ground as a roofing agent and is widely used across the United States, including Colorado. The Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association estimates that around 80 percent of U.S. homes have asphalt roofs, which remain popular because of their low cost, light weight, easy installation and low maintenance requirements. Used in conjunction with increased insulation, asphalt is suitable for “cool roofs,” which are installed to meet energy-efficient building codes in Colorado. Disadvantages of asphalt include a short life span of between 15 and 30 years, vulnerability to damage when warm, and a tendency to develop mildew.
Also called composite shingles, asphalt shingles come in organic and non-organic types. Organic asphalt is made from a foundation of felt mats, while non-organic asphalt is made from fiberglass sheets. The foundation materials are saturated in a tank of hot asphalt made from a bi-product of the process through which crude oil is refined. The asphalt is heated and oxidized, and mineral stabilizers such as fly ash or finely ground limestone are added. These turn the asphalt into a coating material and make it fire- and weather-resistant. Mineral granules—made from materials such as copper, slag derived from ore-smelting, or ceramic-coated stone—are added before the shingles dry to provide a top coat with an attractive finish. The hardened strip of shingle is cut to size, packaged, and distributed for sale.
Metal roofing was common in the 18th century and was used for various historic buildings including the Washington Monument. Today, metal roofs are enjoying a return to popularity. The roofs are made mostly from galvanized steel, aluminum or copper. Durable, fire-retardant and almost maintenance-free, metal roofs are energy efficient and environmentally friendly. The metal reflects heat outwards, reducing heat gain in the home and lowering the burden on the home’s HVAC system. Homeowners who switched from shingles to metal have saved up to 20 percent on their energy bills, according to EnergySavers.gov. Steel roofs are made using up to 65 percent recyclable material, and because of their light weight, they can be installed directly over the existing roof, reducing the amount of waste that requires disposal.
Installation of a premium-quality metal roof is more expensive than other types of roofing, in both material and labor costs. However, the roofs last for up to 50 years and have paint warranties of up to 45 years, making them a long-term investment. The “standing seam” style of roofing is popular because of its historic appeal, but the versatility of metal enables manufacturers to create roofing materials resembling wood shakes or shingles. This type of roof is ideal for colder climates because ice and snow slide off easily, reducing the risk that the roof will collapse from the weight. Metal roofs also deliver excellent performance in rain, hail and high winds, making them ideal for Colorado.
Wooden roofing shingles in the U.S. are made mostly from Western Red Cedar. Although wooden roofs are attractive and come in a variety of natural colors, they require proper maintenance and care if they are to last 30 to 50 years. Wooden shingles require regular cleaning, are susceptible to mold and insects, and may present a fire hazard if they are not made from pressure-treated wood. The insulation properties of the wood help save on energy bills, while allowing the air to circulate through the gaps under the shingles. “Shakes” are hand-split and tapered, while wooden shingles are sawed into different lengths. Shakes are the most popular version, but they are also the most expensive. Both types require professional installation.
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