Know Your Roof - Showalter Roofing Services
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Know Your Roof

Published by Andrew Schmidt

Do you know your roof? Being educated on the components of a roof and different types and materials will help you decide the best option when investing in a new roof system.



            All slope roof systems have five basic components:

  1. Roof covering: shingles, tile, slate or metal that protect the sheathing from weather.
  2. Sheathing: boards or sheet material fastened to the roof rafters to cover a house or building.
  3. Roof structure: rafters and trusses that support the sheathing.
  4. Flashing: sheet metal or other material installed into various joints and valleys to prevent water seepage.
  5. Drainage: a roof system’s design features (shape, slope, layout) that affect its ability to shed water.



            The following are the most commonly used slope structured roofing products:

  1. Asphalt shingles possess the largest share of the United States steep-slope roofing market and can be reinforced with either organic or fiberglass materials. Fiberglass reinforcement generally has Class A fire resistance (most fire-resistant), while organic reinforcement has Class C fire resistance (less fire-resistant).
  2. Wood shingles and shakes are most popular in California, the Northwest and parts of the Midwest. Wood shingles are machine sawn while shakes are handmade and have a rougher appearance. Many wood shingles and shakes have Class C fire ratings or no ratings at all. Class A fire ratings are available for certain wood shingle products.
  3. Tile is a durable roofing material, made of clay or concrete. They are used for mission and Spanish as well as French and English styles. Tile is available in many colors and finishes. Since it is a heavy material, you will need to verify that the structure can support the weight of a tile roof system.
  4. Slate, like tile, is available in different colors and grades, dependent on its origin. Although more expensive, it is considered virtually indestructible. Its application also requires special skill and training.
  5. Metal has two different types of roofing products – panels and shingles. Numerous configurations of the two are available. Metal shingles are intended to simulate traditional roof coverings like wood and tile. They are relatively lightweight and have greater resistance to temperament weather conditions and can be more aesthetically pleasing. Some are in the Class A fire category.
  6. Synthetic roofing products simulate traditional roof coverings like wood and slate, however, they do not contain the same properties.


It is recommended by the National Roofing Contractors Association to look at full-sized samples of a roofing product before making a decision. If you are considering a new roofing system for your home or business and want more information, contact Showalter Roofing at 630-518-4772.


Information courtesy of the National Roofing Contractors Association

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