New Technologies in Roofing Materials and Construction

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Roofing has come a long way from the original sod roofs or animal skins often used in primitive shelters. These roofs weren’t waterproofed and often allowed small animals to enter the dwelling; the clay tile roof developed about 5,000 years ago was a significant improvement. Even though thatched and wooden roofs were not an improvement, they became popular later because of their low cost. Asphalt and metal roofs later became the low cost alternative for the vast majority of the population. Today, there are newer options for roofing materials and construction that are eco-friendly and beautiful.

Fiberglass felt underlayment materials have added greatly to the roofing protection without adding extra weight. Even though asphalt shingles and the appropriate slope of the roof gave excellent protection during normal types of rainstorms, the winds often drove water under the shingles. The new reinforced felt underlayment provides an extra protection for the wood underneath from these types of storms.

Newer designs consider the local temperatures and weather conditions. There’s no “one size fits all” construction on roofs today. Even color varies by location, with lighter roofs being far cooler in warmer areas and darker shingles more appropriate for cool weather climates. Ballasted roof systems are also energy efficient and help building owners in warmer locations reduce the cost of cooling. New types of membrane systems such as Thermoplastic polyolefin-TPO-or polyvinyl chloride-PVC-are trending for flat roofs and so are fleeceback systems. These systems are far superior from the flat roof construction in the past and matched for the best energy conservation and weather tolerance for the area.

No one type of roof is good for every area or every need. Some people harvest the water that flows off their roof after a rainstorm, for both garden and personal use. The material used for these roofs should provide the smallest amount of debris and chemicals. For those who want a roof that’s impervious to heavy rains and high winds, adding hurricane straps, baffle ridge vents and rated wind and impact shingles or standing seam metal roofs might be the answer. However, putting the extra protection onto a roof where there’s little breeze and even less rain wastes valuable resources, based on the probability of a storm. More science goes into the selection of styles and types of roofs today than ever before in our history. Qualified contractors not only need to know the latest materials and techniques, they also need to be familiar with the weather patterns for the area they service and the roofing materials and construction that best suits that area.

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