There are a number of things to consider when selecting a new roof system. Of course, cost and durability head the list, but aesthetics and architectural style are also important too. The right roof system for your home or building is one that balances these five considerations. The following roofing products are commonly used for steep-slope structures.

Asphalt shingles- although asphalt shingles reinforced with organic felts have been around longer, fiberglass-reinforced products now dominate the market.

Wood shingles- are made from cedar and other woods; their natural look is popular in California, the Northwest and parts of the Midwest. Wood shingles are machine sawn; shakes are handmade and rougher looking.

Slate- is quarried in Quebec, Vermont, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia. It is available in many different colours and grades, depending on its origin. Considered virtually indestructible, it is however, more expensive than other roofing materials. In addition, its application requires special skill and experience.

Ventilation and insulation are key

One of the most critical in roof system durability is proper ventilation. Without it, heat and moisture build up in the attic area and combine to cause rafters and sheathing to rot, shingles to buckle, and insulation to lose its effectiveness. Therefore, it is important never to block off sources of roof ventilation, such as soffit vents even in winter. In addition to the free flow of air, insulation plays a key role in proper attic ventilation. An ideal attic has:

  • A gap-free layer of insulation on the attic floor to protect the house below from heat gain or loss.
  • A vapor retarder under the insulation and next to the ceiling to stop moisture from rising into the attic.
  • Condensation can result from the buildup of relatively warm, moisture-laden air. Moisture in a poorly ventilated attic promotes decay of wood sheathing and rafters, possibly destroying a roof structure. Sufficient attic ventilation can be achieved by ensuring that the soffits are not blocked by the insulation and the installation of a static type Ridge vent i.e. air in air out to create a cool roof deck.