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Roofing Buyers Guide

Whether you are building an entirely new roof or having work done on an existing one, it can be an expensive decision, so you need to make sure you get it right first time round. We have provided a comprehensive guide to roofing to ensure you are aware of all of your options and that you have the basic knowledge when it comes to installing your new roof.

Key words you should know when it comes to roofs

Dormer - a small structure projecting from a sloped roof, usually with a window.

Drip edge - an L-shaped strip installed along roof edges to allow water to successfully run off and remain clear of the deck, eaves and siding.

Eaves - the horizontal lower edge of a sloped roof.

Fascia - covers the roof rafter ends, and extends down past the soffit that conceals the rafters from the bottom. The fascia prevents water from getting to the soffit by extending below it, and providing a drip edge; is also used to secure a home’s guttering.

Fire rating - system for classifying the fire resistances of various materials. Roofing materials are rated Class A, B or C, with Class A materials having the highest resistance to fire originating outside the structure.

Soffit - is the covering between the wall of your home and the outer edge of the roof.

Slope - measured by rise in inches for each 12 inches of horizontal run.

Square – the measurement of roof area.

Valley - the angle formed at the intersection of two sloping roof surfaces.

What types of roof are available and what materials should I choose?

Flat roof

A flat roof is an alternative to the more sloped roof and is built horizontally or nearly horizontal. The materials used for a flat roof are extremely reliable and affordable. Flat roofs are often built on garages, extensions and commercial buildings. They still need to make sure that water easily runs away, so they are built with a slight slope. If you decide on a flat roof you can choice between GRP and felt roofing. GRP is a fiberglass roof that will last for at least 30 – 50 years with no measurable deterioration. GRP is extremely versatile as well as being hard-wearing, waterproof and UV resistant, making it a great material to use. Felt has been used for many years and has improved greatly. Nowadays two or three layers of felt sheets are used, which forms a dense and impermeable barrier. The felt is also covered with waterproofing materials to prevent excess moisture from entering and resulting in the structure becoming damp, which makes it a great material for your flat roof.

Steep pitched roof

Water, ice and snow can easily roll off a pitched roof and therefore does not require weather covering and water proofing treatment. Pitched roofs are cost effective and can be constructed in a short time frame.

Slate roofing

Slate tends to be used on more affluent homes and provides a wonderful natural look. The initial outlay for choosing a slate roof can be expensive but if a good quality slate is chosen and fixed it could last a life time. A slate roof requires low maintenance, offers good fire protection and provides an invulnerably to rot and insects. Slate comes in a good selection of sizes and colours, although expect the colours to be limited to those found in the natural environment such as green, grey, black, purple and red.

Tiled roofing

Although materials for a tiled roof can vary, the most common are made from ceramic, clay or cement. Titled roofs create a really distinctive appearance, so if you are keen to preserve the authenticity, style and history of your home or design something with some architectural flair then tiled roofing could be for you. Tiles can last between 50 – 70 years because the longer tiles are exposed to the elements the more durable they become. They do not rot, rust, curl or burn and they also carry a class-A fireproof rating.

Metal roofing

Metal is a great roofing alternative for home and building owners with steep- slope roofs. Apart from the durability of metal, metal shingles are relatively lightweight, have a greater resistance to adverse weather and can be aesthetically pleasing. Some even have Class A fire ratings.

Remember your roof needs ventilation

Without the appropriate ventilation, heat and moisture can build up in your loft and combine to cause rafters and joins to rot, shingles to buckle, and insulation to lose its effectiveness.

You should also be aware of what can cause damage to roofs and maintain them when necessary. A small amount of maintenance may prevent a roofing disaster further down the line, which will lead to a large amount of upheaval and a considerable amount of money spent on repairs.

There are many different types of roofs and materials available depending on your personality or the style and design of your home; we have only listed the most common. A qualified roofer will be able to advise you on the different varieties and suggest alternatives you may not have thought of. It is always best to employ a reputable roofer to help you maintain, repair or install an entirely new roof. They will make sure that all building regulations are met and the building works are carried out to a high standard. 

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