10 Most Popular Roofing Systems for Residential and Commercial Roofs

roofing systems

If you’re purchasing a new roof for the first time, you’re most likely overwhelmed by your options. With so many different styles and materials to choose from, where do you even begin?

Actually, you can begin right here by reading this guide. Below, we explain all types of roofing systems for homes as well as commercial buildings.

You’ll learn the pros and cons of each roofing material including how long they last and their required maintenance. No matter what questions you have regarding roofing systems, this guide has the answers. Read on to learn all you need to know about roofing options.

Types of Sloped Roofing Systems

Most residences have a sloped roof. Here are the most common materials used in sloped roofing systems

Asphalt Shingle Roofs

Asphalt shingle roofs are the best choice for most homeowners, mainly because they’re the most affordable. However, they’re also durable enough to last 15-20 years in most cases.

Asphalt shingles are also a very light roofing material, meaning they require no special reinforcement measures to hold them up. This makes them easier to install than certain other roofing systems.

The main problem with asphalt shingles is that they can peel off of the roof when subjected to high winds. If the weather in your area isn’t so extreme, though, your roof should be fine.

Wood Shakes/Shingles 

For a more natural look, many homeowners choose wood shakes or shingles. The difference is that wood shingles are machine cut for a more uniform look. Wood shakes are cut manually for a more varied appearance.

With the proper maintenance, your wood roof should last for 30 years. Failure to maintain it, though, will drastically reduce its lifespan

In any case, the required maintenance isn’t all that taxing. Mostly, it involves clearing debris, like piles of leaves, off of your roof from time to time.  

Clay/Concrete Tiles

Roofs made of clay or concrete tiles are very resilient and long-lasting. They can stand up to harsh weather, are difficult to damage, and typically require no maintenance. A tile roof should last you at least 50 years.

Tile is also one of the most attractive roofing options. For all these reasons, though, tile roofs are significantly more expensive than asphalt shingle roofing. Part of this cost is the need for extra reinforcement to hold this heavy roofing material up.

Slate Roofing

Slate roofing is basically the heaviest, strongest, nicest looking, and most expensive roof you can buy. It also has the longest life span—100 years or more, to be exact.

Metal Roofing

Metal roofs give you a lot of variety to choose from, both in price and longevity. The lower-priced metals are among the cheapest roofing materials there are. And yet, even those on the low end will last up to 50 years.

For instance, cheaper metal roofing materials, like aluminum, will last 50 years and cost about the same as asphalt shingles. The more expensive copper and zinc roofing systems will last 100 years or more.

However, metal roofs are not preferred in areas that get a lot of precipitation. That is, rain and hail make an extremely loud noise when they patter against the metal roof. Those inside the building at the time will have to shout just to talk to each other. 

Types of Flat Roofing Systems

Flat roofs are more common for businesses or apartment buildings than they are for homes. Still, flat roofing systems offer a lot of benefits for residences, too.

Built-Up Roofing

Built-up roofing (BUR) is essentially a more heavy-duty version of asphalt shingle roofing. Both are made of asphalt, for instance.

But BUR isn’t layered like shingles. Instead, a single sheet of asphalt is laid across the entire roof. Then, several more layers are laid on top of this.

The end result is an extremely durable, weatherproof roof that’s as hardy as a paved street. In fact, you can actually walk around or set up patio furniture on it if you wish. BUR is very affordable and will last up to 20 years.

Be warned, though, that the installation is very inconvenient. It actually is quite similar to paving a street.

This means a lot of noise and sticky, smelly tar. You might not be able to inhabit the building while this is going on.

Modified Bitumen Roofing

Modified bitumen roofing is very similar to BUR. In fact, it was designed to be a superior alternative to the same technology.

This roofing system is laid the same way as BUR. But it’s made from a lighter, more durable material (bitumen instead of tar). As such, it only requires two layers.

These roofs are also useable as an outdoor floor and are just as weatherproof as BUR. Plus, they are easier/less obnoxious to install and often less expensive, too. 

Thermoplastic Membrane (TPO) Roofs

TPO (Thermoplastic Polyolefin) roofing requires only one layer of a thin roofing membrane. Obviously, this means it’s very easy to install and extremely lightweight.

And, besides resisting wind and precipitation, it also resists bacterial growth and harmful UV rays. Plus, the material is recyclable when it comes time to replace your roof.

Thermoset Membrane (EPDM) Roofs

EPDM roofing is another type of weather-resistant roofing membrane. This type is made mostly of rubber and will also resist UV rays very well.

It is lightweight, affordable, and a very good insulator. Very hot weather can cause warping and other damage to the membrane, though. Regardless, it should last as much as 50 years before it needs replacing.

What Type of Roof Do You Need?

Now that you know your options, which roofing systems seem best for your needs? Hopefully, you can use this guide to answer this question. Furthermore, please share this post so it can benefit others as well.

Now, if you do still have questions, we’re here for you. Please contact us here to get a quote or if you need any additional information on roofing systems or services.

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