New technologies in roofing and construction materials

Roofs have come a long way from the original grass roofs or animal skins that were often used in primitive shelters. These roofs were not waterproofed and often allowed small animals to enter the home; the clay tile roof developed around 5,000 years ago was a significant improvement. Although thatch and wood roofs were not an improvement, they became popular later due to their low cost. Asphalt and metal roofs later became the low-cost alternative for the vast majority of the population. Today, there are new options for roofing and building materials that are eco-friendly and beautiful.

Fiberglass felt underlayment materials have greatly added to roof protection without adding additional weight. Although the asphalt shingles and proper roof slope provided excellent protection during normal types of storms, winds often carried water under the shingles. The new reinforced felt underlayment provides additional protection for the wood underneath from these types of storms.

Newer designs take local temperatures and weather conditions into account. Currently, there is no “one size fits all” construction on roofs. Even the color varies by location – lighter roofs are much cooler in warmer areas, and darker tiles are more appropriate for cold 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 fleece systems. These systems are far superior to flat roof construction in the past and combined 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 collect the water that flows from their roof after a storm, both for the garden and for personal use. The material used for these roofs should provide the least amount of debris and chemicals. For those who want a roof that is impervious to heavy rain and high winds, adding hurricane straps, deflecting ridge vents, and wind and impact rated shingles or metal roofs with vertical joints may be the answer. However, putting the extra protection on a roof where there is little breeze and even less rain wastes valuable resources, depending on the probability of a storm. Today, more science is devoted to the selection of roof styles and types than ever before in our history. Qualified contractors not only need to know the latest materials and techniques, but they must also be familiar with the weather patterns of the area they serve and the roofing and construction materials that are best suited to that area.

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