Pitched Roof Service
Almost every roof you see is a pitched roof. The slope of a roof is generally expressed as the amount of rise (vertical increase in inches) for every foot of horizontal distance. For example, if a roof rises 6 inches when moving horizontally 12 inches, that is noted as a 6:12 pitch, meaning it goes up 6 inches in every 12 inches of horizontal measurement.
Typical roof pitches are either 4:12 or 5:12, since they drain well, are economical in material usage and safer to walk on. Older homes tend to have steeper pitches, often exceeding 9:12.
Shingles, tile, shake, slate and metal are all excellent options for pitched roofs. Shingles tend to be the most economical to install, followed by tile, shake, slate and finally metal.
Why is weight an issue? Well, different types of roof materials weigh more or less, and the trusses and roof sheeting need to be designed to hold at least the amount of roofing material installed on the roof. Metals are generally the lightest weight, followed by shingles, then shakes, slate and tile. Metal roofing may weigh as little as one pound per square foot, while tile may weigh as much as 12 pounds per square foot. This has a significant impact on roofing installation costs, since the roof structure will cost more if it is built to hold more weight. Incidentally, if remodeling, this is an important issue to consider. Many older homes have trusses intended to hold the weight of shingles. If roofing tiles are to be installed, extensive remodeling may be required to support the weight of tile. Also, sand-cast tile (hand-made and sun-dried) acts like a sponge when wet, soaking up the moisture first, then releasing it once beyond absorbency capacity. Wood shakes also retain water. Water retention adds weight to the roof system.
How long do you want your roof system to last? Shingles may last anywhere from 10 to 40 years in the Phoenix heat, while shakes dry out and may become a fire hazard within a few years of installation. Slate is very durable, but subject to cracking if walked upon. Concrete tile will last for decades without a problem, necessitating only replacement of the underlayment over time. Metal roofs are also very durable.
Material selection will affect the cost of your roof. Shingles tend to be the most economical option, followed by tile, shake, slate and metal roofs. All are excellent products. There are trade-offs though. Factors are weight, ease of installation, heat transference and appearance. Initial cost is important, but should not be the deciding factor in roof material selection.
Roof maintenance can be an issue with any roof system. The ideal roof system requires little or no maintenance. A properly installed system on a pitched roof will require little maintenance over the course of its service life, since in the Phoenix area we do not have to contend with either snow or ice. The sun, however, will affect the life span of the roof system. Wood shakes dry out and become brittle, shingles will dry out and curl, tile and metal underlayments crumble. The critical issue is the span of time from installation to re-roof or extensive maintenance.
A pitched roof is an important component in the look of a structure. People want their home or commercial property to look attractive. Material type and color plays a significant part in the look of a property. There are price points within each type of material, depending on manufacturer, warranty, color and installation technique.
Imagine what a black shingle does on a hot day. It transmits heat into your attic, which results in your air conditioner working overtime to compensate. Conversely, little heat transmits through a wood shake. Even a tile roof can be energy efficient, if installed over a double-batten system. Metal transmits heat, but also cools off quickly once the sun goes down. Although a roof system may transmit heat, this can be off-set by installation of rigid insulation board beneath the roof system or by installing additional insulation and ventilation in the attic space.
Most roofs do not have sufficient attic ventilation. Consider your own attic area. If you were to go up there, would the temperature be the same as the outside air temperature? In most cases, it would be much higher. Higher attic temperatures indicate a lack of proper ventilation. By simply increasing the amount of ventilation in the attic space, you can reduce the attic temperature and corresponding heat gain in the structure beneath. Incidentally, a lower attic temperature will also help in preservation of the underlayment (water barrier) beneath your roof system.
More questions? Please call us to have one of our estimators meet with you and assess your situation. We are here to help you protect and enhance the value of your property.
Significant factors to consider in roof material selection:
- Initial cost
- Extended cost
- Energy efficiency