Roofing Basics

Roofing Akron is the outer covering of a building or other structure, protecting it from rain, snow, sunlight and extremes of temperature. Historically, roofs have been constructed in a wide variety of styles and materials.

Homeowners can add resale value to their homes by selecting the right roofing material. Roofing is also a labor-intensive and dangerous job, so it’s important for homeowners to understand the basics of roofing before taking on a new project.

The roofing materials used on a structure can add to or detract from its overall look and the value it brings to a home. There are a wide range of roof designs available, each intended to accomplish a specific function. Various roofing materials are available to suit different climates and regions. A variety of factors can influence the choice of roofing material including cost, durability and style.

Among the most attractive roofing materials are wood shakes and shingles. Both can last up to 50 years and offer a rustic, natural look. However, these are expensive and may not be a good choice in areas that experience high winds or wildfires. Wood can also be more prone to moisture and decay, making it an undesirable roofing material in coastal regions or for homes that are in the midst of a drought.

Metal roofing is another option that offers longevity, resistance to fire and durability. It is typically installed on newer homes, but it can be installed on older homes as well. It is also a great choice for homeowners that want to reduce their energy costs. Metal can reflect sunlight and keep a home cooler than other materials.

Clay tile is another popular roofing material. These can be left unglazed for a distinctive reddish-orange color or glazed to produce more modern shades and hues. Clay tiles are very durable and resistant to fire, water, wind and insects, and they are an excellent choice for desert or Southern coastal regions where salt air is present.

The basic construction of a roof begins with rafters or prefabricated trusses that span between columns built into load-bearing walls. The rafters or trusses are then sheathed with plywood or OSB. Older houses may have tongue and groove sheathing boards of 2-by-10s, while newer ones will have sheathing made of plywood or OSB with wide, 1-by-4 skip sheathing boards.

Rolled roofing is one of the cheapest options and is ideal for low-slope residential roofs or utilitarian buildings like sheds and workshops where appearances aren’t as important. It consists of long rolls of asphalt-impregnated felts topped with mineral granules. It is a great roofing material for cold climates but should be used in conjunction with a roof leak barrier, such as GAF WeatherWatch mineral-surfaced leak barriers.

Roofing Styles

There are many different roofing styles to choose from, each of which adds their own unique flair to a home’s design. Some roof styles are also better suited for certain climates than others, and choosing a style that isn’t compatible with your region’s weather conditions could leave your home susceptible to damage.

The gable roof is probably the first one that comes to mind when thinking of a residential roof, and for good reason. This simple roof type is shaped like a triangular pyramid and offers plenty of space for installing clerestory windows. This allows natural light to flood into the home and reduces electricity costs.

Another great option for homeowners looking to add a little extra flair to their homes is the gambrel roof. Sometimes referred to as barn-style roofs, these roofs have two sloped sides instead of four and offer extra room for storage or dormers. They are often found on farmhouses, rustic homes, and log cabins.

Gambrel roofs are similar to mansard roofs in several ways but feature two sloped sides rather than four. This helps them save on building materials and offers homeowners the opportunity to install a loft or attic area in their homes.

A flat roof isn’t as common as the other styles but still has a place in some homeowner’s hearts. This style of roof is ideal for a rooftop patio and even allows property owners to install Eco-friendly solar panels. However, this style of roof requires special roofing materials and is prone to leaks, so regular maintenance is crucial.

Finally, the skillion roof is a more modern style of roof that features a single flat surface. It’s not as attractive as other roofing styles and may require a lot of maintenance, but it can be an affordable choice for those looking to build or re-roof their homes.

Roofing Installation

The roof of any structure offers a unique challenge to the home improvement enthusiast. A roofing project requires a good deal of physical strength and stamina, not to mention the use of specialized tools. It’s not something that a homeowner should tackle without first getting some expert advice and doing some serious homework.

The most important consideration is what type of roofing system you want and need for your house. Once you’ve made that decision, find a professional contractor who has experience with your chosen roof. You’ll want to check references, state licenses and bonds, Better Business Bureau ratings and active certificates of liability and workers’ compensation insurance. It’s also a smart idea to ask your homeowners insurance agent whether your insurer has a preferred vendor list for roofers.

Most roofing contractors will start by removing any existing shingles and thoroughly inspecting the roof deck for damage. If the deck is weakened, it may need to be reinforced. Next, they’ll apply a layer of underlayment to protect the wood. This product is designed to prevent water from penetrating the shingles. The underlayment is nailed to the deck using a pattern that includes close nails along the edges and farther apart near the center.

Flashing, the material that prevents leaks around chimneys and where roof planes meet, should be applied at this point, too. Valleys, the areas where sloped sections of a roof meet and form a “V” shape, must be waterproofed as well. They are typically waterproofed with a rubber membrane called a valley flashing.

Roofing Maintenance

Regular roof inspections can help ensure that small problems don’t deteriorate and lead to expensive repair bills down the road. A roofing professional can make sure that the shingles are intact, the flashing around chimneys and other roof penetrations is intact and sealed, that shingle vents remain unobstructed, and that downspouts are clear so water drains properly away from the house. It’s also a good idea to have tree branches trimmed so they don’t hang over the roof and cause damage in storms or natural disasters.

Also, proper attic ventilation is important to prevent heat and moisture from damaging shingles. This can be done by making sure that vents are not obstructed and that insulation is not blocking airflow. Finally, a clean gutter system is essential to prevent clogs and allow water to flow freely off the roof.


A roof takes a beating from the elements — rain, hail, bitter cold, intense heat, and strong sunlight. It’s no wonder that it’s a significant investment for homeowners. But with the right roofing material, you can ensure your home will continue to stand tall and look great for years to come.

As the roofing industry continues to recover from what one executive described as a “perfect storm,” it is important for contractors to juggle customers’ expectations with product availability and lead times. When possible, offer only the options you have in stock to avoid wasting valuable time with customers that may not be able to complete their project on schedule. Additionally, consider offering only color and style options rather than brands to reduce the number of options you have to share.

Sustainability continues to slowly make its way into the roofing industry. Increasingly, specifiers are asking for more information about where materials are made and what they contain as well as correlating those facts to carbon footprints and the environment. This, coupled with the ongoing supply chain crisis, has led to slower reroofing demand growth.

However, the market continues to trend toward higher-value products that are perceived to deliver better performance and a superior curb appeal, despite lower market demand. This, combined with an increase in solar energy incentives – including sales and property tax exemptions in many states – should help support continued growth in the market for roofing products.

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