Not only does a good roof shield against the elements, it says a lot about your house. A roof should blend with your style of architecture but not dominate it. Fortunately, today there are a wide variety of quality roofing materials that meet most budget and design requirements. Pricing depends on the roofing material, features such as design, color, texture, thickness and its guaranteed life. The owner must weigh the benefits of long life and style against material and installation costs. In addition these and other factors influence the success of a roofing material in helping a design look “authentic” to a particular style.
Starting with timeless natural materials such as cedar shake and slate, other options include concrete, and clay tiles, as well as metal roofing. Many options are now available that imitate the real thing quite convincingly and help reduce costs, if that is an issue. Whether your home is Tuscan, English cottage, French Country, Italian or an American classic, attention should be paid to determine the best “look” for that particular style home. Putting the wrong roof on the right house can have disastrous results. A little research would be well advised before deciding. (See our Blog on “Getting Familiar With an Authentic “Classic” Style”)
With today’s emphasis on “Green” building, cedar shakes are a popular roofing material with environmental benefits attributed to using wood products. Shakes also have precedence in Arts and Crafts as well as Old World residential architecture. Synthetic shakes are available from a number of sources in a variety of colors and styles and come with up to a 50 year warranty in many cases.
What type of roofing is right for your design? The French, English and American classics are well suited for natural slate which has precedence with all three. Slate is one of the most durable roofing materials with benefits including longevity, appearance, durability and energy conservation. If weight or cost are an issue, there are a number of good synthetic slate materials that convincingly mimic natural slate and are fire and impact resistant.
As an alternative to natural slate, concrete tiles offer some “green” benefits according to the manufacturer such as “a 50% reduction in the amount of heat penetrating the conditioned space” and “a 225 reduction in energy consumption” in addition to a variety of styles to imitate natural slate, wood shingle, and clay tile.
Authentic clay tile roofing is often the roofing material of choice for European or Old World houses. Some clay tile roofs actually are available with an aged look to contribute to the “Old World” look you hope to achieve. Some clay tile roofs are good for at least 100 years and actually look better as they age.
From lightweight clay tile to “cool” roofs, clay tile roofs have many benefits. Clay tile roofs can help you save on energy costs and reduce heat stress, protecting your roof underlayment from failure.
Another modern roofing material is the composite shingle manufactured to simulate natural slate. These asphalt shingles come in a wide variety if shapes, color and styles. The most popular are the “Designer” or “Architectural” shingles emulate the look of slate and other natural materials.
Metal roofing is lightweight and re-recyclable and comes in a multitude of profiles and colors. The standing seam metal roof is predominant in many coastal areas of the eastern United States and made famous with the terracotta color roofs of Charleston and the “Low country”. It also is available as a metal shingle in imitations of “slate”, “tile” and “wood”.
Properly selected and installed, metal roofing can add beauty to any building. Some, such as Follansbee’s TCS II, offer soft-looking, protective patina that’s developed after exposure to the elements. Yet, the metal is not degraded by heat or UV light and never needs to be painted. TCS II is oxygen reactive, so the patina is formed by exposure to even pollution-free air in rural areas and on coastal breezes.
For an authentic classic English Cottage “Old World” look, you may want to consider thatched roofing. It offers timeless appeal and is applicable to many English cottages.
For instance, our English Cottage Classics offer an assortment of homes that would be a great opportunity to use a thatched roof. Our Fireside Cottage with a thatched roof is a good example. Some manufacturers such as “Endureed“, have synthetic thatched roofing materials that they claim are some of the finest available, with “benefits unmatched by inferior synthetic thatch products.” Their specs claim that their materials have “a Class A fire rating, will not attract insects, rodents or birds, and can withstand a 110 MPH wind with no maintenance required.” This material is manufactured in the United States and the price compares to natural thatch.
These are just some of the shingles, styles and sources available. Hopefully this blog has made you more aware of the choices and unlimited possibilities available to you.
For additional material that may be of interest, be sure to visit New South Classics at www.newsouthclassics.com
Bruce Eason, AIA