Types and Styles of Roofing Materials
The most common roofing options presented below cover more than 95 percent of all residential roofs in the United Kingdom, so unless you’ve got something unusual in mind like BiPV solar tiles – oh, wait, we’ve included those – or a vegetative green roof, the options you’re considering are likely discussed below.
Wooden Shingles and Shakes
This roofing material should last between 30 and 50 years. Wood shingles are typically made of fire-resistant woods such as cedar or redwood.
While they last longer than asphalt shingles, they are not as durable. Although they are fire-resistant (and can be sprayed with a fire retardant), they are not fireproof. Wood shingles and shakes are also prone to cracking, so keep your eye out for a manufacturer with a good hail rating.
When it comes to energy efficiency, wood is a natural insulator—wood shingles are naturally about two times as efficient as asphalt shingles. And because they’re 100% natural, asphalt shingles are one of the most sustainable roofing materials on the market.
Wood Shingles and Shakes
Wood delivers a natural dose of beauty to any roof. Cedar, redwood, cypress, and pressure-treated pine shingles and shakes are available.
How are wood shingles and shakes different?
Wood shingles are machine-cut and feature cleaner edges and a smooth surface to produce a more uniform appearance.
Wood shakes are hand-cut from blocks of wood, so have a more rustic appearance. They’re thicker too, so slightly more expensive than wood shingles.
Pros and Cons
The advantages of wood shingles and shakes are:
Wood has a natural beauty that ranges from rustic shakes to handsome, neat shingles
Cedar and redwood contain oils that make them naturally resistant to moisture and insects
Treated wood shingles have a Class A fire rating
They can last 5 to 10 years longer than asphalt, which makes them competitively priced with asphalt over their lifespan
Wood has an insulation value twice that of asphalt shingles (but your home’s insulation levels are far more important than the R-value of the roofing)
Many shakes and shingles are made from salvaged trees – those that have fallen over from age or toppled by a storm
Wood is recyclable into wood chips, mulch, or compost
They enhance a range of architectural styles including Tudor, Victorian, Cape Cod, bungalow, and cabin/cottage
Keep these potential disadvantages in mind:
Non-treated materials have a Class C fire rating, but wood cedar shingles and shakes are also available as a more-costly treated option
Untreated wood shakes and shingles are high maintenance – they need to be cleaned consistently to prevent the growth of algae or moss, and debris needs to be cleared to allow the wood to breathe
While DIY installation is possible if you have a good experience, faults in the installation can lead to quick deterioration of the roof which often includes serious leaks
Staining of the shingles and shakes might occur as natural factors cause tannins to be released from the wood
While wood is quite durable, repairs will be expensive if they are required