Roofing Helper Title
The New Roof Buyer's Guide

Composite and Tile Roofs

Composite Roofs

"Composite tiles" are also known as fiberglass shingles, architectural shingles and asphalt shingles. Composite roofs have become very popular and this was a leading option for us. They are strong and versatile in terms of style. We found out they contain fiberglass reinforcing mesh and are available in different colors and designs that simulate the look of traditional wood shingles. We did hear that composite roofs can have problems with venting, flashing (meaning sheet metal installed at junction points in the roof such as chimneys or pipes) and moss control. When searching for a contractor, we looked for someone with particular expertise in this area. Composite roofs do not need much maintenance, but should be inspected periodically. It's also fine to walk on composite tile roofs without risk of damaging them. Composite roofs are also a budget-friendly choice.

Tile Roofs

Tile roofs are another long-lasting roofing material option. Tile roofs have been used for thousands of years and, like metal roofs, are valued for their fireproof qualities. We live in an area where the Spanish-style red tile roof is very common, but that was not a fit for our house. However, we learned that tile is also versatile in terms of color and style. Roofing tiles can even have the appearance of wood or slate. Like steel roofs, tile roofs are strong and resistant to fire, high winds, hail and earthquakes.

Spanish Clay Tile Roof
Many people choose Spanish style clay tile roofs for their looks, but they also provide the benefits of being fire resistant and energy efficient.

On the sustainability side of things, tile roofs do not deplete any natural resources and the materials they contain can also be recycled. They also diminish heat transfer and can lessen energy costs by helping to insulate a home. Tile roofs can be functional for up to 50 years or more.

We learned there are two types of roofing tiles: interlocking and overlapping. Interlocking tiles are designed in pairs so that the "lip" of one tile locks onto a second tile and thereby secures those two tiles together. The pairs are also generally nailed to the roof structure. Overlapping tiles, which can also function in pairs, generally do not have any sort of "lip" and must be in place. (Yes, tiles can be nailed without breakage using special roofing nails that have larger heads and sharper points than regular nails).

Our research revealed that tile roofs claim to need little maintenance. Apparently, it is usually the fastening system that is securing the tiles that fails and requires replacement. Keeping the gutters and downspouts clean can help prolong the longevity of a tile roof. We spoke with one contractor who also advised us to install wire mesh to cover downspouts or even the whole gutter to prevent debris and water from piling up. We don't have an easily accessible attic, but inspecting the inside of the roof from the attic for stains or leaks, especially after rainstorms or hail, can help reveal problems that need to be addressed before they turn into something far more serious.

Tile roofs can be delicate and prone to breakage if treated carelessly; specifically, walking on a tile roof can damage it. Tiles will crack if too much weight is placed upon them. This was an important consideration for us because we have four sons and they sometimes climb up onto the roof to run around. We knew if that happened with a tile roof we would have a lot of broken tiles. Aside from kids, workmen sometimes need to go up onto the roof for various reasons. We learned that the tile roofs can be protected from breakage by foot traffic when a piece of carpet or foam is laid on the roof with a piece of plywood over it. It is also important to limit walking on the roof to certain areas. The edges are more fragile and should be avoided. It is best to walk on the "butt" of the tile that overlaps with adjacent tiles, walking parallel to the roof's ridge.

Tile roofs can be very beautiful and ornate; however, they too can be an expensive option.

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Buyer's Guide Contents
How Roofs Work
Causes of Roof Problems
Composite and Tile Roofs
Metal Roofs
Roof Price Comparison
Roofing Estimates
Roof Shopping Tips
Our New Roof Installation
The Finished Product
Roof Replacement Checklist
Do-it-Yourself Roof Repairs

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