Understanding the Roofing Options for Your Home

Flat versus pitched. That’s an essential roofing decision you need to make when building a home. Your choice of roof should match the style of your home, but quality and longevity are even more important to consider when deciding on a roof.

Once you decide between a flat or pitched roof, there are even more choices. There are several options of each type, and each has its own pros and cons. Here’s an overview of some of the top roofing options:

Flat TPO roof system

TPO (Thermoplastic polyolefin) is a single-ply roofing membrane method that is energy efficient and resists motion, thermal shock, ozone, and algae. As demand increases for heat reflective and energy efficient roofing systems, TPO single ply roofing provides exceptional resistance to ultraviolet, ozone, and chemical exposure. The material is seamed on your roof with a high heat tool that welds it together, so that it creates a single sheath that covers your entire roof.

Tar and Gravel system

Tar and gravel have been used on flat roofs for decades. This type of roof consists of layers of asphalt and fiberglass mats that are fused together using molten asphalt and covered with gravel. Some of the gravel gets embedded in the asphalt, and some remains loose on the roof surface. With regular maintenance, a tar and gravel roof has a life expectancy of about 15 to 20 years in the New Mexico climate. No matter how durable tar and gravel roofs are, leaks can still occur.

If you already have a tar and gravel roof, it’s possible to modify it to a pitched roof. However, structural changes will need to be made, so you need a skilled professional to do the work.

Pitched Tile Roof

There are a lot of Spanish tile roofs in the Southwest, providing years of longevity. There are many styles to choose, from flat to S curved, and everything in between. Most in this market choose an S-curved tile. The materials also range from clay to concrete. Clay tends to be 3-4 times more expensive than concrete with the same look. Slate is a beautiful look as well, but large roofs can make blending the tile very problematic, making your roof look splotchy. The only way to combat this is to lay all of the roof out on the ground, and try and blend before it goes up. This becomes costly in the install, and product itself is very expensive as well.

The key to natural material for your roof is not to put any maintenance items on your roof, like air conditioners or swamp coolers. As your maintenance/repair folks walk around, your tile will be broken, obviously causing issues. Venting is also a main concern, as the architect needs to provide for plenty of ventilation so that heat can readily escape, so your utility bills are not a problem. Dark roofs can create an oven on your roof if not vented extremely well.

Pitched shingle roof

Flat, rectangular shingles are laid in progression, overlapping the joints below. Shingles can be wood, slate, metal, or asphalt. The pitched nature of a shingle roof allows for water runoff, and these roofs are highly durable. One downside is that storms can cause shingles to loosen or fall off, and leaks can occur. This type of roof might need ongoing repair.

Pitched metal roof

Metal roofs are a more cost-effective and long-lasting pitched roof option. A metal roof will resist cracking, shrinking, and erosion. It can withstand extreme weather conditions, including high heat. Residential metal roofs come in many designs to fit within your home’s style. Some manufacturers give a 50-year life span, which is very attractive to some home owners.

At John Mark Custom Homes, we take pride in educating our home builders every step of the way.