When we say roofing material, we refer to the surface layer on the roof of a building. It can be self-supporting or supported by something underneath it. Sometimes, it is placed on top of an underlayment, which is a secondary water-proof material. The roofing material, essentially, is the one providing shelter to the structure from outdoor elements. There are numerous choices of roofing materials available. Some are natural products while others are commercially produced. People often choose depending on the style of the building and its geographical location.
The most common roofing materials out there are known to be weatherproof so that the roof can be exposed to the harshest outdoor condition without any problem. Some of these are:
- Thatch – This is a natural material made of plant stalks bundled in overlapping layers. It usually consists of locally sourced plants, so it differs per region. For instance, parts of Europe such as England and France use wheat straw while coastal areas such as Scotland and Ireland use seagrass and water reed. In Eastern Europe, rye is the thatch material of choice while Eastern Asia uses rice straw.
- Shingle – This is the term used for various roofing materials that are arranged in overlapping sections. The US and Australia commonly display wood shingles in their colonial architecture. Split wood shingles, which look rougher than the usual style, are called shakes. Meanwhile, Australia, Spain, and Wales are partial to slate shingles. Other materials used for shingles are asphalt, rubber, asbestos, stone slab, and metal.
- Tile – Ceramic tiles are very popular and attractive. They actually date back to ancient times and were commonly used by the Greeks and Romans. Other cultures that typically used tiles on their roof are Dutch, British, and Indian.
- Membrane – Like shingle, this can be made of various materials, usually something technologically advanced such as thermoset, thermoplastics, liquid roofing, asphalt roll, bitumen, etc. This is a roofing material that comprises large sheets fused at the joints to produce a continuous surface.
- Concrete or fibre cement – This is usually the roofing of choice for buildings in industrial or agricultural settings. Fibre is necessary to reinforce the material.
- Metal – This is probably the most common roofing material used nowadays. Corrugated galvanised iron or galvanised steel is often the most practical choice in different regions of the world. It is typically low-cost, versatile, and very durable.
Roofs come in all shapes, sizes, styles, and materials. If you’re ever in the market for roofing materials, it certainly helps to know what your choices are.