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Classic Roofing Styles and Alternatives

Thanks to OldHouseWeb.com for letting us share this helpful video guide. In this video, Mark Clement, Practical Contractor for OldHouseWeb.com, introduces different types of roofing that can enhance a roof restoration project.

The earliest roofs in the U.S. were typically constructed with either sod or thatch. "I don't know where you'll find those much past Plimoth Plantation in Massachusetts," Mark quips. In the southeastern and southwestern portion of the country, interlocking tiles made of terra cotta clay or concrete are a popular, durable, and heavy choice that recreates the classic look of Spanish architecture.

Around the northern tier of the country, you'll find wood and slate roofs. Among wood roofs, Eastern White Cedar is popular across the East coast while Western Red Cedar is often the go-to choice on the West coast. Natural slate roofs come from quarried, heavy slate, so houses featuring them must be built to withstand the weight.

One final popular roofing choice is the one under Mark's feet: the basic egg-crate style three-tab asphalt shingle. "This shingle roof has seen better days," he says, noting its tell-tale black streaks of weather damage. Modern shingles offer a more architectural look, with a more varied shade and texture that's a step up from the flat, featureless three-tab variety.

This video demonstrates how modern roofing choices can offer a range of benefits over traditional matierals both in terms of aesthetics and affordability. Synthetic slate roofing offers the look of quarried slate without the weight and expense. Some luxury houses feature the clean lines of steel roofing, while today's basic shingles are an improvement over old styles.

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Asphalt Shingle Roofing

Asphalt Shingle Roofing

Asphalt shingles are the most commonly used roofing material in North America mainly because they are economical and versatile, work well on steep-sloped roofs, are sunlight and weather resistant, require little-to-no maintenance and are reasonably priced. In addition, asphalt shingles are also easy to cut, fasten, and fit, as well as being compatible with many different kinds of flashing and edging products.

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