Roof styles architecture

April 22, 2011
Mission Prarie Vassar Campus

roofing and chimneys illustrationEvery building has an architectural style. From American to Gothic Revival to Pueblo, the unique architectural style of a building is composed of specific details and architectural elements that, together, form the style. While different design elements can be associated with more than one architectural style, certain roofing materials are associated with specific styles.

If you are searching for a new roof or simply enjoy learning about architecture, it would not hurt to familiarize yourself with the following six roofing materials and their matching architectural styles.

1. Asphalt shingles

This roofing material is one of the most widely used roofing materials in North America. Coming in a variety of colors, cuts, sizes, and shapes, these shingles are chosen for their practicality, and for how adaptable they are to all kinds of architectural arrangements and traditions. For the most part, asphalt shingles are a default in northern states, standing up to extreme temperatures in winter, and enduring the summer heat in those climates as well.

2. Ceramic tile roofs

While these tiles are one of the most popular roof materials today, they are also one of the oldest forms known to humanity. These types of tiles are best for those houses in Mission, Spanish, and Mediterranean styles. Clay and concrete tiles are oftentimes seen in the American Southwest as they accent and add character to adobe and stucco homes. Another reason that tile roofs are popular in this Southwest location is they deflect the hot sun away from the house allowing the interior to cool.

Typically these tile roofs are found in the Mediterranean-Revival-influenced architecture of Florida and California. Barrel tiles are the most popular ceramic tiles on the market and some can be shaped like thick shingles while others tend to look more like thin slates.

asphalt shingles roof contractor3. Cedar shakes and shingles

Known for their rustic and natural appeal, cedar shakes and shingles are typically associated with homes in the Pacific Northwest and Colorado where that species is plentiful. They perfectly match homes that are built with wood or reside in a forest or mountain as their character is similar to that of those settings.

Cedar shingles can also be found on traditional Georgian style homes as the weathered look helps enhance the classic lines of this house style. For rustic style homes, cedar shakes are a go-to option with their more rough-hewn appearance. Cedar shingles are more flexible in some ways, being more tailored and applied to a greater range of architectural styles. But both include the natural advantages that cedar offers; natural resistance to moisture and UV rays, and to insect damage. Cedar also ages beautifully, from a coppery gold to a silver gray over time

4. Metal shingles

Metal roofing materials were typically found in on barns, sheds, and other agricultural buildings in long sheets. Nowadays, with the long-lasting durability, metal shingle roofs are used on Billerica and Lexington style houses in addition to houses in snowy places among contemporary styled houses.

Metal roofs range in style and quality from galvanized low-end to high-end copper. Very often they are made from recycled metals and offer long-term performance due to their hardy natures.

5. Slate roofing

Slate roofs offer an astonishing beauty that is difficult to compete with visually speaking. While being the most expensive of common roofing materials, slate can be found on regal homes and high value property, adding to the already alluring nature of these home styles.

Slate roofs are less common in the average North American context, possibly due to their weight – slate is a very heavy material. But, slate roofs in some cases have lasted for centuries, a testament to how reliable a material slate can be over a long period of time.

6. Green roofs

Some might say that a green roof is a fairly new form of roofing material. But, in some parts of the world, a house covered in vegetation, turf specifically, has been a key means of keeping warmth in the winter, and keeping heat out in the summer for generations. Now in parts of North America, the green roof is used on municipal and commercial buildings with architectural features of all kinds, and for these very same reasons.

For residential settings, green roofs are most often used when the substrate is flat, coupled with pebbles and allowing for proper drainage just like any other flat roof. But with a green roof, rainwater is filtered and can be made a part of a rainwater collection system. This is another reason that green roofs are thought of as being environmentally conscious.

Look and practicality

While most of us think that roofs are an afterthought, they actually contribute to the overall look and style of a house as important architectural elements. They also add the first line of defense for your home as a whole. That’s look and practicality all in one.

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