Choosing The Right Roof


When selecting a roof system, durability and cost of course head the list. But keep in mind; aesthetics and architectural style are important as well. The right roof system for you is one that balances all these considerations.

The following roofing products are commonly used for steep-slope structures:

Shingle Roofs:

Asphalt Shingles

atlas_pinnacle_gray_smThere are many residential shingle manufacturers and thousands of products used in the United States. Most of the major manufacturers make two different types of shingle products.  If you don’t see yours, take a minute to explore the other sections of our Roofing Products section.

The most basic and common type shingle is called the 3-Tab or 20-year shingle. These have been around for many years and the least expensive and easiest to install of all shingle types.  Since it’s made with 3-tabs, its name is derived from the shape.  It’s also called a 20-Year shingle that corresponds with its warranty period.

3tabdrawn1The 3-tab is a relatively flat shingle without much definition or color variation.  Although it’s an economy shingle, it provides many years of serviceable life.  3-tabs are produced in about 8 to 10 colors, limiting the choices if you’re looking for a unique look.  There are a few manufacturers who produce a 25-year, 3-tab shingle but it looks much the same as the 20-year product.

Laminated shingles, also called a 30-year or Architectural shingle, offer a completely different look for roofing.  Laminates are constructed in two parts, giving the appearance of a deeper and thicker shingle.  They are heavier than their 20-year counterparts and they provide a much nicer look.

laminatedrawn1Often described as 3-Dimensional, these shingles are commonly made in 30 and 40 year warranty lines.  Laminates are made in many more colors than 20-year shingles.  The colors of granulation are also more varied and special effects called Shadow banding give them much more depth.

Laminates are tougher than 3-tabs and resist wind damage better than 3-tabs.  We highly recommend this type of shingle. If you currently have 3-tabs on your home, the small cost of this upgrade is perhaps the best investment to protect your home and increase it’s curb appeal!

Fiberglass Shingles

asphaltshingleThere are two kinds of asphalt shingles on the market: Fiberglass shingles and organic-mat shingles. Both are made with asphalt, but fiberglass shingles use a fiberglass reinforcing mat, while the organic kind use a cellulose-fiber mat derived from wood. The organic mat of traditional shingles has to be saturated with soft asphalt, then coated with a harder asphalt for protection; the fiberglass shingles need only the hard asphalt coating. Fiberglass shingles are thinner, lighter, easier to lug around, and carry a better fire rating than organic shingles, but organic-mat shingles are tougher and stay more flexible in cold weather.

 Organic Shingles

wood-shake-shingles3These are cellulose-fiber (i.e., wood) base that are saturated with asphalt and coated with colored mineral granules. Wood shingles and shakes are made from cedar, redwood, southern pine and other woods; their natural look is popular in California, the Northwest and parts of the Midwest. Wood shingles are machine sawn; shakes are handmade and rougher looking. A point to consider: Some local building codes limit the use of wood shingles and shakes because of concerns about fire resistance. Many wood shingles and shakes only have Class C fire ratings or no ratings at all. However, Class A fire ratings are available for certain wood shingle products that incorporate a factory-applied, fire-resistant treatment.

Fire Resistance Ratings

An asphalt shingle’s ability to resist fires, like most other roofing materials, is categorized by Class A, B or C. Class A signifies the most fire-resistant; Classes B and C denote less fire resistance. Generally, most fiberglass shingles have Class A fire ratings, and most organic shingles have Class C ratings.


eagle1Tile-clay or concrete-is a durable roofing material. Mission and Spanish-style round-topped tiles are used widely in the Southwest and Florida, and flat styles also are available to create French and English looks. Tile is available in a variety of colors and finishes. Tile is heavy. If you are replacing another type of roof system with tile, you will need to verify that the structure can support the load.

Metal Roofing

roof-metal26 Ga. Lap Loc metal panel roofing is extreamly durable.

Combining beauty and durability with affordability, CLASSIC RIB is our most popular style of metal roofing for residential applications.

Available in a wide range of attractive colors and paint finishes as well as bare galvalume, our classic rib metal roofing panels carry a 45 year warranty guaranteeing that your roof’s beauty won’t fade with time.

It is a low profile panel which provides 36 inch width coverage, has a 3/4 inch high trapezoidal rib on 9 inch centers, and is available in 26 gauge. Recommended minimum roof slope is 2:12.

We custom cut classic rib panels to meet the exact specifications of your roof; saving valuable installation time. Minimum factory cut length is 5 feet, and maximum recommended panel length is 45 feet.

Some key features of classic rib metal roofing are:
· Applies over open framing or solid substrate
· Can be applied over existing roof materials, eliminating disposal costs
· Reduces maintenance
· Increases your home’s value
· Lightweight – less than 1/3 the weight of asphalt
· Can’t rot, crack, split, or break
· Fire resistant for added protection

Available in a variety of beautiful colors, you’ll love the look of your home with classic rib metal roofing panels.

 The following roofing products are commonly used for flat roof structures:

Polyurethane Foam

metal-using-foamPolyurethane foam is sprayed directly onto the roof, where it “foams up” and solidifies before a protective coating is applied. Because of its flexibility, foam is especially useful for roofs with unusual shapes or configurations although foam is mostly applied to regular flat roofs. Foam has a number of unique advantages over other types of flat roofing systems. For one, it protects against thermal shock and it can greatly reduce your air conditioning bills.

Built-up Roofs (Tar and Gravel)

built_up_roofBuilt-up roofing, BUR, for short, is what many people call “hot tar roofing.” A century old, time tested roofing method, built-up roofs are made of three or four overlapping layers of asphalt felts fused together with hot asphalt. 

bur_layers1Built up roofs must be protected from weather, sunlight and foot traffic by some kind of surfacing material — gravel, a mineral granule covered top layer (a cap sheet), a smooth coat of hot asphalt or a special reflective coating.


Modified Bitumen

modified_bitumenModified bitumen’s, like built up roofing, are made of reinforced asphalt impregnated felts. But, unlike BUR, the asphalt in the felts is modified with plastic or rubber polymers (hence the name) to improve its elasticity, durability, and overall performance. Because of the added polymers, modified bitumen is often applied in a single layer with overlapping seams. They can be “glued” to the roof with hot asphalt or an adhesive, or by using propane torches to melt the asphalt underside. Some modified bitumen requires protective surfacing materials, usually mineral granules or a liquid coating.

Single Ply

tpo-membrane-commercial-bldgSingle ply membranes are made of rubber, plastic or a hybrid of the two. As the name implies, single ply membranes are applied in a single layer. Installation is simple: the membrane is rolled out, the seams between sheets are heat welded, chemically welded or glued together, and the membrane is attached to the roof with fasteners (usually screws/flat plates), ballast (usually rocks), or adhesive.

free 1Whichever roofing system you choose, workmanship is critical on low slope systems. Contact Shew’s Top Quality Roofing and Guttering for all your roofing needs.  Residential or Commercial.  Click for a free estimate or call TODAY at 918-266-7946


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