Types of Roofing

A roof (plural: roofs or rooves) is the top covering of a building that protects it against rain, snow, sunlight, and temperature extremes. It can be flat or pitched at an angle and constructed from a variety of materials.

Routine maintenance, like cleaning and inspection, can extend the lifespan of shingle roofs by ten or more years. Trimming overhanging trees to prevent abrasion and excessive shade is also important. Contact Helena Roofing now!

Shingles are one of the most popular roofing materials for houses, and for a good reason. They provide a decorative and sturdy roof covering that can withstand various weather conditions, including hail and high winds. They’re also fairly easy to install.

There are several different types of shingles, and each has its own unique style and properties. Asphalt shingles are the most common shingle type, and they come in both flat and dimensional varieties. These shingles are designed to last for up to 40 years, and they’re a great choice for homeowners who are looking for an affordable roof covering that will protect their home from the elements.

Felt shingles are another popular roofing material, and they offer some of the greatest visual variety available in shingle designs. For example, Katepal offers a wide range of layout styles for their felt shingles, including a honeycomb design that can give your home a futuristic look. Felt shingles are also a great choice for homeowners who want to give their homes a rustic charm.

Wooden shingles are another option, and they’re ideal for cottages and coastal houses. Their natural aesthetic and character can add a touch of coziness to any house, and they’re especially well-suited for traditional wooden-roof cottages and New England shingle houses.

Clay shingles are another excellent roofing option, and they’re especially effective for fire-resistant construction. They’re made from a simple recipe of clay and fire, and they have a naturally earthy look that can lend a rustic charm to any house. Clay shingles are also long-lasting, and they’re resistant to fire and water damage.

Composite or synthetic shingles are a relatively new type of shingle that combines the best qualities of several other materials. They’re designed to mimic the look of natural materials like slate or wood, and they can be combined with other roofing materials to create a more attractive appearance. Synthetic shingles are also designed to be stronger, more energy efficient, and less susceptible to weather elements than other shingle types.

A word of caution about shingles: The varicella-zoster virus that causes chickenpox can lurk in your body for decades, and it may become active again as you get older. When this happens, you’ll experience a painful blistery rash that looks very similar to the ones from childhood chickenpox.


Membrane roofs provide a continuous watertight covering to protect buildings from weather. They are often found on commercial properties that have flat or nearly flat roofs where shingles or other types of roofing would be less effective at performing their primary task of preventing water leaks. Typically, membrane roofs are constructed from rubber or plastic and can be heat-welded to create a strong bond that helps to prevent water from entering the building.

Thermoset membranes are made from synthetic rubber that has been heated and fully cured during production. This process gives the membrane a rigid shape and forms an incredibly heavy-duty bond that can last for decades when properly maintained. The most common type of thermoset membrane is ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM), although polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and neoprene can also be used.

Single-ply membranes are most commonly seen on flat roofs, but they are also used in tunnels that need to keep water out and the traffic and passengers inside. Large transportation tunnels for vehicle and rail traffic have to make their way under rivers or over mountains, so they need to be able to withstand the pressure of moving traffic and rainfall without leaking. Membrane is the preferred method for lining these tunnels since it offers a wide range of options that meet specific needs, from EPDM’s large sheet size to thermoplastics’ seam weldability.

Cellular membranes are selective barriers that allow some molecules through but block others. These membranes, which form the outer layer of all cells, separate a cell’s organelles from its environment and regulate what enters and leaves the cell. They are composed of a lipid bilayer that is fluid at physiological temperatures and gel-like at colder ones.

These membranes are able to control what goes in and out of a cell by using specialized proteins that can move molecules or ions across the membrane. They can also maintain concentration gradients between different materials, which is important for cell function.

Membranes can be recycled, but they are usually separated from other polymer waste before recycling can occur. This is because the membranes contain a variety of components that must be sorted in order to be repurposed, including different polymers and additives. This can be done through mechanical or chemical processing, depending on the type of polymer in the membrane. Mechanical processing involves breaking the membrane into smaller parts and then separating the polymers, while chemical recycling requires depolymerisation and degradation techniques that are specifically tailored to the type of polymer in question.


Roofing underlayment is the first line of defense against water intrusion and other elements that threaten the structural integrity of your roof. It lays underneath the shingles and is usually made of sheets of asphalt-saturated felt, rubberized asphalt or non-bitumen synthetic underlayment. It protects the deck from moisture and wind before and during the installation of the shingle layer. Whether your roof is a new installation or replacement, underlayment is essential for the long-term durability of your roof.

Choosing the right underlayment depends on your local climate and the type of roofing you’re using. For example, the hotter and drier your region is, the more you’ll want to use underlayment that prevents heat transfer and UV damage. Additionally, you might need to take into account the possibility of ice dams and snow accumulation that can lead to leakage.

A traditional and inexpensive choice for underlayment is asphalt felt, a waterproof material that consists of thick paper-like layers of recycled fibers. It is easy to cut with common tools and can be installed quickly. While asphalt felt doesn’t have an extremely high permeance rating, it changes its permeability as it absorbs or releases moisture, making it a smart vapor retarder. Asphalt felt underlayment is also a good choice for ventilation systems because it allows upward airflow.

In addition to protecting against rain, ice and snow, underlayment provides insulation and prevents condensation from damaging the roof structure. This feature can help reduce energy bills and save you money in the long run.

Most roofing contractors recommend choosing a synthetic underlayment for a shingle or tile roof. These products have higher tensile strength than felt, and they’re designed to resist tearing, mold growth and chemicals. They also have a lower permeance than asphalt felt, so they can be used under vented cathedral ceilings and in ventilated attics where downdrafts occur.

Synthetic underlayment is typically more expensive than asphalt felt underlayment, but it’s a great option for homeowners with an eye for green construction and energy efficiency. They are also resistant to temperature fluctuations, allowing the roof to expand and contract without causing damage. This is especially important in regions with harsh weather conditions that can cause expansion and contraction of the roof structure.


Flashing is made from durable materials that are expertly fitted to reinforce a roof’s most vulnerable areas. Without it, a roof would be unable to withstand rain, heavy winds, and the freeze-thaw sequences of winter. Flashing prevents water infiltration by directing it away from seams, joints, and openings in the roof system. It also protects the underlayment and underlying roofing materials from exposure to the elements.

Flashing comes in a variety of forms to accommodate different types of roofs and roof penetrations. Standard flashings are typically made from metal and galvanized to resist rusting. They are installed over the underlayment and under shingles on shingled roofs, and on top of panels on metal roofs.

Wall flashings are used to protect the walls of dormer windows and other protrusions on a roof. They are generally made from a narrow strip of metal that runs along the vertical edges of the wall and the roof. The upper edge of the flashing is fixed to the roof plane and the lower edge is fixed to the wall. This creates a waterproof barrier that prevents water from seeping into the joint.

Ventilation is important for a roof, and flashings help ensure that air can flow freely throughout the home. Specialized flashings are designed to fit particular vents, and they may feature a breathable membrane that reduces condensation and mold growth, or they may be made from a heat-trapping material that maintains warmer temperatures and prevents frost closure of the vent.

Chimney flashings are also common, and they protect the vulnerable intersection between a chimney and a roof. A chimney flashing is usually a long strip of metal that runs up the side of the chimney and across the roof surface. This flashing is then covered by a cap flashing that is secured to the chimney’s mortar joints.

Continuous flashing is a long piece of flashing that covers the entire length of a roof. It acts like an apron to carry water down and protect the underlying shingles. It is sometimes made from a single piece of metal, and it has built-in expansion joints to allow the home to expand and contract without damaging the flashing.