Most residential structures need roofs to be complete. Roofs provide shade and insulation. They keep the rain out. Roofs have many different styles and materials used in their construction. A roof is a key element in the architecture and style of a building. Roofs need occasional repair and replacement. See links under "external links" for calculators to estimate the cost of replacing a roof.
Phrases using "roof":
- raise the roof - to make a lot of noise
- a roof over your head - being able to live in a home
Roofs come in many different styles and shapes. They can be flat or very pointed. A flat roof with sufficient support can be part of the living space -- a patio or deck. The roof also influences whether and what type of attic a structure will have.
The materials can vary from the oldest thatch or clay roofs to modern tiles which are designed to change color to absorb or reflect light and heat depending on the temperature, making the home more energy efficient. See the next section for more on materials.
Styles vary with the type of home, the region, the architect, etc. A flat roof can be damaged by the weight of a heavy snowfall. Frank Lloyd Wright and the prairie architectural style tends toward flatter roofs, emphasizing horizontal lines.
Different materials that can be used for roofing:
The common materials will vary regionally -- based on availability and also appropriateness to the local conditions.
Roofs occasionally need care or repair. Storms, especially hail, can damage a roof. Trees or branches that fall on a house or knawing animals can create holes. Ice forming in cracks or holes can create larger gaps. While these events will speed up the need for replacement, even with normal wear and tear, most roofs will eventually need replacement or refurbishment. For many roofs the old rule-of-thumb was that they would need replacement or retiling approximately every 10 years, but new materials and processes are extending that.
Good maintenance may also extend the life of a roof, or at least reduced the need for major repairs. Make sure the gutters are clean and in good repair. This is a good task for your spring and fall seasonal checklists.
Missing, loose (flapping) or broken tiles are an indication that a roof repair or replacement will be in your budget soon. When selecting a contractor and the type of work or roof, consider both the short term and long term costs (see Total Cost of Ownership). Some costs and calculators are linked in the "References" section below.
- HowStuffWorks? on "How House Construction Works: Roof"
- HowStuffWorks? on "How to Repair a Leaky Roof"