The kind of roofing with covering that composes of individual overlapping elements is shingle roofing. The elements of shingle roofing are described as flat, rectangular in shape, and are laid in courses from the bottom edge of the roof up, with every successive course overlaps the joints before it. There are several different materials that made up the shingles, and these are wood, slate, flagstone, metal, plastic, and composite materials like fiber cement and asphalt shingles. Ceramic roof tiles, or simply called tiles, are the dominant materials that are used in Europe and other parts in Asia.
A building’s aesthetics is very important where patterns, textures and colors are concern, and since roof shingles are highly visible, they contribute greatly to this aspect of a building. The materials of roof shingles are usually available in your locality, just like other building materials on vernacular buildings. Since the material affects the pitch of the roof and its construction method, the type of shingle is being considered before construction begins. While other shingles can be installed on lath, some would need sheathing that is solid on the roof deck. Note that the installation of all shingle roofs are from bottom upward, beginning with a starter course, and the edge seams are offset in order to prevent leakage. It is beneficial for many shingle installations to place them on top of an underlayment material like asphalt felt paper, and this method would further prevent leakages due to wind, rain, snow and ice dams. Be aware that some building codes do not allow for use on some types of buildings those roof shingles that are less than class-A fire rating, thus it is good to be aware that some roof shingles are non-combustible and have better fire rating than the others. Wood shingles and organic based asphalt shingles have become less common in use compared to fiberglass-based asphalt shingles because of the increased fire hazard. The minimum recommended roof pitch of shingles is 4:12 with no underlayment material under it since shingles are not water-tight.
For residential roofing applications, the most common roofing material by far being used like in the United States are fiberglass-based asphalt shingles. Much less common in use are the bitumen roof shingles or tile strips as called in Europe, and these shingles are less expensive, easy to install and can last 20 to 50 years.
The protection of paper and fiberglass asphalt shingles comes from the long-chain petroleum carbons, while it is the natural oils in the cellulose structure that protects the wood shingles, and the are important characteristics to take note when choosing your roof shingles.
Other kinds of roof shingles are stone shingles, fiber cement shingles, metal shingles, plastic shingles, and cedar shingles.