What are tiles? (with photos)

Asphalt shingles.

Roof shingles are flat or curved tiles that interlock and overlap in a way that channels water from a sloping roof. They are made from materials that vary in cost, weight, durability, color, and architectural style. When roofing a shingled house, the builder needs to consider his budget, climate, roof slope, and how he would like the end result to complement the house’s design.

Ceramic tiles.

The use of shingles is reserved for roofs with sloped sides that are steep enough to pour water into a gutter system by gravity alone. There are other roofing materials, such as metal lamellas or PVC sheets, that would be appropriate for flat or shallow roofs. Most problems with a new roof, such as leaks, can be attributed to improper installation rather than faulty materials. Homeowners should make sure they hire professional roofers to help them choose the appropriate shingle. They must also monitor the installation of special beams, flashings and the tiles themselves. Problems often arise around fireplace chimneys or other ventilation openings.

A carpenter installing tiles in a house.

Many materials are suitable to serve as beautiful, durable and weatherproof tiles. Ceramic or clay tiles come in an elongated S-shape to cover Spanish-style adobe houses. Slate comes in a variety of colors, from blue to green, from gray to tan, and lasts up to 100 years. However, ceramic and slate tiles can be extravagantly priced and require an extra strong roof as they are very heavy. Lighter alternatives such as asphalt can mimic the color and fire retardant rating of these choices.

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Standard asphalt shingles, also known as composites or fiberglass, are made by infusing asphalt into a paper or fiberglass base. One side is then sprayed with even more granules of a mineral of the desired color. A reliable choice, they are affordable and last 15-20 years. A more creative alternative is the wooden shake or copper squares. Wood can be a good choice for a log cabin, as long as it’s not in a wildfire risk area. Metal tiles made from steel, aluminum or copper make a strong design statement as they shimmer in the sunlight. These options are more expensive but can complement a designer home.

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