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Somerset County Roofers: Article About Low Slope Roof Materials

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Roof slope is one of the most important factors in deciding upon suitable roofing materials. Roof slope, also called roof pitch or roof rise, refers to a roof's angle of incline and is often expressed as a ratio of the amount of incline over 12 horizontal inches. Roof styles tend to be divided into two general categories: low slope roofs and steep slope roofs. Professional Somerset County roofers will have experience working with both low and steep slope roofs and can assist homeowners in making the decision which roofing material to select.

Until recently, steep slope roofs were the top choice for most residential buildings. In areas with winter snowfall, a roof with a marked incline prevents the accumulation of heavy snow that can damage a roof's structural integrity. There are also aesthetic reasons for choosing steep slope roofs. In the past, low slope roofs were primarily associated with commercial and industrial structures. In the last 15 years, however, there's been a significant increase in the number of residential units built with flat roofs, as more homeowners have turned to solar energy. Flat roofs provide the best structure for solar panel installations.

Low slope roofs are roofs with a rise of 3:12 or less. Traditionally, these types of roofs have been covered with molten asphalt, also called bitumen, that's topped with a layer of gravel in a process called hot mop roofing.

The roofing contractors from Peter W Smith Construction of Somerset County NJ would be happy to answer any question you have about siding or residential roofing.

Hot mop roofing is relatively inexpensive, and the application process can be quick. Hot mop roofing can be expected to last between 15 and 25 years. It's a very messy process, however, and these roofs tend to be so heavy that joists may need to be reinforced periodically. Curb appeal is an even bigger problem, since many people don't find these roofs attractive.

There are several newer options for low slope roofs. One is a variant of hot mop roofing that's called torch roofing. Here the bitumen is preassembled into a roll. The underside of the roll is impregnated with adhesive. Torches are used to heat the bitumen as it's unrolled, which causes the adhesive to stick to the roof's surface.

Another low slope roofing material choice is a type of synthetic rubber called EPDM, which is short for ethylene propylene diene terpolymer. EPDM roofing stands up well under extremes of hot and frigid temperatures. EPDM doesn't deteriorate under UV light and, it's an environmentally friendly product that can be recycled into many applications at the end of its life as a roofing material. With proper maintenance, an EPDM roof can last for as long as 30 years.

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