by Kathy Ziprik, Staff Writer
Big decisions. That's what you're making as you select products for a new home. And, one of the most important decisions will be what product you choose as the roof on your house.
A roof does more than complement the style of your home. It helps protect your family and valuables. It forms a barrier against weather conditions and keeps your loved ones safe.
When you start researching your roofing options, also remember that most roofs, like every major product in your home, require some maintenance. And, some roofs demand more upkeep than others.
Real Versus Synthetic Shingles
From your perspective as a homeowner, you may love the appealing look of real cedar shake shingles, but they're high maintenance. They accent a home beautifully, plus they add charm to the home. But, have you thought about the long-term inherent problems of real wood shingles? They can crack, split and curl. They attract insects. And, in many cases, untreated shakes are not fire resistant.
If you don't want to give up on the dream of a shake roof, research the options for synthetic shake shingles.
Made of durable polymer and replicated from real cedar products, maintenance-free composite shake shingles from a company like DaVinci Roofscapes offer a strong alternative to real cedar shakes. Backed by a lifetime limited materials warranty, these fire-resistant shakes also resist impact, insect infestations and algae growth. The company offers products in multiple widths and impressive thicknesses, to replicate real cedar shakes.
Peace of mind is another excellent reason to invest in a polymer roof. After Mary Katherine Hirsh was evacuated from her home in 2011 due to a firestorm sweeping through her Reno neighborhood, she knew it was time for a new roof. According to a local fire official, the original 42-year-old wooden shakes on her Country French style home were a tinderbox waiting to burn.
“The idea that a stray cinder landing on my roof could ignite the entire home was scary,” says Hirsh, a Nevada resident. “I immediately started researching roofing options and focused in on fire-resistant polymer roofing tiles from DaVinci Roofscapes.”
Exactly a year after the original firestorm, Hirsh sleeps better at night with her new polymer slate roof overhead. “I couldn’t wait to get those wood shakes off this home,” says Hirsh. “We built this house with those shakes and I loved them, but now I have a roof I can really rely on to help keep me safe.”
Real Versus Synthetic Slate
Perhaps you're reading this and thinking that shake roofing isn't for you... so why should you be concerned? You've got your sights set on real slate, which is certainly a durable roofing product.
The problem is that real slate is heavy to install (oftentimes requiring extra framing and support in your home), can be brittle and tends to crack easily. Imagine your home with real slate. Now think about a wind storm blowing a tree onto your roof. CRACK go the real slate pieces.
That scary scenario becomes much more palatable when you think of synthetic slate roofing product on your home. The tree comes down with a thud. The polymer slate tiles remain unaffected. That's because durable composite tiles are made to resist impact, high winds and fire.
When Kansas homeowner Michael Klappa decided to replace his real cedar roof following damage from Hurricane Isaac in 2012, he and his wife wanted to make a change... to slate.
"I knew we could not install real slate because of the roof pitch and structure on our home," says Klappa. "Plus, real slate is extremely heavy and we would have had to spend considerable money to reinforce the roof to make it capable of holding the weight of a slate roof. Also, it would not stand up to the hail we sometimes get in our area. However, the DaVinci slate roof was so natural looking that we felt really good about our decision to make the change to this product."
Designed to realistically resemble real slate roofing tiles, Bellaforté Slate also installs quickly thanks to the product’s patented features, which include a leading edge tab and a self-aligning ledge. A square of Bellaforté Slate (with 100 pieces per square) weighs just 190 pounds. This lower tile weight helps reduce installation time and transportation costs.
"For myself, the cost, use of modern man-made materials and the strong warranty all sold me on this durable roof," says Klappa. "For my wife, it was all about the color and appearance of the roof that got her excited.
"There's not a week that goes by when someone passing by doesn't remark on our 'real slate' roof. I enjoy explaining about the benefits of our polymer roof and have no worries now about future storms in our area. This roof can handle it."