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Roofing lingo - helpful terms and info


The Square
Before we talk materials, let's talk terminology. Roofers don't usually use the measure "square feet," rather they talk in squares. A square is their basic unit of measurement-one square is 100 square feet in area, the equivalent of a 10-foot by 10-foot square. The roof of a typical two-story, 2,000-square-foot ho...use with a gable roof will consist of less than 1,500 square feet of roofing area, or about fifteen squares.

A number of considerations will affect the cost of a new roof. The price of the material is the starting point, but other factors also must be considered. One is the condition of the existing roof if you are remodeling a house-if old materials must be stripped off and if the supporting structure needs repair, that will all cost money. The shape of the roof is another contributing factor. A gable roof with few or no breaks in its planes (like chimneys, vent pipes, or dormers) makes for a simple roofing job. A house with multiple chimneys, intersecting rooflines (the points of intersection are called valleys), turrets, skylights, or other elements will cost significantly more to roof.

Not every roofing material can be used on every roof. A flat roof or one with a low slope may demand a surface different from one with a steeper pitch. Materials like slate and tile are very heavy, so the structure of many homes is inadequate to carry the load. Consider the following options, then talk with your roofer and get estimates for the job. (see previous blog for tips on questions to ask when interviewing a roofer)

* Asphalt Shingle. This is the most commonly used of all roof
materials. It's made of a fiberglass medium that's been impregnated with asphalt and then given a surface of sand-like granules. Two basic configurations are sold: the standard single-thickness variety and thicker, laminated products. The standard type costs roughly half as much, but laminated shingles have an appealing textured appearance and last roughly half as long (typically 25 years or more, versus 15 years plus).
Prices begin at about $50 a square, but depending upon the type of shingle chosen and the installation, can cost many times that.
* Wood. Wood was the main choice for centuries, and it's still a good option, though in some areas fire codes forbid its use. Usually made of cedar, redwood, or southern pine, shingles are sawn or split. They have a life expectancy in the 25-year range (like asphalt shingles) but cost an average of twice as much.
* Metal. Aluminum, steel, copper, copper-and-asphalt, and lead areall durable-and expensive-roofing surfaces. Lead and the copper/asphalt varieties are typically installed as shingles, but others are manufactured for seamed roofs consisting of vertical lengths of metal that are joined with solder. These roofs start at about $250 per square but often cost two
or three times that.

37 Comments to Roofing lingo - helpful terms and info:

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Anonymous on Monday, July 29, 2013 10:19 AM
Glad you found the information helpful. If you are in the market for a new roof, please contact us. We offer free consultations, and estimates and would welcome the opportunity to earn your business!

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Coastline Construction LLC on Wednesday, January 22, 2014 12:30 PM
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Roofing Shingles on Thursday, March 27, 2014 8:15 PM
Nice post. Thanks for explaining "Squares" In Australia we talk in square metres of asphalt roof shingles. Our asphalt shingles are the metric versions - 3m2 per pack. Our prices are more expensive as we have to import our roofing shingles from North America.
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Coastline Construction LLC on Friday, March 28, 2014 9:39 AM
I did not know that you guys didn't have a source for asphalt shingles there in Australia. Is asphalt the shingle of choice for most there, or generally is another type of shingle preferred?

Gazebo Pergola Roofing on Thursday, March 27, 2014 8:19 PM
Asphalt shingles are the most common roofing material in North America but not in other areas of the World. The ease of installation of shingles on gazebos and pergolas makes them a great DIY roofing product.
Reply to comment
Bristolite Daylighting Systems on Monday, August 04, 2014 12:25 PM
A thick layer of snow accumulation could lead to roof collapse. If this happens, carefully pull the snow off the roof using a snow rake available at most home improvement stores..

Roof Supplies on Thursday, March 27, 2014 10:53 PM
You have crammed plenty of useful information into a small blog. It is interesting how much needs to be considered when quoting on a roof. You must hate people asking for a price over the phone.
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Coastline Construction LLC on Friday, March 28, 2014 9:45 AM
Actually, Roof Supplies, I LOVE it when they call for a quote because I get to turn that into an opportunity to provide the homeowner with a free estimate by explaining it is impossible to quote over the phone. After setting up an appointment, when they get to meet me and learn more about my company, sometimes (actually, often) that turns into another job.

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Reply to comment on Thursday, February 01, 2018 2:57 AM
Yes, it is true that Roofers don't usually use the measure "square feet," rather they talk in a square as well. I have pleased to read the entirety of the post as mentioned above in detail about construction. Thanks for this post and keep it up!
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Reganleon on Wednesday, April 18, 2018 6:24 AM
Prefer to install shingles when doing roof repair of replacement as shingles are designed to withstand even the most severe weather.
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