Roofing Shingle roof or light weight tile roof, fiber glass shingles, composite shingles

Roofing Shingle roof or light weight tile roof, fiber glass shingles, composite shingles

Expert: Stan Skarbek — 6/13/2005

Question

Followup To

Question -

Hi, Skarbek,

Thanks for your response. They are really helpful. I would like to ask some more questions:

1. With the new design of shingles (those that have more dimension and texture), can we just place another layer of shingle on top of it during the next re-roof? If so, how many times can it be done w/o removing all the old shingles?

2. Could you explain to me the difference between fiber-glass shingles and composite shingles? (Actually I don’t know what is fiber glass shingles at all.)

3. How long does the lightweight tile roofing can last assuming there is no other problem besides normal wear and tear by the weather?

Followup To

Question -

Hi, Skarbek,

I sent you the following message yesterday, but not sure if it goes through successfully. So I am resending the question to you again today.

I am about to re-roof my house. I used to have wood shingle. The roofing company recommend that I have a new tile roof. Q1) I am concerning about the weight but he said the light weigh tile is ok and I don’t need to re-enforce the roof to install tile roof. Is it? Q2) I know tile roof looks a lot better and costs more, but is there any other benefit vs. shingle roof? Q3) How good is it for the tile to sustain earth quake since I live in California? How long does it really last? Q4) Also, he said shingle roof would make the house a lot hotter during the summer, but I also heard others said it is the insulation that makes the difference. Please advise.

Thanks for your time.

Answer -

Answer -

Hi Lynn,

I’m not sure why it wasn’t in the archives, but I found it in amongst the list of questions and answers in another part of allexperts.com. Apparently the "archives" don’t contain all of the questions and answers. Either that or it takes a week to move a question and answer into the archives. At any rate, here’s a copy of that earlier question from you, and answer from me.

Have a great day,

Stan Skarbek

Lynn Asks in Category Roofing Questions:

Subject: Shingle roof vs Tile roof

Question: Hi, Mr. Skarbek,

I am about to re-roof my house. I used to have wood shingle. The roofing company recommend that I have tile roof. Q1) I am concerning about the wt but he said the light weigh tile is ok and I don’t need to re-enforce the roof to install tile roof. Is it? Q2) I know tile roof looks a lot better and costs more, but is there any other benefit vs. shingle roof? Q3) How good is it for the tile to sustain earth quake since I live in California? Q4) Also, he said shingle roof would make the house a lot hotter during the summer, but I also heard others said it is the insulation that makes the difference. Please advise.

Thanks for your time.

Answer: Hi Lynn,

The short answer.

1. You need to be concerned about the weight. It is an issue you need to sort out before you commit to a tile roof.

2. You can’t walk on tile roofs but you can have a barn dance on a composition shingle roof.

3. The earthquake issue is no issue at all for you.

4. Insulation is important. The other important issue is correct ventilation. If those are both correct in your home, then the type of roof won’t be an issue in the temperature inside the house.

The longer answers.

1. "Lightweight" tile is very heavy, much heavier than your current wood shingle roof or a composition shingle roof. You need to have the the attic construction checked for the extra weight, but it’s an easy process and most tile manufacturers will pay for the engineer to evaluate what re-inforcement might be needed.

2. The benefits in staying with shingles is that you can have a barn dance on top of your roof and it’s no problem. You can’t walk on your tile roof. You don’t think of walking on the roof, but once in a while you need to get up there or a painter or plumber has something they need to do on the roof. Or that dimwit kid down the street loses his "ultimate frisbee" on your roof and decides to retrieve it without you knowing about it. So walking on the roof is the biggest issue for me. Following that issue is the fact that it’s so expensive.

3. Neither the tile roof or the shingle roof will be significantly damaged due to an earthquake. There’s plenty of flex in the way they are constructed. If something like a tall tree falls on the house, the tile will sustain more damage than the shingles, but we’re talking about something that has virtually no chance of happening and it’s not worthy of consideration as you make a choice.

Roofing Shingle roof or light weight tile roof, fiber glass shingles, composite shingles

4. If the only factor in the interior temperature of the house was the roof, then the answer is that the tile will be cooler. But your attic needs to be efficiently ventilated and if your attic is ventilated correctly, then the only thing that you need to be sure of is that you have the right amount of insulation on the attic-side of your ceiling. So the correct answer is that your roof won’t affect the interior temperature of the house, since you’ll good insulation at the ceiling level and the air in the attic will be circulating as it should.

I hope that helps. It looks like you sent the same question 3 times within a few minutes, so you’ll be getting an "automatic" response for the other two that says you already asked that question. Feel free to follow up in the future.

Your roofer with a keyboard,

Stan Skarbek

Answer

Hi Lynn,

The short answers.

1. You’ll need to tear off before the next re-roof.

2. Those terms are referring to the same kind of shingle.

3. theoretically, a tile roof will last forever, since the tiles don’t wear out.

The long answers.

1. With the new design of shingles, you shouldn’t install the next roof over the roof you’re currently planning. BUT. that shouldn’t be a consideration for you in choosing this current roof, since the shingles you install now will last for about 30 years. You’ll probably be living in a different house in 30 years. Even if you’re in the same house in 30 years, it would be unwise to select a roof now based on what you might save in tear-off expense 30 years from now. In my humble opinion :o)

2. "Fiberglass shingles" and "composition shingles" as well as "Architectual shingles" and "asphalt shingles" are all terms describing the same thing. "Fiberglass" refers to the fact that a fiberglass mesh is used at the starting point in manufacturing the shingles. That mesh is soaked in asphalt, then granules are pressed into the surface. 30 years ago, manufacturers started using the fiberglass mesh. Before that, a cardboard type of material was used as the starting piece for the shingles. Since the fiberglass won’t decompose and is more fire resistance, that change was a big deal, so referring to those shingles as "fiberglass shingles" was a big thing. Now all composition shingles are made with a fiberglass base, so that description isn’t necessary. If someone say’s "we’re going to be installing "fiberglass" composition shingles, it would be like a car salesman telling you one of the great features on the car you’re looking at is that it comes standard with seat belts. That’s a good thing, but they all have that.

3. While "lightweight tile" is theoretically going to last longer than you and me, there’s one point you should bear in mind. They’ve only been manufacturing "lightweight tile" for 30 years or so. The traditional (heavier) tiles have been around for many centuries. I wouldn’t call lightweight tile a new product, but there aren’t any 50 year old lightweight tile roofs that we can point to and say, "see, it lasts forever." But still, there’s no evidence that says it won’t last forever either.

I hope that helps. Feel free to follow up in the future.

Your roofer with a keyboard,

Stan Skarbek

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