4 Options for Roof Materials

When the time comes to picking a timber frame roof, make sure you are informed. Here are the pros and cons of some popular options, including composite shingles, wood shakes, slate, and metal.

1. Composite shingles
Composite shingles are the most common material used on a timber frame roof, primarily because they are affordable and don’t require much maintenance, not to mention they come in a variety of colors and styles. The downside? Because they’re lightweight, they can blow off during high winds. Being so susceptible to nature’s forces also means composite shingles tend to have a shorter lifespan than other materials used on timber frame roofs.

2. Wood shakesTimber Frame Roof: Wood ShinglesWith wood shakes, a homeowner can choose from a variety of wood types, as well as the width and thickness of the shake. They provide good insulation while also allowing air circulation. As a natural material, however, wood shakes are vulnerable to rot, mildew, mold and insects. Routine maintenance, such as sealing, inspection and replacement, is required to keep a wood-shake timber frame roof in good shape.

3. Slate
A slate timber frame roof is made of slices of rock cut to the size of standard shingles. Like wood shakes, slate also has a natural appearance and comes in many sizes and colors. But slate is immune to damage caused by rot or insects, and it serves as good fire protection. Although it requires little maintenance, slate comes at a price. Because it is heavy, some homes require additional roof support, which can get pricey. Additionally, the slate slabs are breakable and should not be walked on by a nonprofessional, a potential problem in gutter-cleaning season.

Timber Frame Roof Metal Copper

Here is a copper rooftop on this timber house. Photo by James Ray Spahn.

4. Metal
Although the initial cost of metal roofing is comparatively high, it pays for itself in the long run, requires little to no maintenance and offers fire protection. As a light material, it can be installed directly over a pre-existing timber frame roof. It can also be made to resemble other roof shingles like wood shakes and composite shingles, and color requests are generally easy to accommodate. If you’re looking for a green option, metal roofing is often made from recycled materials and reflects heat away from the house, making it energy efficient as well.


Published in the October 2011 issue of Timber Home Living.



{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

greg corarito September 4, 2013 at 11:44 am

hello folks

would like a beam roof to put atop my existing 20×40 house.

building is cement block construction w/a flat roof.

I want the roof to raise four feet on north side of roof
so that I can put solar panels over the roof material.

I WOULD LOVE TO HAVE LONG BEAMS OVER 20 FT. LONG
TO BE EXPOSED FROM INSIDE THE HOME.

WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO GO A BOUT MAKING A PLAN.

APPROXIMATELY HOW MUCH WOULD IT COST?

Reply

Timber Home Living Admin September 10, 2013 at 3:47 pm

Hi, Greg: For pricing information, I’d suggest contacting a few timber providers to get estimates for the type of project you’re talking about. If you go to the Companies & Services tab on TimberHomeLiving.com, you can see a list of companies with their contact information. Good luck!

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