The roof covering that consists of individual overlapping elements are called roof shingles. The elements in roof shingle are laid in courses from the edge of the roof going up, with every successive course overlapping the joints beneath it, and these elements are usually flat and rectangular in shapes. There are several different materials that made up the shingles, and these are wood, slate, flagstone, metal, plastic, and composite materials like fiber cement and asphalt shingles. The common roof material in Europe and some parts in Asia are the ceramic roof tiles called simply tiles.
A building’s aesthetics is very important where patterns, textures and colors are concern, and since roof shingles are highly visible, they contribute greatly to this aspect of a building. Generally, the materials of roof shingles, just like the other materials on vernacular buildings, are available locally. The type of shingle is given into account because its material would affect the pitch of the roof and the method of construction, and this is considered before the start of construction. Other shingles would need solid sheeting on the roof deck, while some can be installed on lath. To avoid leaks, all shingle roofs are installed from the bottom going up, and it begins with a starter course with the edge seams offset. It is beneficial for many shingle installations to place them on top of an underlayment material like asphalt felt paper, and this method would further prevent leakages due to wind, rain, snow and ice dams. Consider though that some roof shingles are non-combustible and have better fire rating than the other kinds that would affect the use, especially some building codes do not allow less than class-A fire rating to be used on some types of buildingins. Compared to the fiberglass-based asphalt shingles, wood shingles and organic-based asphalt shingles are less commonly used due to its fire hazard possibility. Since no shingles are water-tight, their recommended roof pitch is 4:12 devoid of underlayment material.
In a country like the United States, the most common roofing by far is fiberglass-based asphalt shingles as being used for residential roofing applications. There are the tile strips or bitumen roof shingles, which are less commonly used in Europe, and these are relatively affordable, can be installed easily, and can last 20 to 50 years.
When choosing your roof shingles, be aware of the source of their protection, like the protection of paper and fiberglass asphalt shingles comes from the long-chain petroleum carbons, while the wood shingles are protected from the natural oils in the cellulose structure of the wood.
Other kinds of roof shingles are stone shingles, fiber cement shingles, metal shingles, plastic shingles, and cedar shingles.