Protection and covering, the two basic functions of your roofing system, isn’t as simple as they sound. Every roofing material has to be tested, approved only if they meet industry requirements. An asphalt shingle roof, for example, can undergo as many as 185 tests to ensure the roofing material lives up to manufacturer claims.
ASTM International and Underwriters Laboratories (UL) are the primary authorities in roofing standards and testing. Their tests have been developed to evaluate performance, potential hazards, and proper fabrication and installation. The results of these tests remain the most concrete way for manufacturers, contractors, and homeowners to ensure the roof’s ability to protect and insulate against external elements for as long as possible.
Some of the qualities that tests assess roofing materials for include:
- Temperature and Weather Cycling. Roofing materials are exposed to cycles of extreme temperatures, light, and water over a span of hours to days to look at how well they can perform under different types of weather. Wind resistance tests, on the other hand,gauge roofing performance against wind and wind-driven rain, and can be measured through uplift resistance and air permeability tests separately. The roofing material, parts, and components are then inspected for signs of tearing, cracking, breakage, and water intrusion. Asphalt shingles also need to be checked for the amount of granules lost.
- Fire Resistance. While roofing materials can only either pass or fail standard tests, the fire resistance test is also designed to categorize them into classes A, B, or C. Class A roofing materials are the most fire-resistant, and are required for high-risk commercial buildings, while less critical structures might only need to meet Class B or C requirements.
Slate, metal and plastic polymer roofs all have good fire and wind resistance, while other materials like asphalt, clay and concrete have strong resistance against fire but can show weakness against the wind. Wood naturally has poor resistance against fire, but can be treated with fire retardant to reduce the material’s vulnerability. Whatever roofing material you choose, don’t forget to factor in local climate in your area to ensure that your choice will be truly suitable for your home.
Found your ideal roof? Don’t let it go to waste by finding the ideal roofer. Head on over to Part 3 for tips on finding the right one and others to ensure you are satisfied with your roofing job.