Choosing Your Roof and Type of Framing

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Choosing the roof is a critical step in any building or renovating work. Your roof plays a major role in isolating the house effectively. This is why we, at are giving prime importance to the roofing works. In general, the materials for roofing will be selected according to the taste, as well as the budget of the particular client. However, care will be taken to ensure they respect the local architectural restrictions, which are the technical constraints relating to the type of framework and the climate of the area of construction. Now, read the complete article to know more about choosing your roof here…

Choosing a Frame for Your Roof:

Right Criteria of Selection:

The selection of right framing holds important because this is the element that is going to solidify the whole structure. Also, this is the element that is going to prepare for the installation of your roof. In simple terms, we can say that this is the fundamental step that determines the solidity of your building or construction. Now, look at our tips for the right criteria of framing selection here:

Framing is a Supporting Element:

This statement may sound weird to some people because the framework would be laid on the structure of a building. But, remember that this is the structure that holds the dwelling. Perhaps, this is going to keep your walls and the other structural aspects in place thereby, acting as a solid closing of the building, more or less like a keystone!

11653129 - new residential construction home framing against a blue sky

11653129 – new residential construction home framing against a blue sky

Structural Strength:

Note that the permanent loads on the framework are quite low as the roofing and the structure of the framework itself are made up of light elements.

Climatic Elements:

As everyone is aware, the roof is exposed to the weather and to the sun rays all through the year. This makes it necessary for you to think about the coverage of the framework to ensure good insulation and ventilation.

Fire resistance criterion:

We can say that the framework is the supporting element of the building and hence if it’s affected by a fire, it’s possible that the remaining structure will also collapse. This is why we say it’s important to assess the risks and select the material that is more suited for the framework.

Look at the options below:

  • Solid Wood: This material has high resistance to fire, which is in contrast with what you think.
  • Glued Laminated Industrial Wood: This has low strength.
  • Metal: This would expand under the action of fire. Also, this is found to be having a poor stability and a lower resistance.
  • Concrete: This has a very good resistance.
  • Not only it’s important to check the material of the roof, it’s equally important to think about the resistance of the cover. As such, the options for cover are:
  • Tile and Slate: This is found to be having good resistance to fire.
  • Zinc: This material has good resistance in addition to fair stability.


When it comes to wood framing, you must evaluate the risks of parasite invasion and the development of fungi.

Types of Framework:

Apart from the aforementioned factors, it’s also important for you to think about the types of framework. As such, there are two types of framework and two options available for framework. The first type is your prefabricated carpentry (Truss Framing), which will be assembled on the site of construction. Remember that this type won’t always allow you to install the habitable attics. The second type is your traditional framework (Rafter Framing), which is made using the measurements. It is, therefore, more complex. Also, it allows the development of habitable attics. Now, see the detailed description of these framework types here:

Truss Framing:

The truss framing is the cheaper alternative to your traditional framing but with good strength. It is being made with wooden boards, which are assembled with metal fasteners. In addition, this would support your roof covering and a plaster ceiling. When you opt for truss framing, you can enjoy the benefits of making your insulation simple and cheap. The disadvantage of the truss framing is that the structure would not allow you to make a space laid out as only one can walk through the beams. Also, the ceiling being in a plaster, it won’t support more weight.

This framing option is deemed as the most cost effective option. You might ask me how? Well, for the beginners, it would eliminate hours (or days) of cutting in roofs, unlike your rafters. If your house is completely trussed, the frame would not have anything over the frame. This would mean that after a few hours of setting, you can straight away go to bracing and sheathing. With the rafters, the case is different. There, you would have multiple ridges and valley beams that have to be set. Also, the bird mouths (plate connectors) have to be cut and/or attached. These won’t be sufficient if your ceiling is flat and you need to go back and add your ceiling joists. All these put together makes your roof trusses cost-effective, which could save lots of money, especially on your track build homes.

46806238 - builder is installing roof system on the house of aerated concrete

46806238 – builder is installing roof system on the house of aerated concrete

Rafter Framing:

This traditional framework option is more complex to achieve. But, this type of framework has the advantage of allowing the fitting out of habitable attics as mentioned above. Typically, this framework would consist of assembled solid wood elements, which would allow for the fitting of the attic by creating several rooms depending on the area. Thus, this framework is more expensive than your farmhouse. Also, the insulation of the attic will be more expensive than the insulation of your lost attic.

What makes rafters better than trusses? Well, we would say parallel roof and ceiling pitches with rafters are making them the better choice. However, note that these options would apply only to your semi to high-end custom homes. It’s because in these homes the architects will try to maximize the space as much as possible including the height of the ceiling. On the other hand, with your trusses, if the span is large enough without any internal bearing, it would it tough for you to design a truss with a ceiling pitch 2 or 3 less than the roof without a decent sized heel height, say 10/12 roof over a 7/12 ceiling. With your rafters, it doesn’t matter whether it is 4/12 or 12/12 as long as the engineering on the material allows the span of the rafter. You are good to go.

58555177 - wooden roof with rafter style framing against a blue sky

58555177 – wooden roof with rafter style framing against a blue sky

Types of Roof Coatings:

Not only for the framework, there are different types of roof coatings too. Find below the different types of roof coatings:

Terracotta Tiles:

This type of roof coating is made up of clay. Evidence show that this material is worth over time as it resists very well to the extreme weather conditions like frost. Thus, these tiles are particularly useful during our winter months. These come in various shapes and colors and thus, allowing them to be adapted to any home style. Therefore, the expert builders at say that terracotta tiles are worth your investment. Moreover, these tiles would not require much work for proper maintenance and these tiles are highly resistant to fire.

The minimum cost of terracotta roofing tile is found to be $6 per square foot whereas the maximum cost goes up to $15 per square foot. Obviously, if you go for the high-end tiles, the quality will be absolute and these are the ones that are often used by professionals like us. The low-end range will exhibit lower quality as it sounds. For the people who are on a budget and at the same time thinking about some good quality tiles, you can choose the ones in the range of $8 to $10 per square foot.

So, are there any disadvantages of these tiles? The cost of the materials and the installation of them are higher when compared to several other roofing options. Also, you need to consider inserting a protection between the tiles and your framework in order to ensure an optimal thermal insulation. This may cost some extra bucks. The next disadvantage is that as the terracotta tiles are sloped, it might be difficult to take it up to certain rooftop amenities like chimneys and air conditioners.

In conclusion, although the terracotta roofing tiles are bit expensive, it will be the perfect choice for those who are looking for a blend of aesthetics and the material that is highly resistant to extreme weather.

62818955 - wavy rooftop covered in orange brown terracotta tiles

62818955 – wavy rooftop covered in orange brown terracotta tiles

Concrete Tiles:

The concrete tiles are now used as roofing materials. The lighter weight tiles and the concrete panels are being produced from a range of fiber-reinforced cement products. Some of these concrete tiles are found to be coated with materials like plastics, enamels, thin metals, and recycled materials. Yes, these are non-recyclable but these are found to be good at durability and resource efficiency. When we look at the beneficial aspects of concrete tiles, we could understand that the advantages vary from one product to another. However, generally speaking, they all have the following advantages:

  • Long lifespan
  • Require low maintenance
  • Offer good fire protection
  • Resistant to rot and insects

In look wise, we can see that several tiles are mimicking the appearance of wood shakes while having a greater durability and fire resistance than the real wood. They also look similar to your clay tiles or slate, while mitigating the problems of the structure being caused by the weight of the clay material.

Now, let’s look at the disadvantages of concrete tiles for roofing. Firstly, just like your clay tiles, these also would require interposing a protection between the tiles and the framework. Next, these tiles are very subject to climatic differences and they will be colored on exposure to the sunlight. These are found to be the material with least resistance in the longer run.

It’s to be noted that concrete roofing tiles are quite inexpensive, although they are expensive than some roofing materials. Previously, the concrete tiles posed issues like material curling and breaking in addition to changing colors. But, this is not the case today. Technology has improved widely and these issues have been overcome mostly. Also, these are coming in various styles and colors today. Finally, as they can be straight, they can be adapted to the roof tilt.

34045486 - brown tile roof

34045486 – brown tile roof

Wooden Tiles:

These tiles are often made using pine, oak, or acacia as they would allow for an optimal flow of water. In addition, this would give your home an authentic look that only the noble wood can convey. Now, let’s about wood shakes here:

More often, wood shakes would offer a natural look with lots of characters. Note that, because of the variations in the following elements, no two wood shakes will ever look alike:

  • Color
  • Width
  • Thickness
  • Cut of the wood

The best wood shakes are found to be made from the heartwood of larger and older cedar trees. However, people are requested to be cautious while choosing the shakes as the quality varies significantly from one shake mill to another.

Now, let’s turn our heads to the advantageous side of the wooden tiles. Firstly, wood offers some energy benefits. Next, wood helps in insulating the attic. Then, it would allow your home to breathe by circulating air through the small openings beneath the felt rows on which your wooden shingles are laid.

When we look at the disadvantages of the wooden tiles, we would understand that these require proper maintenance and repair. Also, these would not last as long as other roofing tiles. In addition, there seems to be the problem of molds, rots, and insects if not maintained properly. These altogether will increase the life cycle cost of the shake roof costlier than other roofing materials. More importantly, the old wooden shakes can’t be recycled.

We can see wipe or spray-on fire retardants being used for wood shakes. But remember, these would offer lesser protection and are found to be effective only for some time (a few years). People can rather go for pressure-treated shakes. However, you should see whether they are impregnated with fire retardants and are meeting national fire safety standards.

28426021 - time for a new roof  cedar shingle roof beautiful and durable

28426021 – time for a new roof cedar shingle roof beautiful and durable

Slate Roofing:

Slates are the natural, non-combustible, and resistant type of roofing materials. These are actually got from shingle-like slivers of rock. We could say that slates are synonymous with quality, as well as prestige for covering a roof. These roofing materials are now seen more on upscale homes. Although these are found to be an expensive choice, people choose this for the natural look it gives to the home. Also, these roofing materials can be laid out in a wide range of patterns.

Now, look at the advantages of slate roofing. The slate roofing, when combined with zinc, brings lots of characters to the general aesthetics of a house. This is the major advantage of the slate roofing. The other advantages are similar to that of the tile roofing. As such, they pose a very long lifespan, require minimal maintenance, offer very good protection against fire, and resistant to rot and insects. In addition, these are coming in various sizes and colors. However, the color options are restricted to those that are found in nature.

When we consider the disadvantages of slate roofing, we can observe that these are relatively expensive than other roofing materials and the heaviness of these materials could be a real hindrance in the selection of slate roofing. As they are heavy, sometimes some expensive additional support will be required. It’s also breakable thereby making it difficult for a non-professional to undertake complicated tasks like rooftop maintenance, gutter cleaning, and even painting.

11472421 - slates on a roof

11472421 – slates on a roof

Zinc and Metal Roofing:

The history suggests that metal roofs were popular in the late 1700s when the materials like zinc, copper, and lead were majorly used as roofing materials. It’s to be noted that the historic monuments like Washington Monument and Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello have been built with metal roofs. After a couple of centuries, metal roofing is coming back to the construction industry now.

Of all, zinc is known to be an ecological element as it is 100% recyclable. As a roofing material, zinc brings in an optimal lifetime in the regions with little to no weathering. The lightness that is being offered by zinc is making it easy to install.

The second popular metal roofing is found to be standing-seam steel roofing. This is found to be commonly used in residential roofing these days. By its name, we can understand that upturned edge of one metal panel is connected to the adjacent sections, thus leading to the distinctive vertical lines. Thus, these would give a historical look to the building or construction.

It’s to be noted that your metal roofing can be made to resemble the following roofing types:

  • Wood shakes
  • Clay tiles
  • Shingles
  • Victorian metal tiles

In addition, these are highly durable, highly fire resistant and easy to maintain. They are also energy efficient as the metals would reflect heat and blocks it from getting transmitted to the attic. Thus, your metal roofing could save you up to 20% on your electricity bills. Furthermore, they are offering some environmental benefits as well. They are recyclable as mentioned above and they weigh lesser thus making them installable over other existing roofs.

On the disadvantage aspects, let’s say cost is the major drawback of metal roofing. The initial costs of a premium range of metal roof would cost higher than all other roofing materials. Moreover, installation of some metal roofing could be an intricate process and needs professional take over.


Hot Mopped Roofing:

Hot mopped roofing, which can be mostly seen in commercial buildings, is an absolute professional-only roofing category. At times, they can also be seen used to flat and semi-flat residential roofs that have very good access and proper drainage facilities. In simple terms, installing hot mopped roofing is a very dirty job and is somewhat dangerous too. These roofing will be done by putting molten asphalt tar over the roof.  There are some other names to this roofing type, which are:

  • Hot mopped asphalt roofing
  • Hot tar roofing
  • Tar roofs
  • Multi-ply tar roofing

The major advantage of using asphalt in roofing is that it offers the least expensive roofing than several other roofing materials. This is found to be holding well when properly applied.

On the disadvantage side, we can always see that this type of roofing would result in a roof that is not very attractive. However, in the residential constructions, they can be made pretty by covering with a layer of decorative stone. When the asphalt is applied, the hot mixture would release extremely higher levels of air pollutants that are smelly. In addition to the smell, these would pose lots of health risks to the handlers. As the fumes are known to contribute to smog, these are prohibited in some urban areas.