The material of a roof may range from banana leaves, wheaten straw or seagrass to laminated glass, copper (see: copper roofing), aluminium sheeting and pre-cast concrete. In many parts of the world ceramic tiles have been the predominant roofing material for centuries, if not millennia. Other roofing materials include asphalt, coal tar pitch, EPDM rubber, Hypalon, polyurethane foam, PVC, slate, Teflon fabric, TPO, and wood shakes and shingles.
In the United States, regulation of the roofing trade is left up to individual states. Some states leave roofing regulation up to county-level and municipal-level jurisdictions. In California, for example, the California Contractors State License Board licenses and monitors roofing contractors. Unlicensed contracting of projects worth over a set threshold may result in stiff fines or even time in prison. In Oklahoma roofers are required to meet insurance and roofing license guidelines. Roofers are also required to show their license number on their marketing material.
In the southern US and Mexico, clay tile roofs are also very popular, due to their longevity, and ability to withstand hurricane winds with minimal or no damage.
The roofing material is primarily designed to shed water. The covering is also a major element of the architecture so roofing materials come in a wide variety of colors and textures. The primary roof covering on houses in North America are asphalt shingles, but some have other types of roof shingles or metal roofs. Tile and thatch roofs are more common in Europe than North America. Some roofing materials help reduce air conditioning costs in hot climates by being designed to reflect light.
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