Modern timber roofs are mostly framed with pairs of common rafters or prefabricated wooden trusses fastened together with truss connector plates. Timber framed and historic buildings may be framed with principal rafters or timber roof trusses. Roofs are also designated as warm or cold roof depending on how they are designed and built with regard to thermal building insulation and ventilation. The steepness or roof pitch of a sloped roof is determined primarily by the roof covering material and aesthetic design. Flat roofs actually slope up to approximately ten degrees to shed water. Flat roofs on houses are primarily found in arid regions.
There are four main types of roofers: shinglers, who primarily install shingles, shakes, tiles, and other nail-on products on roofs with 5:12 pitches or above; metal roofers, who focus on metal panels; single-ply or "flat" roofers, who focus on roofs such as single-ply or foam roofs; and "hot" roofers, who work using tar-based products. It is not uncommon, however, for companies to have their roofers service multiple styles and types of roofing; and certain manufactures will allow only pre-approved installers, thus making these four roofer types limiting. As per the application areas, roofing contractors can be categorized as Industrial or commercial roofers, Factory Shed roofers, Residential Roofers, Commercial roofers. Based on the types of the materials, roofing can be classified as terrace roofing, metal roofing, polycarbonate roofing, steel roofing, PVC roofing, skylight roofing. Pre-engineered companies installs roofing.
In the 19th century, iron, electroplated with zinc to improve its resistance to rust, became a light-weight, easily transported, waterproofing material. Its low cost and easy application made it the most accessible commercial roofing, worldwide. Since then, many types of metal roofing have been developed. Steel shingle or standing-seam roofs last about 50 years or more depending on both the method of installation and the moisture barrier (underlayment) used and are between the cost of shingle roofs and slate roofs. In the 20th century a large number of roofing materials were developed, including roofs based on bitumen (already used in previous centuries), on rubber and on a range of synthetics such as thermoplastic and on fibreglass.
Timber lends itself to a great variety of roof shapes. The timber structure can fulfil an aesthetic as well as practical function, when left exposed to view.
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