Synthetic Roofing Offers Advantages

By Todd Fratzel on Roofing

Synthetic Roofing

DaVinci Slate Brownstone Roofing TilesLately I’ve been getting lots of questions about synthetic roofing products especially synthetic slate roof tiles. Here in New England there are still older buildings with real slate roofs and they are amazingly beautiful. However, the cost to both construction and maintain real slate roofs has become so expensive that most owner’s can’t afford them. This is the reason that I believe synthetic roofing will begin to make a major impact on the construction industry.

Synthetic Roofing is now one of the major players in roofing materials. This exciting new product is competing with asphalt shingles, metal roofing and natural products like shakes and slate. Just as engineered lumber has made a huge impact in the framing industry I suspect we’ll see synthetic roofing do the same to the traditional roofing market.

DaVinci Shake Roofing TilesOne of the leaders in synthetic roofing is DaVinci Roofscapes. Tim Gentry, technical director of DaVinci Roofscapes®, recently answered several questions about roofing and synthetic roofing materials. Mr. Gentry has over 40 years of experience in the industry with over 20 years of that installing roofs. I hope you’ll find the following questions and answers helpful as you evaluate synthetic roofing options.

Selecting Roofing Materials

What are the pros and cons of different roofing materials?

Three-tab asphalt shingles are relatively easy to install, inexpensive and look good on ordinary homes. However, they can be a poor environmental choice because they go to a landfill after 20 years, they perform only moderately well, and they don’t add any special design appeal to a home.

Real wood shingles or shakes look good on some styles of homes and are moderately priced, however they have little or no resistance to fire or impact unless specially treated. They also attract insects, have relatively poor long-term performance and are generally considered a poor use of our natural resources.

Real slate shingles also provide a good look on some styles of homes and can be considered very long-lasting when installed properly. However, they are very expensive and extremely heavy. During installation you can have a significant amount of waste from cracking and breaking of slate tiles.

Metal roofs are perfect for some very specific home designs. They have a unique look to them, are lightweight and snow can easily slide off of them. Watch out when it rains or hails though … these roofs are noisy on the inside of the home during storms.

Synthetic roofing tiles provide a high-performance option for homeowners. The tiles come in a variety of styles, including slate and shake, are lightweight and have long-term durability. These tiles are moderately priced and a good environmental choice. While the look complements many home styles, synthetic roofing tiles are moderately priced, so they’re affordable for everyone.

What are the life spans of different roofing materials?

Generally, real wood will wear out the fastest, followed by three-tab asphalt shingles. You can maybe get 15-20 years out of each of these. Some metal roofs can last up to 50 years, depending on their warranty. Synthetic roofing tiles last up to 50 years and require minimal maintenance attention. Real slate also lasts many years on a home … some slate can last up to 100 years!

Why would I consider synthetic roofing materials over traditional asphalt products?

Aesthetics and durability. Typical asphalt shingles look ordinary. Consider this: when you look at many homes, especially those with steep roofs, almost half of what you see is the roof. When selecting a roof, think about curb appeal and resale value. Synthetic tiles make an ordinary home look extraordinary. Additionally, they give the homeowner peace-of-mind because these roofing tiles will perform exceptionally well against fire, impact, wind and other weather conditions.

What is the synthetic roofing material made of?

At DaVinci, we use an engineered polymer, which is impregnated with fire retardant and state of the art advanced UV stabilizers specifically formulated for the tough conditions tiles are exposed to in all climates throughout the year. Our roof tiles use only 100% pure virgin resin in order to assure consistency, and are 100% recyclable.

Do roofing tiles become more brittle over time?

That depends on the kind of roofing tiles. Asphalt and real wood roofing materials do become more brittle toward the end of their life cycles. DaVinci tiles do not have that problem. The engineered polymer used in DaVinci synthetic tiles changes very little over time or when subjected to extreme temperature and weather conditions. Third party independent extended life testing has shown minimal degradation of the material’s performance qualities.

Which roofing tiles are consistent with their colors and won’t fade over time?

Most synthetic roofing tiles have their color blended completely throughout their tiles. These products won’t fade over time because UV protection has been built into each tile. When exposed to continual sunlight and UV rays, many other products, such as metal and asphalt roofing, will indeed fade over time, losing their original sharpness of color.

About the author

Todd Fratzel

I'm full time builder for a large construction company in New Hampshire. I run their design-build division that specializes in custom homes, commercial design-build projects and sub-divisions. I'm also a licensed civil and structural engineer with extensive experience in civil and structural design and home construction. My hope is that I can share my experience in the home construction, home improvement and home renovation profession with other builders and home owners. I'm also the author of Tool Box Buzz and Today's Green Construction. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, suggestions or you'd like to inquire about advertising on this site.

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2 Comments

  1. Mike says:

    I have installed clay roof tiles and I can tell you they are a long lasting solution to a roof. The colors do not fade, and if it properly installed, your roof has a longer life expectancy. The warranty is for 50 years and are also eco-friendly (natural product, high solar reflectance)

  2. Lucky says:

    How do these tiles stand up to hurricane winds and high heat that we get in Florida? What is the weight load? What color options are there?
    Thanks!

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