In our previous post, we went over the most common, and reasonably priced, metal roofing options for church buildings. In this part of the series, we will look at other materials that are commonly used for roofing churches.

Shingle Roofs

Most people are familiar with shingles. They are the most common type of material used with wooden structures, although they can also be used with many other types of construction.

Shingles are best used when the building has a roof pitch of 4/12 or more. In fact, if your roof pitch is less than that, shingles will require special additional work, which will increase the cost of your project. For that reason, we don’t suggest using shingles on flatter roofs.

Shingles will last between 20 and 40 years, depending on the product you choose (which will, of course, also affect the price). Shingles are easy to install over valleys and hips, making them a very cost-effective solution if your church design features a complex or irregular roof.

However, shingle roofs on pre-engineered or steel construction buildings require additional work to modify the insulation, venting, and substrates. The added expenses associated with such work make this a less cost-efficient option for those types of designs.

Membrane Roofs (Two Types)

Membranes are basically large, rolled sheets, available in many different materials but two types are the most common. They are used most often with flatter, low-pitch roofs, where you can’t see the roof from the ground.

The first most common type, EPDM, has been around a long time, so it is a proven material. However, it only carries a 10-year warranty, meaning that while it might cost very little to install, the cost to repeat the process every 10 years makes it a less-desirable choice for church buildings. We’ve seen EPDM membrane roofs last longer in terms of not leaking, but extending the life another 10 years past the warranty is uncommon.

Thermoplastics, or TPOs, are another common type of membrane roof, and they usually hold up better. TPO roofs are typically more expensive, but they can last from 15 to 20 years (we’ve seen some that lasted as long as 25 years), and you can often get a 15- or 20-year warranty for the material. In our opinion, the longer product life of TPO is usually worth the additional cost.

Replacing Church Building Roofs

No roof lasts forever. Regardless of what material you use, once the life cycle is up, the entire roof will need to be removed and completely replaced. This is why it’s important to consider not just the installation cost of the roof, but also its longevity when determining the most cost-efficient roofing option for your church building. Good stewardship requires taking a long-term view of the entire church design.

As you may have noticed from reading both of our recent roof posts, it is generally best to match similar materials. Metal roofs work best with pre-engineered and steel buildings, while shingle and membrane roofs work best with post-frame and frame construction.

Next Stop: Second Floor (and Basement)

In our next post, we will return to church building interiors, addressing the particular church design needs of basements and second floors. In the meantime, we’re hard at work finalizing our free 2018 i3 webinar series, which will be announced soon. To find out more, please visit our website, where you’ll also be able to sign up for our webinars when they become available.