The roofing is usually the outer coverings of a structure, comprising all parts and materials required to support it on top of the structure, or on uprights, giving protection to it from rain, snow, sun, extremes of temperature and wind. Roofing is also a protective covering for another roof, known as a chimney. Chimneys serve to allow exhaust gases from cooking and heating systems in the house to escape outside, reducing condensation and thus saving on energy bills. Chimneys are made of clay, cast stone, bricks, tiles, slate, glass, wood, vinyl etc. and may serve to protect the attic, basement, or veranda from rain, wind, extreme temperature and hail damage.
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There are many materials used to make roofing; however, the most commonly used ones are slate, gypsum, wood, tile, asphalt, and concrete, with gypsum and wood proving to be more durable than other materials. Each of these materials has its own benefits, although brick, tile, and gypsum prove to be more durable in colder climates. All of them are relatively cheap, but they do not offer the same amount of protection as the roofing of gypsum and wood, which is the most expensive material used. In extremely cold climates, a roof is usually topped with at least one gypsum or wood product, which will strengthen the structure. For example, brick and concrete are the only types of roofing materials that can be used on colder climates without damaging the structure, whereas all other materials are too brittle to be used in these environments. The roofing is usually the largest expense of a residential or commercial building.
Roofing may include the use of many other materials as well, such as metal, wood, fiberglass, and various kinds of plastics, and is often done for aesthetic reasons. However, there are many practical reasons for using roofing over a number of other materials, especially when the climate in the area is extreme in certain areas. It can protect people from heat or cold, protect equipment, or even provide shelter for people during the winter. Asphalt shingles is one of the most common roofing materials used in North America, as it provides excellent durability in cold climates, but also is fairly affordable and easy to install. The use of asphalt shingles in warmer climates is less common.