Deciding what type of roof your house should have is extremely important, especially living in climates that experience heavy snow and ice during the winter months. Choosing the ideal roofing material for winter will help prevent roof damage in the future. Whether you’re building from scratch or renovating an older home, keep in mind that a roof is just as important as the foundation of a house. Let’s take a look at some of the factors that come into play when choosing the best possible material for your roof.

1. Types of Roof

There are many types of roofing materials you can choose from, but the two most common for areas with colder climates are metal roofing and traditional asphalt shingles. If you’re having trouble deciding whether to choose metal roofing or shingles for your home, you may want to review the pros and cons of each. Cost can be a huge factor in your decision since roofing can be expensive. Although, if one material is more expensive than the other, it may indicate a significant difference in quality and lifespan. While one type may be less expensive upfront, it may cost you more in the long run if damage occurs and the cost of repairs adds up.

Metal Roofing

Metal roofing is more pricey but typically can have a lifespan of 40 – 75 years. This option reduces heating costs immensely. Metal functions as an insulator that prevents the heat from escaping your home and the cold from coming in. It’s also extremely durable in harsh weather conditions and less likely to produce leaks. This roofing material is a good choice for contemporary homes and cabins but can be used on other builds as well. Metal roofing can also be recycled, which makes it an eco-friendly option.

Traditional Asphalt Shingles

If you’re looking for a less expensive option, traditional asphalt shingles are a great choice. They’re known to be the most affordable roofing material for a winter climate. However, their lifespan is only 20 – 30 years which is significantly shorter than metal roofing. Asphalt shingles are typically easy to repair since you can often fix them by using a sealant, as opposed to replacing an entire shingle. If you do need to replace a shingle entirely, you can do it without interfering with the other shingles. Asphalt shingles are known to be durable for harsh climates and help reduce energy consumption.

2. Engineering Aspects

Engineering the roof properly is arguably just as important as choosing the right material. Make sure you have a structural engineer on the job to confirm your roof is installed correctly. Some engineering aspects that are significant in a roof installation include the pitch or slope of the roof and insulation. A pitched roof is ideal for homes that withstand severe weather like ice or snow. They ensure that melting snow and water can slide down the roof as opposed to getting stuck on top. This prevents the roof from sinking in, and water from seeping in and causing damage. Proper insulation of a roof is another way to prevent damage to your home. An insulated roof can prevent ice buildup. If there is no insulation or it’s not done correctly, heat will escape which can produce icicles and increase your energy consumption.

3.  Project Timeline

The timeline of your roof installation project can have an impact on your decision as well. It’s important to take note of the weather. You want to make sure that your roof is up and ready before the first snowfall. Situations like material being on backorder can postpone your roof installation. Additionally, choosing a new roofing material that is heavier than the previous one can lead to complications and increased production time, especially when renovating older homes. This may require some structural adjustments so that your home will support the added weight of the new roof. Ideally, you want all of these situations to be dealt with before winter. This gives you time to have your roof installed and ready for the extreme weather to come.

4.  Restrictions

There are several restrictions to consider when building a new roof. Many state and community codes restrict certain types of roofing from being installed. For example, if you live in an area where more severe natural disasters occur, like earthquakes or tornados, you may not be allowed to install specific types of roof shingles that could be easily broken or blown away. Your structural engineer or roofer may also have restrictions on when they are allowed to build. Since installing a roof is ideally done before winter comes, most contractors may have their own deadline on when they will stop construction for the season, especially for safety reasons.

Lastly, if you live in a private or gated community, you may have to abide by certain building contracts. These are the contracts that say you will stick to a specific type of roofing single or material that matches the rest of the community.

5. Maintenance

Maintaining your roof’s structure throughout the year, especially in winter, can have a substantial impact on how long it lasts. Snow can build up if you’re in an area with heavy snowfall. Therefore, if your roof isn’t properly maintained, this can lead to caving, ice dams, and small leaks. If your roof shows signs of any issues, address them immediately to prevent further damage. Although both metal and asphalt shingles are great options for tough winter conditions, you should also consider getting a home warranty to protect against any other damages or issues caused by the snow. Making sure you have an adequate home warranty that covers your roof will give you peace of mind when an issue arises and you need to get it fixed.

Final Thoughts

Both metal roofing and traditional asphalt shingles are exceptional options when choosing what roof material to use when you’re in a climate that experiences lots of ice and snow. In some ways, this may be easier if you’re starting with a fresh build. The reason is that you won’t have to deal with the previous roof and mess with the structure of the house. It all comes down to how much you want to spend and what look you want for your home. Each option has pros and cons. Therefore, finding which one works best for you, your budget, and your home is ideal. Planning is key so try your best to prepare before the heavy point of winter comes


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