Snow blankets the landscape, covering up dirt and giving everything a fresh, clean makeover. For those who live in cold climates, snow means cozy nights by the fire and fun outdoor activities. For your home, snow means a lot of added stress to the roof.
In places like Alaska, Massachusetts and Wyoming, roofs need to be durable enough to handle high winds from blizzards. They also must be able to bare extra weight from accumulated snow. Ten inches of snow can weigh 5 pounds per square foot. The size, age and pitch of your roof determine how much weight it can hold. So, it’s a good idea to use an online snow load calculator before shopping for your new roof. With all these demands, there are a few ideal materials to choose from.
Slate roofs have long been the standard for winter homes. They work best on sloped surfaces, allowing snow to easily slide off. Slate is strong enough to withstand all kinds of storms and is even fire-resistant.
Many homeowners are attracted to the classic, upscale appearance of slate. However, it comes with a hefty price tag. Slate is heavy, so you may have to enforce the structure of your roof if you choose this material. Once installed, there is very little maintenance and your roof will last from 75 to 200 years.
A metal roof will last from 40 to 70 years, which is still long compared to traditional asphalt. Metal is an ideal material for cold climates because snow and ice melt quickly on it. Its smooth texture allows any accumulation to slide right off. This means the roof isn’t holding extra weight and doesn’t need to be reinforced.
On the downside, metal roofing doesn’t protect against the cold. You may need to install extra insulation. Metal dents easily and depending on the type of system you purchase, repairs could be tricky. New panels will likely have a slightly different shade than older ones.
If you have a tight budget, then fiberglass asphalt shingles will be your best option. Asphalt roofs last between 25 and 50 years. They are not as durable as the other two options, but repairs are fairly easy. High winds can blow shingles off, opening the door for water damage, so the condition of the roof should be checked after every storm. If you choose a fiberglass asphalt roof, then opt for architectural shingles. These are more durable and will last longer.