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Roofs are designed to protect against snow, strong winds, and rainwater, all of which have a high potential to cause damage to buildings. Roofs are designed to perform different functions, and the designs generally vary according to location and climatic conditions.

Buildings located in dry regions like the Middle East tend to have flat roofs because they are rarely subjected to precipitation of any form. On the other hand, buildings located in Canada, the United States, and Northern Europe are subjected to colder and wetter climatic conditions.

The roofs of these buildings usually look like a step to ensure the easy flow of snow and water through them. You might already know that roofs are designed to allow water to flow easily from the ridges to the eaves. The big question is, how do they fare against the snow? Keep reading to learn more about the top roofing materials for heavy snow.

Common Winter Storm Elements That Damage Roofs

If you live in areas with extremely snowy winters, you must ensure that your roof is strong enough to withstand the weight of snow and ice, freeze/thaw cycles, and the effects of strong winds. These are some threats to have in mind, so here's more information you should know about each threat.

Ice dams

Water is the most common concern regarding the roofing system, which becomes a more severe problem after freezing. Melted snow heads to the gutters, and when it freezes, it can block your drainage. This can cause water to seep under the shingles and gain entry to your building.

The dangers of this are that it can cause damage to your drywall and insulation. In addition, the increase in moisture level can increase the potential for the growth of mold and mildew.

Heavy snow

Snow varies in weight, whether wet, fluffy, light, or tightly compacted. The total amount of weight your roof can hold is a crucial thing to consider, and this mainly depends on the durability of the shingles, the type of snow, the pitch, and the structural design of the roof.

Roofs generally vary in what they can hold, which is also influenced by the material they are made of. It's essential to examine the state of your roof periodically to avoid unnecessary problems.

Strong winds

The wind is another factor to consider. In many cases, the wind brings heavy snow and rain at high speed. If you're living in regions with high winds, it's vital to ensure that your roof is strong enough to withstand their impact.

A key thing to note is that older roofs don't effectively withstand storms and strong winds. With everything above, let us now look at the different types of roofing materials that can withstand ice and snow.

Types of Roofing Material for Snow

The top types of roofing materials to consider include the following:

Fiberglass asphalt shingles

This is one of the most popular shingles across the world. Asphalt shingles made with a fiberglass mat are used in about two-thirds of houses within the United States. The roofs have become a mainstay because they are relatively cheap and easy to find. You can find them in most local depots.

The main reason they have gained wide acceptance is their ability to hold snow, rain, and strong winds, which means it's a material for cold climates. In addition, they come with a 20 to 30 years warranty. However, it's advisable to perform regular roof maintenance to preserve its lifespan.

Even though this is a roofing material for cold climates, it's important to note that it has a few downsides. For example, these shingles have a limited lifespan, unlike other roofs that can withstand wind moving as fast as 135 miles per hour. This roof is a great option to use against snow because it helps to retain heat within the interior part of homes.

Cement S-tiles

This is made of cement and concrete, and it's excellent for its ability to withstand snow and ice. It is also durable against different weather conditions. These roof tiles are quite common, and you can easily find them in most local depots. The main selling point is that they're not vulnerable to physical impacts like hailstorms.

Also, if you're looking for an option that can withstand intense storms and winds, they are a perfect choice for homes exposed to snowy conditions, and you can be sure to enjoy proper insulation within your home.

Synthetic shingles

Another option to consider is synthetic shingles because they are lightweight and similar in appearance to stone or wood. They are a great option to consider for people living in regions with cold climates mainly because they are durable and can easily resist the effects of freeze-thaw cycles and high winds.

Another thing to note is that they possess good insulative properties, which makes them more energy efficient. Also, synthetic shingles are not susceptible to cracking, warping, splitting, or rot, even though they look like wood.

Metal roofing

Metal roofing has become the preferred choice for industrial and commercial buildings over the past few years. They are suitable for use on buildings in colder climates, and this is because they are long-lasting and durable.

Also, metal roofing can easily complete the style of most houses, irrespective of the style. Metal roofs are also designed to minimize the effects of ice dams and protect against ice thaws.

Passive solar panels

This is not a common roofing material, but it's an option that you'll find in the market. Passive solar panels are ideal for cases that require heat absorption to effectively melt down the snow, especially snow that gets stuck on the roof. With that, it can easily flow toward your home's drainage system.

This differs from active solar panels, designed to convert energy from the sun into electricity. With passive solar panels, the energy is used to melt snow off your roof and further preserve it during winter.

Slate tile roofing

The final option that you should consider is slate roofing. This is an option that has been around for centuries and has been widely used mainly because it is durable and aesthetically appealing. The lifespan of slate tile roofing lies between 40 to 60 years. Another impressive thing is that it provides enough insulation to keep your roof protected during snow, rain, or strong winds.

The only disadvantage of slate tile roofing is that they are costly. In addition, they are also heavy, implying that your roof will have to hold a lot of weight. Therefore, it's best to consider using another option if the supporting structure of your roof is not strong enough to withstand the weight.

Key Considerations When Buying a New Roof

If you live in regions with cold climates, there are certain things you must consider before you buy a new roof. This includes the materials used for the roof, as choosing a material that can effectively withstand different elements and offer a long lifespan is crucial.

Another thing to consider is energy efficiency because you won't want to spend so much on energy bills. The ultimate goal is for everyone in your home to feel comfortable, irrespective of the temperature outside. You might also want to consider including extra insulation to increase comfort further.

Choosing the Right Roofing Material for Snow

The two most common roofing options are asphalt and metal, especially for commercial roofing purposes. Metal offers more in terms of durability, but it is generally more expensive. On the other hand, asphalt is a lot cheaper, but you need to maintain it properly to preserve its lifespan.

If you're unsure which one to go for, it's best to consult with expert roofing contractors to help you select and install the right roof material for heavy snow conditions. Professional roofing contractors can also help you with snow removal if your roof is covered in a blanket of snow.

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