From heavy snowfalls to hurricanes to scorching temperatures, most homeowners have to contend with difficult weather patterns regardless of where they live. That’s why it’s important to have the right roofing system installed to protect your home and your family.
Let’s examine some common harsh weather patterns and the best roofing choices for each.
Heavy winter snows and summer rain
Pitched roofs are an ideal choice for homes residing in climates with high accumulations of rain and snow.
The pitch of the roof makes it easy for melting snow and falling rain to slide off the roof, minimizing the risk of water damage.
Due to the popularity of the pitch roofing style, nearly every form of residential roofing material is suitable for combating heavy snowfall and intense rain, including asphalt shingles, tile, metal, and wood shake. Metal might be an ideal choice for areas with a lot of snowfall due to its ability to fight office dams and its extreme durability.
But lest we forget to mention the importance of the right underlayment. The proper underlayment paired with its corresponding roofing material will greatly increase the roofing system’s overall durability. Thicker underlayment is applicable for tile and metal systems while modified or synthetic underlayment is usually installed with asphalt shingles.
Read onward about popular pitched roofing materials:
- Is It Smart to Install Slate Shingles on a Normal Home?
- The Homeowner's Complete Metal Roofing Guide
- The Ultimate Shingle Roofing Guide
- Concrete Roof Tiles 101
High annual rainfall and strong winds
Pitched roofs and flat roofs are well suited for climates with high precipitation and strong winds, although each comes with its own strengths and weaknesses.
As stated above, pitched roofs allow for easy removal of rainwater, greatly reducing the chance of roof leaks. However, pitch roofs are susceptible to wind damage. Strong winds can strip away shingles and tiles and tear off gutters, downspouts, and soffits.
Flat roofs, on the other hand, hold up well under severe winds. Flat roofing material lay flat and offer little for winds to tear away. But flat roofs don’t drain nearly as well as pitched roofs. It’s common for flat roofs to suffer from ponding water and moisture penetration.
TPO, EPDM, and built-up systems are great flat roofing materials to combat drainage problems. Consistent maintenance and inspections will go a long way in preserving the life and functionality of a flat roof.
Find out more about how high winds and strong rain impact roofs:
- How a Leaking Roof Will Affect Your Home Long-term
- How to Spot Roof Damage After Severe Winds
- How to Quickly Repair a Leaking Roof During Heavy Rain
Dry, persistent heat and summer storms
In climates such as the Southwest, homeowners have to consider the effect of persistent and constant heat. Flat and pitched roofs will function well in high temperatures, but thermal shock is a common threat to many roofing materials.
Thermal sock is what happens when a scorching roof receives significant rainfall. The cool rain dampens and drops the roof materials temperature, causing the individual shingles, tiles, or rubber (in the case of a flat roof) to shrink.
As the roof rapidly drops in temperature the roof’s materials can crack and warp. Essentially, the roof is shrinking on the surface much faster than the bottom can tolerate.
In some cases, the roof temperature may drop as much as 100 degrees Fahrenheit within 5 to 10 minutes. You can imagine the stress such a drastic change causes.
Flat roofing materials, like EPDM, TPO, and built-up roofs, tolerate thermal shock about equally. Inspecting the roof regularly will prevent catastrophic problems, and a maintenance plan should be in place.
Clay tiles are a popular choice on pitched roofs in dry climates due to their ability to withstand extremely high temperatures. But classic choices like asphalt shingles and metal also work well.
If you choose shingles or metal, it may be best to pick a “cool” option to reduce the roof’s overall temperature and aid in energy efficiency.
Read more about energy-efficient roof options:
- Roof Coating FAQ: Everything You Need to Know
- Green Up Your New Roofing System
- 3 Methods to Make Your Roof and Home More Energy Efficient