Roofing Where You Live: Roofing Material Must Match Climate Considerations

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Have you been thinking about which type of roof is best for your home? Sure, different roofing materials and systems offer unique sets of advantages and disadvantages that you need to carefully study and consider, but have you also factored in your local climate during your search?

Not many people know that where they live can actually help determine which roofing materials are right for their home. Naturally, there will be overlaps, but including climate into the equation will help you make a good decision for the long term. You see, climate plays a huge role in how a roofing system will hold up and remain functional for years. Thus, learning about how each roofing option will perform under conditions specific to your area is a necessary step in choosing a roof.

Roofing Types and Where They Work Best

Asphalt shingles are virtually the most common and most versatile type of roofing material. This is the reason why you can see them installed in many homes throughout America, in any type of home you can name. Asphalt shingles hold up very well in most weather conditions, particularly heavy rain, moderate winds, snow, and small hail. However, they can be affected by consistent high heat and sunny weather, with their longevity reduced by 20% to 40%. When installed in hot, dry climates, asphalt shingles may curl and soften, making them easily blown off when high winds come. To help address this weakness, install light-colored shingles, which can reflect heat away better than their dark-colored counterparts.

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Metal is another roofing material that does well in any type of climate. Because metal roofs can handle all types of weather, they can last for 50 to 100 years, particularly when properly maintained. New metal roof styles are increasing in popularity, specifically because they can now be shaped to look like shakes and shingles and customized to fit unique curvatures. However, traditional standing seam panels still find favor in many homeowners. Also, gone are the days when only light-painted metal roofs offer high reflectivity values. You can now find metal roofs with dark yet “cool” colors, thanks to special additives that enhance their reflectivity and energy efficiency.

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Slate is a very durable roofing material. In fact, you can find some of the first slate roofs in the U.S. still intact until today. As rigid as they are, it’s not really a surprise how well they can hold up in all types of climate. Slate can resist heavy rains while giving a cooling effect on homes in tropical and warm regions. This type of roofing is also aesthetically versatile and attractive. They also now come in a wide range of colors, shapes, and textures, and may offer thermal properties that also help improve energy efficiency in the home.

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Clay tile roofs have now been made more durable than ever through advancements in manufacturing processes and the use of additives. While this has improved further how they resist heavy rains and high heat, clay tile roofs can still see damage from heavy snow, ice, and hail. The roofing material is best used over homes in the southern U.S. regions.

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Top Roofing Choices Per Climate

Almost all roofing types are sold in all parts of the country. However, roofing needs differ per climate and region, meaning certain options will be particularly suited for particular areas. To find what’s best for your home, consider these recommendations based on your local climate:

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  • This type of climate is characterized by high humidity and precipitation. In this type of climate, it is important to avoid algae growth. Asphalt shingles may be popular and widely available, but they are highly susceptible to algae growth, unless you are getting products that have algaecides.

The excellent choice for tropical climate is metal roofing, especially those that have been treated and coated to amplify waterproofing and resist rust.

  • In this type of climate, areas are warm all year, with summers extremely hot. By all means, avoid rubber roofing. You may find light-colored asphalt, but they are usually still darker than is recommended for hot climate areas.

The ideal material for this type of climate is clay tile. It can effectively block heat and resist wind and rain. If you find clay tiles a bit expensive, you can go for light-colored metal roofing instead.

  • The opposite of hot climate, cold climate is characterized by heavy snowfall that can go on for months, with moderate summers. Slate and tile roofing may not be good options as they are already heavy and the added weight from snow buildup may compromise your roof’s structural integrity.

The best option would be dark-colored asphalt shingles, since they can absorb as much heat from the sun as possible, helping warm up the indoor spaces below through passive heating. Rubber roofs are the next best choice as they offer wind resistance and can also help in retaining heat.

Now that you’ve learned about how popular roofing types perform in certain climates and which options will do great under certain circumstances, you now have a better idea which roofing material to choose for your home. To make sure you zero in on the best option, don’t hesitate to consult with a reputable roofing contractor in your area.

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Author Bio:

Tom Petrilli founded Lyons Contracting with the idea that Northern Virginia homeowners needed a new, more customer-centric approach to roof replacement. With the goal to always mee the client’s vision for their new roof, he offers a wide selection of traditional, contemporary, and custom roofing solutions. For updates from Tom, check out the company blog!

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