How old is your roof? Each year when your insurance renewal time arrives (or if you are shopping for a new provider) it seems as though the insurance agent asks this question. Your roof is one of the most important elements of the building structure. It protects your Anchorage home from the elements and damage while providing a sense of security and protection for the residents who live within the homes walls. There are several different roofing materials available and choosing the proper roofing material for the climate in which you live is critical to maintaining the structure of your home. If you live in a climate that is prone to hurricanes or strong winds, you will want to choose a roof that is resistant to wind and storm damage. Similarly, if you life in a climate where wildfires are common, you will want to select a roofing material that is resistant to fire damage.
Living here in the Anchorage area, we are prone to heavy snows and colder temperatures. As with wind, rains and fire, colder climates require special considerations as well. If you are currently building a new residence or working with a contractor to replace a roof that is in need of changing, be sure to speak to them about the appropriate roofing for our special climate needs here in Anchorage. Below we have addressed some of the questions you will want to talk to your contractor about when it comes to roofing selection for your home.
Do I need a cold climate roof?
The coldest states in the United States include Vermont, Colorado, North Dakota and Alaska (along with a few others). In these states cold weather and heavy snowfalls are common during the winter season in which some storms drop a feet of snow all at once. If you live in a climate where excessive snow load and cold weather are common place, you need to choose a material for your roof that can withstand the weight of snow and ice while protecting your home from cold and heat loss. Not all roofing materials are created for this purpose.
How are cold climate roofs different?
Many winter storms in cold weather states such as those listed above bring snow, ice and cold but also high winds and blizzard conditions. So, not only does the roofing material need to be strong enough to handle snow load, it needs to do double duty and be strong enough to withstand the high winds that bring the snow. Also, it needs to do all of this while keeping your home warm and free of leaks. This can be a lot to ask of a material that is not ideally suited for the job. Roofing material that is designed for cold climates is generally significantly more durable than roofing that is designed for more temperate climates. It is also designed to be “slippery” so ice and snow are more likely to slide off the roof as opposed to building up and causing stress on the roof and building stricture due to weight. Additionally, most cold weather roofing is designed to enhance the heat retention of your home.
What are my options for roof types in Alaska?
There are a few different options people often consider when choosing a roofing material that is suited for cold weather and snow. These can include:
Slate shingles (slate tiles)
Slate roofing has been a popular roofing material for a very long time. Slate shingles are very durable and have a pleasant appearance. Slate, being a type of stone does very well in colder temperatures making it an ideal choice for regions where temperatures drop to very cold levels during the winter. Slate is also strong enough to handle many of the different weather patterns Mother Nature has to officer including wind, hail and even fire. Slate shingles (or tiles) are also well suited for slanted or sloped roofs which are the preferable design for areas where a lot of snow is common.
Slate does have a couple of negative points as well. First, slate can be very expensive and heavy. Some homeowners find the cost to be prohibitive and will look for alternate options. The extra weight of a slate roof will also require reinforcement of the structure of the home before a slate roof can be installed.
Another hallmark roofing choice for cold climates is metal roofing. Metal roofing is highly resistant to snow and ice formation as the metal is slippery and the ice and snow generally slide off. This results in reduced concerns about the added weight of ice and snow build up on your roof which can eventually lead to structural issues. Metal roofing can also withstand high winds and storm conditions which makes it ideal for the conditions we often see here in Alaska. Metal roofing comes in large sheets as opposed to individual tiles or shingles which makes it very hard to dislodge once installed.
Unfortunately, metal roofing is not very thick and does require additional insulation in colder climates. Without extra insulation you the homeowner may notice your heating system needing to work a little extra to keep your home warm. Metal roofing can also be a bit pricey and may dent if something heavy were to fall on it. However, metal roofing does have a very, very long lifespan which means it is unlikely you will need to replace your roof any time soon.
Most homeowners don’t think much about the roof that protects them until something goes wrong. Most professional home inspectors suggest you have your roof inspected on a regular basis in the spring and fall. The inspection should include the attic or space between your ceiling and rafters. Look for beams of light or wet spots. This is a tell tale sign of a leaky roof in need of replacement! A typical asphalt shingle roof lasts between 20 and 25 years.
If you think (or know) your roof is in need of repair or replacement it is highly suggested you contact a professional contractor Anchorage. Roofing is not necessarily a do-it-yourself project and is not without danger and risk. To properly complete a roofing project one would need staging and an understanding of how to strip the old roof and properly prepare the underpayment for a new roof. Failure to properly apply the new roofing material could expose your home to leaks and ceiling damage due to water entering through poorly sealed seams. Additionally, there is the risk associated with walking around on a slanted surface. Many roofs in a cold, snow prone climate have a rather steep pitch. This is to facilitate snow falling off the roof as opposed to building up on top of the roof. Many professional contractors have many years of experience with this along with the proper licensing and insurance required in case of unforeseen issues. If you are considering a new roof, contact a professional company like Crighton & Cooper Construction. We have many years of experience in the construction industry and can provide you with detailed information regarding the cost and process associated with replacing or repairing your roof. Your roof is one of the most important structures of your home. Do not let disrepair or storm damage cause further issues within the living space of your home. contact us at Crighton & Cooper Construction today to learn about replacing your roof!