What is the Best Roofing Material for Costa Rica?

Trevor Underwood • June 8, 2020

What is the Best Roofing Material for Costa Rica?


Facing the Variety of Climate Challenges in Costa Rica 

With an average latitude just 10 degrees north of the equator, the tropical paradise of Costa Rica has unique climate and topographical challenges to consider when choosing a roofing material. 

One of the main challenges is that Costa Rica doesn’t experience the typical four seasons;  instead, they have two extended wet and dry seasons that can take a toll on conventional roofing materials like asphalt, wood, and tile. 

In addition to the two extreme seasons, roofs in Costa Rica need to withstand:

  • powerful solar radiation 
  • sudden tropical storms that can dump enormous amounts of rain for 2-5 days
  • high humidity
  • seismic activity 
  • cyclones and high winds from tropical storms and the El Nino effect


Fortunately, DECRA Metal Roofing is engineered to endure the elements. 

Read on to learn why DECRA is the best performing roof for homes and buildings in Costa Rica. 

Limitations of Asphalt, Wood, and Tile Roofing in Costa Rica

With conventional roofing materials in Costa Rica, problems are mainly caused by the intense bombardment of sun and rain.

Asphalt

Short-lived asphalt shingles don’t fare as well in the dry season and are prone to premature delamination, curling, and fishmouthing. The intense ultraviolet solar exposure causes them to become brittle and decompose even more quickly than they do in the U.S. or Europe. When asphalt roofs warp and become brittle in the dry season, they can leave the underlying roof deck prone to leaks and mold when the inevitable rainy season follows.

DECRA Shingle XD

can replicate the look of asphalt shingles with the strength and longevity that only stone-coated steel can offer. While asphalt shingles only last, on average, 10 - 20 years (less in Costa Rica), DECRA Shingle XD is engineered to endure the sun, rain, and Costa Rican elements. 

Wood

Wood roofing brings with it a host of maintenance, performance, and durability issues. In the moist climate of Costa Rica, wood shake and shingle roofs are considered unsuitable as a roofing material as they are subject to rot from the high humidity.

DECRA Shake XD and DECRA Shake roofing profiles can provide the texture and robust dimensions of wood shake roofing to create durable, rot-resistant roofs that can endure the Costa Rican elements. 


Tile

The intense solar radiation in Costa Rica can take a toll on delicate tile roofs and require frequent maintenance, but simply walking on a tile roof can cause fracturing -- making maintenance a tricky operation. Due to their susceptibility to cracks and fractures, tile roofs in Costa Rica typically need to be built over underlying metal roofs to prevent leaks during the rainy season. 

DECRA Villa Tile and DECRA Tile can replicate the beauty and vivid detail of both barrel and scalloped style architectural themes. The strength of multi-layered steel and DECRA's proprietary acrylic bonded stone-coating results in a fully walkable roof that can withstand the heat and rain of Costa Rica.

Seismic Activity 

In addition to withstanding intense sun and rain, the frequent seismic activity in Costa Rica needs to be considered as well. The same geological plates that gave rise to Costa Rica’s 150 volcanoes make the region very seismically active, so finding a lightweight roofing material that adds reinforcing shear strength is ideal. 


You might think that a heavy roofing material adds to the building’s structural integrity, but heavy roofs like asphalt shingles provide nothing in the way of additional strength. The excessively heavy weight actually requires additional support and construction for underlying roof decks bearing the burden of the weight.

DECRA stone-coated steel substrates add layers of shear strength at just 3,700 to 4,500 pounds compared to asphalt, wood, or tile roofs that can weigh between 12,000 and a whopping 45,000 pounds.

How DECRA Metal Roofing Stands Up to the Costa Rican Elements 

As we mentioned, the challenge for any roofing system in the varied terrain and conditions of Costa Rica is the ability to withstand intense solar radiation, heavy rainfall, high humidity, seismic activity, and high winds. 

Here’s how DECRA metal roofs are able to withstand the Costa Rican elements:

  • Intense Solar Radiation:The solar reflectivity and infrared blocking pigments in DECRA’s stone-coated steel dispel intense solar radiation up and away from roofs, unlike asphalt shingles and other roofing materials that absorb heat like a sponge. 
  • Heavy Rainfall and High Humidity: All DECRA roofing products are manufactured with multi-layered, high-grade carbon steel hot dipped and coated on both sides with a corrosion-resistant 55% aluminum-zinc alloy. DECRA conducts rigorous tests to ensure that all products can withstand high-corrosion, moist, high-humidity, and salt air environments such as Costa Rica.
  • High Winds: DECRA stone-coated steel roofing profiles feature a unique interlocking system, high-strength fasteners with documented pull-out resistance, and lab-tested installation procedures to verify that our roofs protect against wind far beyond the limits of conventional roofing materials. DECRA roofs also have the resilience and durability to withstand the most challenging wind conditions, even in Florida’s high-velocity hurricane zones.
  • Earthquake resistance: Lightweight DECRA stone-coated steel is the only way to provide extra reinforcing shear strength to the roof deck to withstand the frequent tremors in seismically active Costa Rica.  Conventional materials such as heavy asphalt shingles and clay or concrete tiles only add dead weight resulting in a top-heavy home with minimal extra roof reinforcement.

Energy Efficiency in Costa Rica

Energy efficiency is another important factor to consider when choosing a roofing material in Costa Rica. The tropical environment and intense solar radiation can make cooling costs a significant expense. 

Since DECRA metal roofs reflect heat up away from buildings, they are considered one of the most energy-efficient roofing materials on the market because of their ability to: 


  • Radiate up to 90% of solar energy up and away from the roof
  • Increase thermal performance by up to 218% as compared to asphalt shingles.
  • Save homeowners between 25% - 40% in energy costs.

Learn more about the energy-saving properties of DECRA Metal Roofing here

About DECRA Metal Roofing


 With the resilience and durability to protect homes in all regions and all climates, DECRA Metal Roofing is the perfect roofing solution for meeting the challenges of the unique tropical climate of Costa Rica. The strength of high-grade steel and durable stone coatings make DECRA Metal Roofing the reigning champion of roofing materials in top 
performance categories.


When you’re ready to join more than 1,000,000 homeowners who have chosen DECRA to protect their home, 
contact a DECRA expert advisor today.