When strength and durability are a priority, you’ll want to ask these questions when searching for the strongest type of roof:
- Is the roof weather-resistant?
- What is the roof’s rating for hail impact?
- What is the roofing materials fire rating?
- How is the roof rated for high winds and wind uplift?
- How long does the roof last?
- What type of warranty does it come with?
Here is an overview of the most common types of roofing materials and what to look for when it comes to strength and durability.
Types of Roofing Materials
Asphalt shingles: Asphalt shingles are one of the most popular types of roofing materials, mainly due to its price. Made from petroleum-derived products, asphalt shingles are the cheapest roofing material on the market.
Clay and concrete tiles: Traditional tile roofs are made from molded clay or terracotta, then baked at a high temperature. Tile roofs can also be made from concrete. As one of the heaviest roofing materials, clay and concrete tiles may require additional construction to support its weight.
Metal roofing: Metal roofs can be made from a variety of different metals, including copper, aluminum and steel. Metal is the second most popular type of roofing material due to its durability and longevity. While it is slightly more expensive than asphalt roofs, it lasts two to three times longer.
Wood shake and wood shingles: Wood roofs were widely popular up until the early 1900s when more affordable and durable roofing materials were introduced. Most wood shake and shingle materials today are cut or split from cedar, cypress, pine or redwood. The term wood shakes and wood shingles are used interchangeably, but there is a subtle difference. A wood shingle is sawed on both sides with a thinner 1/2" butt. The thicker 3/4" shake is usually split down one or both sides.
What to Look for in a Weather-Resistant Roof
Given the wide variety of climates in the U.S., you’ll want to consider the weather conditions that impact your specific region. For example, a home in a tropical climate, such as Hawaii, would need a corrosion-resistant roof that can also withstand high winds, heavy rains, wind-driven rain and humidity. A home in a snow-prone area requires a roof that is resistant to repeated freeze / thaw cycles.
When looking for the strongest type of roofing material for your home, you’ll want to ensure the roof checks the following boxes:
- Hail: Look for a roof that has the highest Class 4 impact rating.
- Fire: Ensure the roofing material has a Class 4 fire rating.
- Hurricanes, Tornadoes and High Winds: Miami-Dade County in Florida has the strictest building codes in the nation due to the constant landfall from hurricanes. Even if you’re not in Florida, look for a roof that meets the high-velocity hurricane zone requirements of Miami-Dade for top-tier protection from wind.
- Earthquakes: Extra reinforcement to the roof deck can help withstand tremors in seismically active regions, such as Costa Rica.
- Salt Air and Humidity: Check that the roofing material can resist rust and oxidation in moist and humid salt air environments.
- Snow and Ice: Non-porous, lightweight roofing materials that can withstand repeated freeze and thaw cycles are ideal if living in an area with a lot of snow and ice.
In addition to how a roof performs against the elements, make sure to factor in these critical components of a durable roof as well:
- Lifespan: Strength and durability are directly correlated to a roof’s longevity. Be wary of roofing products that seem too good to be true. For example, asphalt shingles are the cheapest roofing material on the market, but you get what you pay for. Asphalt shingles need to be replaced every 12 - 20 years whereas metal roofing lasts two to three times longer than traditional roofing materials such as asphalt shingles, clay tile and wood.
- Warranty: A warranty shows the roofing manufacturer is confident in the quality of its product. Be sure to read the fine print carefully. For instance, some asphalt manufacturers charge for different types of warranties and provide only basic coverage for the product (if at all). Other manufacturers may prorate the length of the warranty, so in just a few years, only a fraction of the roof is covered. Look for a roof that comes standard with a Lifetime Limited Warranty that covers hail and wind. Bonus points if the warranty can be transferred to the new owner if the home sells.
So, what type of roof is weather-resistant and checks all the boxes above?
When durability and longevity are your priorities, you’ll want to consider metal roofing.
The Durability and Longevity of Metal Roofing
Metal roofing has dominated the industrial sector for well over a century. Warehouses, factories and other industrial properties all benefited from the strength, durability and longevity that only metal roofing can provide.
While metal roofing provided industrial strength and durability, it historically lacked the style, beauty and aesthetics required for most residential buildings.
This changed in 1957 when stone-coated metal roofing was introduced. Designed to bridge the gap between industrial durability and architectural beauty, metal roofing gave homeowners a durable roofing solution without sacrificing on style.
Today, metal is the second most popular roofing material in the U.S.–and for good reason.
All metal roofing products are weather-resistant and come with a long list of benefits, including:
- Longevity: Metal roofs are known for their longevity and can last anywhere from 40 to 70 years.
- Durability: Metal roofs are resistant to hail, high wind, tornadoes, hurricanes, fire and nearly anything else Mother Nature has to offer.
- Energy-Efficient: Metal roofs are one of the most energy-efficient roofs on the market and can reduce energy costs by up to 25%.
- Low Maintenance: Metal roofs are extremely low maintenance and don’t require the frequent upkeep, treatments and repairs that traditional roofing materials do.
- Environmentally Friendly: Metal roofs are a sustainable product and are 100% recyclable at the end of their lifespan. Because they are so lightweight, metal roofs often eliminate the need for a tear-off of the existing roof, which diverts waste from landfills.
- Strength-to-Weight Ratio: Metal roofs provide an exceptional strength-to-weight ratio because they add reinforcing shear strength to the roof deck, which is critical for homes in hurricane and earthquake-prone regions. Additionally, metal roofs don’t require any additional reinforcement or construction to support the weight of the roof.
>>>Related Resource: Read 10 Things You Need to Know About Metal Roofing.
About DECRA Metal Roofing
If you’re looking for the strongest type of roof, you’re looking for a DECRA metal roof. Since 1957, DECRA Metal Roofing has set the industry standard for durability and longevity. Manufactured at our state-of-the-art facility in California, DECRA products are extensively tested by third-party labs to ensure that each and every panel we produce meets our strict standards for quality. Ready to see and feel the DECRA difference? Click here to order a free sample.