It seems like a new climate-related disaster is making national headlines every day. Therefore, it is more critical than ever to build with weather resistance in mind. As the home’s first line of defense against the forces of nature, the roof should be the center of attention in this regard. According to Jeff Gutherie of Mesa Roofing Company

“When it’s time to choose your roofing materials, it’s not just about what looks good—it’s about picking the right materials that can handle your local climate. Whether it’s asphalt, metal, or clay tiles, make sure your roof is ready for whatever weather comes your way.” 

With this expert testimony in mind, keep reading as we explore the various factors to navigate when constructing residential roofs for handling climate challenges. 

Wind Resistance

Of the myriad climate-related events striking the country, extreme winds are usually at the heart of the chaos. Rapid heating and cooling of the atmosphere produces winds that cause hurricanes, tornadoes, and promote the spread of wildfires. Without the proper materials, roof leaks are all but a certainty any time wind speeds exceed 50 MPH–well short of the speeds found during these types of violent storms.

Metal and composite shingles are the best materials for extreme winds. They can withstand speeds up to 160 MPH, providing the best wind resistance on the market. Clay and slate are also strong choices. They are quite durable, but can crack if struck by massive projectiles. Once damage starts on these heavy roofing types, it can create a bit of a domino effect that is difficult to remedy. Basic asphalt shingles and wood shakes are the worst roofing materials for high winds. They are not meant to be exposed to winds greater than 110 MPH. However, any asphalt shingle or wood shake roof greater than 15 years old will likely start experiencing damage once winds exceed 50 MPH. 

Fire Protection

Many parts of the western United States have faced historic wildfires in recent years, with low rainfalls and high winds causing epic blazes through thousands of miles of terrain. Sadly, fire is no longer just a threat to this traditionally arid region, with wildfires plaguing Canada and parts of the northeastern United States for most of the past year. This has made homeowners insurance expensive or impossible to obtain for millions of people.

As the roof is one of the most likely places for a fire to take hold, it is crucial to build with the most fire-resistant roofing materials on the market. Composite tiles, metal, slate, and clay are all Class-A Fire Resistant–the highest rating on the market–and should be the choice for anyone living in fire-prone areas. Similar to wind resistance ratings, basic asphalt and wood shakes are the least desirable materials for protecting against fire. 

Roof Insulation

Roof insulation is critical for protecting the home against extreme temperature fluctuations. This will help promote the comfort and energy efficiency of the home by providing greater R-value to the building envelope. Insulation is equally important to prevent rapid temperature fluctuations with low thermal mass roofing (metal) or gradual temperature changes with high thermal mass roofing (slate).

It is essential to check the condition of the roofing substrate prior to installing insulation. Heavy insulation materials can actually cause structural damage, compromising the safety and efficacy of the roof. At a minimum, examine the beams and girders and confirm that they have ample load-bearing capacity. If necessary, apply some structural b-decking to add shear support to the roofing substrate to more safely accommodate the additional weight. 

Proper Flashing

Flashing helps fortify the roof at key transition points. It is necessary around chimneys, vents, skylights, or any other place where a vertical edge intersects with the main roof. Flashing keeps moisture from trickling down these vertical surfaces and getting under the roofing materials. It is also critical to explore roof drip edge types when installing flashing. Drip edge is a standard component of modern roofs. It directs water running off the edge of the roof into the gutter. This keeps moisture from damaging the fascia. Drip edge flashing is doubly important during times of extreme weather, as it keeps blowing precipitation from getting beneath the roof’s surface materials. 

Gutter Maintenance

Speaking of gutters, they are a key piece of the equation for a roof to be able to withstand extreme weather. Many areas are getting a year’s worth of precipitation dumped on them in a few days. Without the proper gutter function, the heavy runoff will back up onto the roof. Not only does this put the roof itself at risk of water damage, but it can lead to erosion near the foundation of the home if it splashes down in unexpected areas. Not only is it important to ensure that the gutters are clean and in proper working condition, but it is worthwhile to upgrade to more sturdy steel gutters in areas prone to high winds and heavy precipitation. 

Install a Complete Roofing Infrastructure and Stay Ahead of Climate Challenges

With climate-related weather events striking with unprecedented force, it is crucial to ensure that modern roofs are built with the most durable materials possible. For additional means of protecting your home amid the changing climate, explore the resources at Construction Daily for the latest insights in the residential construction industry.