Types of Roofs and How they Withstand the Elements

Discover how different roofing materials are affected by weather and other elements.

Types of Roofs and How they Withstand the Elements


General wear and tear affects various types of roofs differently. While weather and climate will impact a roof over time, the level of damage they cause—and the level of resistance to these elements—can vary greatly depending on the roofing material. Annual inspections, regular maintenance and necessary roofing repairs are all efficient ways to help protect your roof and prolong its lifecycle. You should always have an experienced roofing contractor work on your roof, whether they’re installing a brand new one or repairing one that’s 20 years old, to ensure the job is done correctly. 


Materials: Durability and Maintenance

In addition to yearly inspections and regular upkeep, each type of roof may require specific maintenance based on the material it’s comprised of, architectural structure and climate conditions. Depending on the material, every roof will also withstand sun, rain, hail, wind and other forms of weather in different ways.


Wood shingles or shakes provide a beautiful aesthetic to a house with a natural look and good versatility, as long as they are made from strong lumber such as cedar or redwood. The quality of wood, proper installation, humidity and close proximity to saltwater are all factors that can adversely affect the longevity of a wood roof. Wood shingles can stand up to high winds as long as they are properly secured and nailed down; otherwise wind can loosen and lift shingles, or even rip them off completely.

Wood roofs should be pressure-treated and preserved with coatings or sealants that protect against continued exposure to the sun and rain, and to help avoid deterioration or rot from too much moisture. Without proper protection, exposure to UV rays will cause wood shingles to curl or cup and eventually fracture since they have become so brittle. This type of roof generally requires more upkeep compared with other materials (such as regular cleanings so the wood can “breathe”), but can last 10 to 15 years longer than standard asphalt shingles as long as it’s properly maintained.


Although asphalt shingles are economical and generally low-maintenance, they are also vulnerable to most types of weather. If they don’t have a protective coating, the sun can cause them to crack and decay. Hail can knock off granules on the surface of the shingles or leave marks and dents. Wind can also tear off asphalt shingles if they don’t have a flexible base, which leaves a roof exposed to wind, precipitation and other elements.

Modified asphalt shingles (made with a rubber-like compound) are a more durable option and will withstand weather better than regular asphalt shingles; they bend easily instead of tearing in high winds and are also highly resistant to hail.


Tile roofing is a sturdier and longer-lasting option that can endure the sun, wind, and rain. Concrete and stone tile are usually more durable; however, clay and porcelain tile may become brittle and break during a hailstorm or if hit by powerful winds. Clay tiles can withstand very high temperatures and regular exposure to sun, but they don’t hold up well in snow, ice or hail, which makes them a popular roofing choice in arid climates like the southwestern part of the U.S.

The key to tile roofing is to make sure it is properly installed by a roofing contractor because there are weight restrictions and most home’s architectural structure can’t support the weight of a heavy tile roof without reinforcement. Also keep in mind that while the tiles themselves may last for 50 years or longer, the underlayment – or base layer installed under the actual tile – will need to be replaced every 10 years to avoid cracks and leaks in the roof.


Metal roofs are very durable. They can keep out rain and moisture, as well as reflect radiant heat produced by the sun’s rays. Keep in mind though, that hail can easily dent this material, and, if not installed properly, metal roofs can experience more wind damage compared to asphalt and other types of roofing. It’s important to make any necessary roofing repairs as quickly as possible because prolonged damage can lead to broken or cracked shingles, torn or split seams or even missing sections on a metal roof.


Slate is one of the most durable types of roofing and stands up well to all types of weather. It can resist high winds, lock out rain and moisture and repel hail. Slate roofs are very strong mainly due to the fact that they are very heavy, and like tile, they require skilled roofing contractors to install them and usually will need extra architectural reinforcement. Regularly scheduled maintenance and quickly fixing any roofing repairs will ensure the durability and longevity of a slate roof.  


Roof Repairs and Roofing Contractors

General maintenance will usually involve some form of roofing repairs over the lifespan of a roof. However, some repairs may be more complex than others, depending on the type of roof and the type and extent of damage caused. Whether you’re dealing with a minor leak or fallen tree, an experienced roofing contractor can help you repair and restore your roof to its peak condition.


The information and advice contained in this article is intended as a general guide for informational purposes only. It does not take into account your personal situation. While we at Resolve have significant experience and history operating in the home restoration industry and working closely with construction contractors, we are not licensed as a general or specialty contractor. We encourage you to consider the information we’ve provided but urge you not to rely upon it in place of appropriate professional advice from a licensed, experienced construction contractor.  









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