The material that you install on the outside of your roof needs to be thought of as not just a style detail, but also as the first layer of protection. The actual roofing material is just one part of the overall roof structure when it comes to the performance, insulation, and durability of your roof. So, if you have a weak outer material, it could compromise the rest of your roof. For example, if your roofing material cracks and lets water underneath it, it could weaken the deck and cause serious problems. So, it is important to closely consider the strength and durability of any material, and not just the way that it looks.
In general, there is no set metric for the durability of a roof. Of course, most products will have a lifespan rating, which gives a good estimate of how long that material should last — but this is going to vary greatly from region to region. For example, a product that might last 100 years in a mild climate region could last less than 50 years in a cold or windy climate. So, you need to consider what materials are going to be most practical for precisely where you live.
What to Avoid
In general, if you live somewhere wet and cold, you want to avoid natural and unfinished materials. Wood shingles aren't the most water resistant material, and they probably aren't the most practical in a snowy climate. That being said, you will still see a lot of wooden shingles even in the coldest and snowiest climates. This is simply due to the fact that people love wood so much (and because it is relatively affordable) that they are willing to deal with a short lifespan in order to achieve the look they want. But, if you are mostly concerned about choosing a practical material, a non-porous stone, waterproof asphalt, or laminated composite material are going to be smarter choices.
The thickness of any material could also have a big impact on its durability. This is mainly an issue on homes in climates that are subject to hail storms. In these regions, a thin material, even if it does have a generous lifespan, is not going to be smart. Any cracks that might occur due to a hailstorm can damage your entire roof. You have to imagine that, over the lifespan of your roof, there will be at least one severe hail storm during that time period.
Basically, when it comes to choosing a roofing material, you need to be very mindful of even the rarest weather events so that you choose the right material. Contact a business like Centennial Home Improvement Roofing Contractor for more information.