Rocky Mountain Roofs: Asphalt, Shake, or Metal?

Pie Consulting & Engineering’s headquarters is located just outside of Denver, Colorado within the geographic region commonly referred to as “Hail Alley.” This region is destined to endure multiple hailstorms per year. Colorado homeowners naturally want the best roof they can have to protect their home from water intrusion and achieve a maximum life cycle value meaning cost per year of effective service life. With steep-sloped roofing, several options are available to homeowners. We’re just going to talk about a few of them here:

Asphalt Shingles:

Asphalt shingles are the most widely installed steep-sloped roof with approximately 80% of the market share. Asphalt shingles are the least expensive feasible option for roofing steep-sloped roofs. While very popular in the U.S., they are known to NOT be a long life roofing product. Shingles are deemed “lifetime” by a manufacturer while in reality a 30 year life from the top shingles is sometimes a stretch. Asphalt shingles can be easily damaged by large hailstones. If using asphalt shingles, select the one with maximum thickness (on the entire shingle) and also one containing high asphalt content.

hail damage image

Wood Shakes or Shingles:

Wood shakes and shingles (in Colorado) have a similar effective service life as a high end asphalt shingle. Insurance companies typically dislike wood shake roofs because as they age, the shakes become a liability during a hail storm. The cost of this product is greater than that of asphalt shingles therefore making it a slightly more expensive investment. Shakes are typically chosen for their rustic look rather than their cost. Prior to selecting a shake it is imperative to understand local fire code requirements. When choosing a shake, choose a high grade, as a thicker shake will last longer than a thinner shake. Yearly maintenance, or repairing and replacing deteriorated and or damaged shakes on an annual basis will prove to be effective as the shakes age over time.

hail damage image 2

Metal Roofing:

Metal roofing comes in many forms including standing seam, corrugated, stone coated steel, etc. When properly designed and installed, typical metal roofs can last twice as long as an asphalt shingle roof, thus offsetting their high cost. These roofs can be damaged by hail impacts which cause dents in the metal. These dents are considered “cosmetic” and may not be covered by your homeowner’s policy. Metal roofing can be an attractive, long lasting alternative to shingle roofing. Based on my experiences, a “floating” system without exposed fasteners is the most effective metal roof.

Different roof types perform differently in hailstorms. Accurate knowledge of the specific product including both its properties and modes of failure is crucial when evaluating roofs for hail impact damage. In general, you pay for what you get. An inexpensive shingle roof might only last 15 years before it deteriorates to a point where it is more susceptible to damage by hail impacts. Whereas a more expensive roof, namely slate or tile, are known to last for more than 400 years and typically are not any more susceptible to hail until they are significantly aged.

Hail damage on metal roof

Tags: , , , ,

Trackback from your site.

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.