Are Sloped Roofs Better for Snowy Climates?

September 29, 2020 11:14 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

We don’t have to tell you how rough winters are here in The Last Frontier. Extremely low temperatures, high wind speeds and snow piles impact everything in our state, from road conditions to the stress it puts on commercial buildings and residential properties. As a premier provider of roofing materials, many people come to us with questions about pitched roofs in snowy climates in Alaska.

The right roof for Alaskan winters

Though you’ll find numerous home styles throughout our beautiful state, construction experts know that roof performance varies based on the different types of roofs for different climates in Alaska. Roof types vary based on material and pitch. That means home builders must consider the best options to use given the climate of the location.

Pitched vs non-pitched roofs

The phrase “pitched roof” refers to a roof that’s built at a slant. To determine pitch, a contractor uses the equation of rise divided by span. Rise signifies the height of the roof and span equates to the width. There are varying degrees of roof pitch, starting with 1/12, the flattest pitch you’ll find, all the way up to 12/12, a roof with a very steep slope.

As it relates to pitched roofs in snowy climates in Alaska, the steeper the pitch, the better. Flatter roofs cannot bear the weight of significant snow load. However, with a pitched roof, the snow load sheds more efficiently, especially if the contractor includes vents in the building’s construction.

Best materials for sloped roofs in colder climates

Not only do you need to consider a roof’s pitch when building a home or commercial building in Alaska’s cold climate, but you need to use the right materials to ensure the roof can withstand the weight of a large snow load:

  • Shingles: On a pitched roof, shingles provide reliable protection against the harsh winter conditions at a low cost. Cracking is a concern with shingles in extreme cold, though.
  • Slate tiles: The most expensive roofing material option, slate or stone tiles withstand the low temperatures, heavy winds and ice buildup that comes with a standard Alaskan winter.
  • Metal panels: The most cost-effective roofing material for homes and buildings in Alaska is metal panels. The smooth surface allows snow, ice and water to fall off the roof easily. Adding snow guards to a pitched metal roof ensures ice and precipitation safely slide off the surface. When installed properly, metal roofing maintains internal temperature while protecting the people inside from the moisture and cold. Metal roofing also keeps your home cool when summer temperatures peak. Investing in metal roofing dramatically reduces your utility bills throughout the year.

With over three decades of experience with roofing above the lower 48, Superior Products Inc. understands all of the nuances of pitched roofs in the snowy climate of Alaska. Contractors and home builders rely on us to supply the highest quality metal roofing panels. We provide free material estimates to help you create a complete budget for any project you’re undertaking. Contact us today for your free estimate.

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