What Type of Roof is Best in Cold Climates?

Published On December 23, 2020 | By admin | Home Improvement

Roofs, by nature, are exposed to the elements—heat, wind, moisture, and extreme weather conditions like storms.

It’s why when you live in a particularly cold climate, one of your priorities when constructing your home is to invest in a roofing system that is designed to hold up against the harsh colds and prepared for things like snow, hail storms, and ice dams.

In no particular order, we’ll review some of the best roofs for colder climates.

Slate Tile

Weather resistance is the key-selling point of slate roofs—they are unyielding to fire, mould, and moisture. Its low water absorption also makes it resistant to frost damage and even breakage due to freezing. They can also weather through heavy storms, snowfall, hail storms, and other extreme weather conditions and due to the high density of slates, they can provide good insulation, too.

All these features make slate roofs virtually indestructible and practically a lifetime investment that can last anywhere from 50-200 years.


Metal roofs offer several features that make them a great option for homes situated in areas prone to harsh cold weather. First, they are pretty durable, having a lifespan of 40-80 years. They are lightweight and have a smooth surface that lets ice and snow easily slide right off. It also prevents the formation of ice ridges on the side of the roof.

But, because snow and ice can easily slide off a metal roof, it’s necessary that you install snow guards or heating cables to make sure that they slide off little by little.


While relatively cheaper, asphalt shingles are just as good as any other option in offering protection against the low temperatures of the winter season. They are durable enough to withstand the cold, but when the weather becomes a little bit harsher, they tend to become less flexible, putting them at risk of cracks.

On a positive side, you can find heavyweight shingles that offer more protection and energy-efficient benefits.

Concrete Tile

Roofs made from concrete are recommended for people living in areas that are prone to heavy snowfall as they are strong enough to support the extra weight. What’s great about this option is that they are available in a wide range of colours as well, making it easy for you to find one that complements your taste.

What you should keep in mind, however, is that concrete tiles can be quite heavy. So, you have to make sure that the frame can hold their weight.

Ice dams, burst pipes, leaks, etc.—if you live in a cold climate, you have probably dealt with any of these problems at some point. The good news? Aside from your material of choice, there are many ways you can avoid these issues and more by being intentional on your roof design.

In conclusion, below are some roof design ideas that are tailor-made for winter or colder climates.

  1. Avoid openings in the roof. Whether it’s for a chimney, skylight, or gable, cutting holes into your roof creates potential risks for leaks and water accumulation. While we don’t advise you to stay away from these features, we are telling you to do so with proper knowledge and precaution.
  2. Dedicate a place where the roof can shed safely. Make sure as well that you provide a walkway that is not directly below the roof edges. This is particularly crucial if you have metal roofs because as said earlier, they can shed snow quickly.
  3. Invest in a snow-melting system. This is not cheap, but it may be worth it if you’re spending a great deal of money to remove snow each winter anyway.

There are many other options for your roofing and it’s up to you to decide which best fits the cold climate you are in. You can also talk to your roofers to offer recommendations based on your style, budget, and preferences. Also, when you need to fix or clean some parts of your roofing system, calling a roof replacement contractor is always the best thing to do.

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