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The Best Roofing Material for Cold Climates: A Comprehensive Guide to Choose the Right Roofing

best type of roofing for cold climates


When you live in a cold climate, different roofing system needs to be more than just aesthetically pleasing; it must withstand the elements. Choosing the right roofing material is crucial for areas where the temperature dips low and snowfall is a constant companion. This article will delve into the best roofing materials for cold climates, offering tips and insights to make an informed decision.

Best Roofing Materials for Cold Climates

Several factors come into play when choosing the best type of roofing material for cold climates. These factors include durability, insulation, and the capacity to handle heavy snow loads. Here are some of the best roofing materials suitable for cold climates:

Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles are one of the best roofing options for colder climates. They are affordable and provide excellent insulation against the cold. The asphalt allows them to remain flexible even in colder temperatures, reducing the risk of cracking. Their textured surface also offers an added advantage in enabling snow and ice to slide off easily.

Slate Roofing

Slate tile roofing is a classic roofing choice for cold climates. It’s one of the most durable roofing materials available and is excellent at withstanding snow and cold. It provides superior insulation and is virtually impervious to temperature fluctuations, making it a reliable cold-climate roof.

Synthetic Roofing

Modern synthetic roofing products offer durable, lightweight options that mimic the look of more traditional materials like slate or wood. These materials are also engineered to withstand extreme weather conditions, making them suitable for cold climates.

Metal Roofing

Though less common, metal roofs offer excellent roofing for cold and snowy climates. Snow slides off easily, preventing heavy accumulation. Metal roofing systems are also relatively low-maintenance and have a long lifespan.

Type of Roofing Material: How to Choose?

While many materials boast excellent properties, the best roofing material for cold climates will depend on specific factors like your location, budget, and design preferences. It’s crucial to consider the roofing material’s durability and ability to withstand snow and ice when choosing.

Roofing Option: Classic Vs. Modern

Choosing between classic roofing options like slate or asphalt shingles and modern synthetic options can be challenging. Classic options offer timeless aesthetics and proven durability, while modern synthetic materials provide lightweight, cost-effective solutions. The right choice will often depend on your specific needs and your home’s existing architecture.

Roof for Snow: Key Considerations

In a snowy environment, your roof must be designed to handle the weight of snowfall and facilitate its quick removal. The slope of the roof and the material’s surface can significantly affect its snow-shedding capabilities. Slate and metal roofing are excellent options when looking for a roof for snow, as they both facilitate easy snow removal.

Suitable for Cold Weather: Final Checklist

When it comes to finding a roofing material that is suitable for cold climates, consider the following checklist:

  1. Durability: How well does the material hold up under extreme weather conditions?
  2. Insulation: Does the material provide adequate insulation against cold weather?
  3. Snow Shedding: Can the roof efficiently shed snow, preventing build-up?
  4. LifespanWhich roof material lasts the longest?
  5. Aesthetic: Does the material fit with the architectural style of your home?
  6. Cost: Is it within your budget?


Living in a cold climate poses specific challenges for homeowners, not the least of which is choosing the best roofing material to withstand snow and cold. Asphalt shingles, slate tile roofing, synthetic roofing, and metal roofs are all excellent options, each with advantages and drawbacks.

By weighing the pros and cons and consulting with roofing professionals, you can choose the best option for cold climates. Whether you go for classic roofing materials like slate or modern synthetic options, make sure your choice is one of the best roofing materials available for enduring the rigors of a cold climate.

Cedar Shake Roof Cleaning in Des Moines Iowa
Cedar Shake Roof before & after cleaning

Meet Bruce

50 Years of Experience &
Over 2,000 Shake Roofs Cleaned

Bruce Sullivan has over 50 years of experience in maintaining, cleaning, and restoring cedar shake roofs. Making him one of the top authorities on cedar shake roofs in the US.

Watch the Cedar Shakes Cleaning Process in Action in this video

Play Video about Roof Cleaning How to Remove Moss, Lichen, Fungi from a Cedar Roof Sullivan Roof


What can I say? Bruce and Keith provided an exceptional service, and they are really nice guys too. Found out at the last minute they were in Minneapolis, and they fit me in for a cedar shake roof cleaning the next evening after their regular job was done. Even cleaned up my gutters, small fence, and small deck at no charge. The place looks outstanding! Highly recommended.

Mike Richards

I highly recommend this business. Due to the work performed we are going to get another 10-14 years out of our cedar shake roof. We were told by some roofing companies that the roof should be replaced in 2 years. I lucked out and found Sullivan Roof Cleaning while researching companies that perform this service, and was pleased to learn that the company does work outside of Iowa. If you need your cedar shakes cleaned, go with Sullivan Roof Cleaning.

Eric Oelrich, 
St Cloud, MN

Bruce did a great job cleaning the whole exterior of my house. The roof has new life! It looks practically brand new. All the mold and moss on the roof, on the gutters, under the eaves, completely gone. He exceeded all our expectations. When he tells you what he can do for your house, you can believe and trust him. Great guy, great service.

Stuart Malone
Kansas City, MO


Cedar shakes are organic. Though a resilient material. Being organic they need to be maintained. Over time, like any organic material that are subjected to weather elements, they reach a stage of deterioration. Like UV exposure, moisture and seasonal changes. Which results in moss, mold, mildew, lichen and brown rot fungi. These infestations need to be removed to further preserve the integrity of the cedar shake.
The proper way to clean a cedar shake roof is from a ladder. By spraying a special formulated solution onto the shakes and then rinsed with a garden hose pressure. Best done by a professional cedar shake roof cleaner. Not DIY recommended.
No. Pressure washer will require walking on the shakes, which will harm them, and even at its lowest setting will also damage the shakes.
On average, cedar shakes should be cleaned every 10 ten years. Subjective to the grade of the shakes and the amount of surrounding tree cover.
Avoiding walking on a cedar shake roof, other than for repairs.
Never seal a cedar shake roof. Cedar shakes need to breathe. They expand and contract in rain conditions. Seal will shorten the lifespan, to the point of premature replacement.
Staining has no real preserve value and can also harm the integrity of shakes, as stated, they need to be able to breathe. Also, if the shakes are not properly cleaned staining can seal the deteriorating infestation within the shakes.
Depending on the grade of the shakes and installation, and if maintained properly, 40 to 60 years.


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