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Roofing Styles and Materials for Minnesota

Have you ever considered how much a home’s roof design and style affects its overall appearance? How charming would a traditional house be without a thatched or stone roof? Would the Sydney Opera House be easily recognized if it didn’t have its renowned winged shell roof?

Choosing a roof is significantly more important than siding, window treatments, or landscaping. The essential appearance of a building is affected by changes to its structure and covering materials.

Most roofing styles and materials can be used in Minnesota’s climate. It important to work with a local roofing company that is familiar with the area’s weather and is familiar with doing common roof repairs for the area.

The slope, as well as the junction of planes and angles, is fundamental to roofing design. After that, choose the proper roofing material to provide texture, patterns, color, and other visual components.

1. Gable Roof

In its most basic form, a gable roof has two sloping roof planes that meet along the top to form a ridge. It’s a traditional A-shaped triangle roof. The inner space beneath it is ideal for a modest loft living area.

Gable roof variations include clipped, cross, side, and Dutch gable roofs.

  • Clipped Gable: the top peak is bent inward to create a flat hip at the end
  • Cross Gable: two or more intersecting gable rooflines that flow with the house’s structure
  • Dutch Gable: combines gables and hips, usually with a gable sitting on top of a roof hip

Ideal Gable Roof Materials:

  • Asphalt Shingles
  • Clay or Concrete
  • Slate
  • Wood
  • Almost any other
A Minneapolis home with a gable roof

2. Gambrel

This is the traditional barn roof shape. It’s a two-sided roof with two slopes on each side: a short and shallow top slope connected to a steeper, longer bottom slope.

To bring in more light, windows might be installed along the steep top slope. As a result, gambrel roofs are perfect for a whole top living space.

Ideal Gambrel Roof Materials:

  • Wood shake or shingles
  • Asphalt
  • Synthetic shingles
  • Metal

3. Hip Roof

A hip roof has four slanted sides that meet at the crest to form a ridge. This does not have the flat siding face found on gables or gambrel roofs. The roof of the house is made entirely of roofing material and is shaped in the shape of a pyramid.

Hip roofs are common on bungalows or residences where the layout does not allow for a gable roof.

This is the second most frequent type of roof. Hip roofs are more difficult to construct than gable roofs, but they are also more stable.

Ideal Hip Roof Materials:

  • Asphalt
  • Slate or Stone
  • Clay or Concrete
  • Wood
  • Synthetic

4. Mansard

A mansard roof combines the structure of a hip roof with the style of a gambrel roof. It has four sides, each with two sloping planes that can be flat or curved.

This originated in France and lends a really attractive old-world aspect to dwellings.

Ideal Mansard Roof Materials:

  • Slate
  • Asphalt
  • Wood
  • Synthetic and other

5. Shed

A shed roof is a single, sloping flat roof. A shed roof can be utilized alone or in conjunction with other forms, such as flat surfaces. This is best suited to modern architectural aesthetics.

Ideal Shed-Style Roofing Materials:

  • Metal
  • Wood
  • Concrete

6. Jerkinhead

A jerkinhead roof is a complex architectural structure that combines hip and gable features. Jerkinhead may sound unusual, but it is a traditional roofing pattern that has been in use since the 15th century.

These roofs are sturdy and have a classic appearance. It can be found on churches, Craftsman cottages, and Queen Anne-style residences.

Ideal Jerkinhead Materials:

  • Asphalt
  • Synthetic
  • Wood
  • Slate

7. Butterfly

A butterfly roof has two sloping sides that curve downward to the center of the house. It’s a popular architectural style that flips the usual roofing form.

These roofs are perfect for allowing plenty of light and ventilation. Butterfly roofs designed in colder areas, on the other hand, must have enough central support to withstand heavy snow or water loads.

  • Ideal Butterfly Roof Materials:
  • Metal
  • Asphalt
  • Slate
  • Concrete

8. Low Slope or Flat

Flat roofs have a utilitarian appearance and feel to them. They can, nevertheless, give residential dwellings a modernistic aspect.

This roofing style is frequently combined with other forms, such as hip roofs. They can also be used to support living spaces on rooftops.

Ideal Low or Flat Roof Materials:

  • Rolled roofing (MSR) – only suitable for low slope, not flat
  • Rubber roofing membrane

A Quick Guide to 10 Commonly Used Roofing Materials

1. Asphalt Shingles

Cropped image of gray asphalt roof shingles, this is the most common type of roof in Minneapolis

Asphalt shingles are energy-efficient, long-lasting, and excellent for almost any environment. Furthermore, these shingles are a classic roofing option that appeals to both conservative and daring tastes.

Most asphalt products are virtually faultless. Different varieties, however, are good for different regions.

There are two types of asphalt shingles:

·   Organic: asphalt-soaked felt or cellulose material is compressed and coated in a final asphalt or ceramic layer

·   Fiberglass: glass fibers are soaked in asphalt and compressed, then coated in a final asphalt or ceramic layer

Organic asphalt shingles are more resistant to algae, more durable, and better suited to cold, harsh conditions. They are, however, rather heavy and more expensive.

Fiberglass asphalt shingles are more resistant to fire and heat than organic shingles. They’re also lighter and less expensive.

Asphalt shingles come in three styles, giving very different appearances.

  • Strip or 3-Tab Shingles: the cheapest option gives a basic, traditional flat shingle appearance
  • Dimensional or Architectural or Laminated: two or more asphalt layers are layered together, looking more like wood or slate
  • Luxury or Premium: made of asphalt blended with other materials, for a weighty and natural appearance

Manufacturers produce these styles in a variety of colors and patterns. If you prefer this roofing material, there’s bound to be a design you like.

2. Clay Tiles

Roof tiles are made by molding clay and baking it under pressure. Clay tiles are naturally fireproof, windproof, and long-lasting (as in hundreds of years long).

Terracotta is no longer the only clay alternative accessible, as these tiles are now produced in a variety of colors and shapes.

Clay Tile Pros:

  • Low maintenance and durable
  • Eco-friendly material
  • Lasts long enough to make a higher initial cost worth it in certain cases
  • Naturally energy efficient
  • Doesn’t rot or decay
  • Impervious to insect infestations
  • Recyclable after use
  • Doesn’t absorb much water
  • Maintains its color

Clay Tile Drawbacks:

  • Can cost around $10 to $12 per square foot, more for fancy options like terracotta
  • Heavy enough to be expensive to ship
  • Too heavy for certain roofing structures or houses
  • Prone to cracking in cold weather
  • Brittle and impact vulnerable
  • Tricky to install
  • Can’t be used on all roof slopes
clay tiles that could be on your minneapolis home

3. Concrete Tiles

Concrete tiling is a similar choice to clay tiling. It is composed of sand, cement, and water that has been shaped and baked under pressure.

Concrete Tiling Pros:

  • Fire and wind resistant
  • Comes in different sloping styles
  • Can simulate other materials
  • Quite inexpensive

Concrete Tiling Cons:

  • Pigments and surface paint fade over time
  • Concrete absorbs water unless protected, leading to mold, mildew, and algae
  • Easily damaged on impact
  • The underlayment will need replacing before the tiling does

4. Metal Roofing

White barn with metal standing seam roof in Lake Elmo, MN

Metal roofs are no longer restricted to industrial applications. There are numerous residential-style solutions available, and these products are becoming increasingly popular.

Metal roofs can be built of tin, aluminum, zinc, steel, or corrugated metals.

Most are still sold in sheets, but with patterns that offer aesthetic interest. Some are wavy or angular, with the illusion of individual tiling. Others are more streamlined, sharp, and architectural.

Metal Roofing Pros:

  • Snow, ice, and rain slip right down
  • Can last 50 years and up
  • Very lightweight, only 1 to 3 pounds per square foot
  • As quiet as shingles when installed correctly
  • Eco-friendly made from recycled material and able to be recycled post-use
  • Can go on low pitches

Metal Roofing Cons:

  • Can’t be used on flat pitches
  • Can dent on impact

5. Stone-Coated Steel

Stone-coated steel combines metal’s strength and durability with natural stone’s traditional style. It’s the ideal technique to improve the appearance of a property without increasing the expense.

This roofing material is available in shingles, wood shake, clay tile, and barrel tile designs, as well as traditional-looking shingles.

Stone-Coated Steel Pros:

  • Far lighter than solid stone
  • More energy-efficient than asphalt
  • Around the same price as metal roofing

Stone-Coated Steel Cons:

  • More expensive than asphalt
  • Paint coating eventually wears off
  • Installing on high-pitched roofs can be difficult

6. Slate Tiles or Shingles

Slate shingles or tiles are made entirely of natural, quarried stone, with no mixing, binding, or layering involved.

Slate has an elevated, elegant appearance, which makes it a popular choice for executive and high-end houses.

Slate roofing is made from either hard or soft slate varieties.

Hard Slate:

  • Lasts 75 to 200 years
  • Colored slates are usually hard

Soft Slate:

  • Lasts 50 to 125 years
  • Black colored slates are usually soft

Slate Roofing Pros:

  • Virtually impervious to moisture
  • Fireproof and heat resistant
  • Can be recycled and reused
  • Insect and pest impervious
  • Elegant aesthetic

Slate Roofing Cons:

  • Extremely heavy
  • Can be brittle and impact vulnerable
  • Difficult to install and requires an expert roofer
  • Premium material with a premium price
  • No material warranty since it’s a natural product

7. Wood Shake and Shingles

St. Paul roof with cedar shake shingles after recent roof replacement

Wood shakes are thicker, rougher in texture, irregular, and have a more rustic appearance. Wood shingles are thinner, smoother, and more uniform, with a more refined appearance.

Cedar is the greatest wood roofing material since it is moisture-resistant, rot-resistant, and widely available. Redwood, teak, and pine are some more alternatives.

Wood Roofing Pros:

  • Last up to 30 years
  • Biodegradable and renewable
  • Thicker wood shake is more durable
  • Natural insulation that balances the home’s temperature
  • Performs well in cold and warm weather

Wood Roofing Cons:

  • Can discolor
  • Vulnerable to pests without treatment
  • Inherently vulnerable to fire

Graining on wood roofing tiles comes in three varieties: edge, flat, and slash. Edge grain is the most durable, so if you want a wood roof, always go with this choice. Slash grain is the least lasting and of inferior quality, therefore avoid it at all costs.

8. Synthetic or Composite Shingles

Synthetic shingles have the appearance of slate, wood, or clay but are lighter and require less upkeep. Composite shingles are constructed from recycled materials, natural-synthetic blends, or man made polymers.

There are other synthetic asphalt alternatives that are granule-free and perform better.

Synthetic Shingle Pros:

  • Mimics just about any other roofing material
  • Can last up to 100 years
  • Can be made with ultraviolet inhibitors
  • Can be built storm resistant
  • Imitation clay or terracotta can be used in cold climates

Synthetic Shingle Cons:

  • Pricier than standard asphalt shingles
  • Fire rating and storm resistance can vary

The quality of synthetics varies. With this alternative, it’s all about the manufacturer, so make sure to buy from one with a good reputation. It’s a good idea to get advice from a professional roofer in this situation.

9. Rubber Slate

The slate effect can be obtained totally from lighter recycled rubber and plastic. Rubber slate is an intriguing synthetic solution that resembles (or is almost identical to) natural slate.

Rubber Slate Pros:

  • Great for complex roof structures with many plane intersections
  • Lasts up to 100 years
  • Lighter than asphalt and slate
  • Great weather performance
  • Hail and impact resistant
  • Absorbs ultraviolet rays without deteriorating

Rubber Slate Cons:

  • More expensive to install than asphalt
  • Easily damaged by fires
  • Limited color options
  • Can smell like tires when first installed

Rubber slate is a robust, eco-friendly recyclable material that is as tough as tires. However, it is not naturally fire-resistant, has an unpleasant odor at first, and is not suitable for many houses.

If you want to help divert tires from landfills, this slate option could be ideal. Otherwise, look into other synthetic alternatives.

10.  Rolled Roofing (MSR)

Rolled roofing is an asphalt-based material with a mineral surface that comes in a roll. It is rarely utilized for residential homes alone, but it can be advantageous if the roof has flatter areas.

Rolled Roofing Pros:

  • Very inexpensive
  • Easy to transport and install
  • Ideal for low-sloped roofs

Rolled Roofing Cons:

  • Unattractive enough to be banned by some HOAs
  • Only lasts 5 to 8 years
  • Less durable than shingles

Find Your Perfect Roof

The roof accounts for 40% of a home’s visible space. It can also provide significantly more visual interest than the outside walls, siding, and windows.

Want to make your house a showpiece and outperform your neighbors in terms of curb appeal? Choose the best architectural roofing design and top it off with an enhanced roofing product.

Contact Midwest Roof and Solar for a look into the latest roofing styles, tips on what manufacturers can really deliver, and consultation on what’s appropriate for your home’s structure.

In This Article...

Key Takeaways

Best Roofs for Minneapolis Weather and Climate

  • Most roof types can be used in Minneapolis, even with heavy snow and cold winters
  • Roof repairs and replacements should be done by a Minneapolis roofing company that is familiar with the area’s weather
  • There are many different roof materials that can be used on your Minneapolis roof, some have more durability than others

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