3 Considerations When Choosing A Roofing Material For A Saltbox Colonial Home

The Saltbox Colonial refers to the roof style on a few different traditional and revival style Colonial homes. The homes unite in having geometric floor plans with symmetrical windows and little by way of ornamentation. The defining saltbox roof has a shorter, low-sloped front part that rises to a peak then falls to a steep, long rear part on the back of the house.

If you have a Saltbox Colonial that needs a new roof, there are a few style-specific considerations to keep in mind when choosing a material with your roofing contractors.

Saltbox Roof has Minimal Bracing

The saltbox roof's design is unusually asymmetric for an architectural style normally defined by its symmetry. But the asymmetry here is purposeful, as it provides the maximum amount of living space on the upper levels of the Saltbox Colonial home. In keeping with that space providing, the roof has minimal bracing as a number of supports would take up most of that room. Low bracing means you need to stick with a roofing material that isn't physically heavy.

Slate tile roofing is one of the heavier roofing materials and shouldn't be used on a Saltbox Colonial. Wood roofing is mid-weight but safe for the saltbox roof and can even add some attractive texture. Asphalt shingles have one of the lightest weights of roofing materials and can absolutely work on a saltbox roof—with one caveat.

Rear Steep Roof Could Become Wind Magnet

The light physical weight of the asphalt shingles can turn into a blessing and a curse on a saltbox roof if your home doesn't have any windbreaks behind the house. Windbreaks such as nearby neighbors or tall trees would help break up winds that would come directly at the rear roof. The rear roof's steep slope would guide that wind straight up and under the roofing material and potentially rip off some asphalt shingles in the process.

Potential wind damage is just that—a possibility. If you have natural windbreaks, the possibility is lessened. But even without windbreaks, you might never have wind damage. You simply need to remain aware of the risk that wind can pose to the asphalt shingles.

Otherwise, asphalt is generally very durable and comes with such a low price tag that you might consider the potential wind damage repairs worth the risk. The asphalt shingles can also come in a variety of colors and textures to mimic slate or wood shingles with a far lower budget.


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