When it comes to roofing and siding, there are a few things to keep in mind for the Pacific Northwest. The first is that the climate is much wetter here than in other parts of the country. This means that you need materials that are going to be able to withstand a lot of moisture. The second is that the area is also prone to earthquakes. This means that you need materials that are going to be able to withstand a lot of shaking.
The best roofing and siding materials for the Pacific Northwest are metal, cedar shakes, shingles, concrete, clay, and slates. Cedar shakes are the most aesthetic option, concrete resists violent winds the best, and metal is the best budget option.
In this article, you will learn more about different roofing and siding materials that are perfect for the Pacific Northwest climate. Moreover, you will find out the specific pros and cons of each material alongside its general cost and availability in the region. By the end, you will know which material you should get for your specific situation.
1. Cedar Shakes
A cedar shake is a hand-split roofing shingle that has a higher surface area than the shingles you might be commonly aware of. Cedar shakes are generally economical and can be acquired from any cedar store or roofing manufacturer. Cedar shingles are chosen for their appearance and practical utility in a specific climate.
Cedar shingles are most commonly used in the Pacific Northwest because they are in abundant supply there. Canadian cedar export passes through the Pacific Northwest’s heart, becoming available for retail there before anywhere else. This leads to lower costs and higher adoption. But the persistence of this adoption for decades shows that cedar shingles are optimal for PNW climate and conditions.
While Cedar Shakes generally cost $7 to $10 per square foot, including installation in most of the country, they cost $6 per square foot in the PNW. As mentioned earlier, this is because of the PNW’s proximity to one of the largest cedar exporters in the world.
Cedar shakes are admirable for their beauty but used for their durability, both of which are essential in PNW. Moreover, they are resistant to external aspects like the elements. But all of these do contribute to a specific drawback: rising costs.
There has been an upward trend in the price of cedar shakes. And this started escalating post-2020. Add to that the fact that the shakes require regular maintenance, and you’ll understand why many new residents in PNW choose alternative materials.
If you choose cedar shakes for your house in the PNW, pair it with a siding material that can be painted while. Cedar shakes are primarily for sloped roofs and can go well with brick and wood walls (their aesthetic has a universal appeal).
2. Metal Roofs
Metal roofs are rarely laid thick. The metal is thin, sometimes folded, roofing sheet or roll, which can prevent heat and radiation from entering a home. To an outsider, it might seem odd for metal to be a common choice in the PNW.
While Alaskan ice and its cold connotations make you think the entire PNW is arctic around the clock, that’s far from the case. The PNW has an extreme climate with high-heat summer days and freezing nights. Metal roofs enable one to take control of one’s home temperature with artificial heating and cooling.
In the Pacific Northwest, you will need central heating, and metal roofing can prevent it from being lost to the outside cold. And if you activate a cooling system, the cost of electricity will be lower because the metal roof keeps the sun out.
Metal roofing can cost anywhere between $300 and $1500, depending on the metal sheet you choose. That number is a vast range, so to be more specific, metal roofing costs $400 per sheet in the PNW, as steel is the metal of choice. Tin is the cheapest metal you can use for roofing purposes, and copper is the most unfeasible.
The advantage of metal roofs is that they are flexible. They can be installed with the help of a handyman instead of a roofing expert, though getting a roofing company’s services is highly recommended. Overall, metal roofs are more durable than cedar shakes and cost less. While the standing seam metal roof is a budget-friendly choice, it can be harder (and more expensive) to repair when it does get damaged.
Standing metal seams can technically be used as a siding material but is better off as a roofing material. It pairs well with wood siding that’s painted off-white. When used for roofing and siding simultaneously, make sure the metal is striated, as that is more aesthetic. Pencil and bead rib roofs might work for the average metal roof but is not ideal for homes that also use metal siding.
3. Concrete and Clay
Concrete and clay are among the oldest building materials. They have come in vogue in PNW cities and gated communities.
While their highest utility is in damp, park-adjacent properties, they are generally used where concrete jungles are admired. If you’re planning to build a house for rental income, clay and concrete seem to be great because of their ability to stand up to harsh punishment.
Concrete roofing is excellent because it can be used on various degrees of slanted and non-slanted surfaces. It is architecture-independent and can stand up to the elements, water exposure, high winds, and rot.
Concrete roofs cost $4 per square foot but may cost double in expensive cities. But this is because of the increased labor wages and the cost of transporting concrete shingles.
Roof tiles’ most outstanding advantage is that they don’t require maintenance. A simple drive around the average PNW neighborhood will reveal that the average roof requires repair. Concrete tiles can help ensure that your home doesn’t appear to need repairs.
Concrete and clay can work both as roofing and siding materials. Unlike cedar shakes and metal, you don’t have much reason to hesitate when choosing concrete for your house siding alongside its roofing. That said, you cannot use the same product for the roof and the siding.
For siding, you need wall shingles or precast panels. For roofs, you need roofing tiles or roofing shingles.
Slate roofing is like concrete roofing on steroids. Slate roofing refers to heavy-duty roofing tiles made from slate. This material doesn’t blow away with the wind or budge and dent under heavy rain. It doesn’t get damaged easily but isn’t available with a material warranty.
Durability, longevity, and protection from the elements remain the most significant advantages of slate. However, with a minimum cost of $1000 per square foot, it is also the most expensive type of roofing on this list.
And it isn’t for houses made from weak material. Slate is heavy, and your house should be able to carry it.
As you may have noticed, there are more roofing options than siding options.
Because concrete and metal siding is not used as often as wood, which seems to be the primary siding material in the Pacific Northwest. It has to be exterior-grade and sufficiently weatherproofed.
The cost of wood siding depends on the type of lumber you pick. And it can be installed with the help of a siding expert.
Recap: Best Siding and Roofing Materials For The Pacific Northwest
Roofing and siding materials in the Pacific Northwest should have waterproofing and windproofing capabilities.
If you’re up for regular repairs and maintenance, then cedar shakes and shingles will do.
To reduce the repair burden on your budget, go with metal roofing. Concrete seems to be the middle way, where slate is the most expensive option.