With all of the snow which the UK has been experiencing over the past couple of weeks, and which is set to continue through until February, one question which a lot of people have been asking is what type of roofing is best for such conditions? Is fibreglass roofing the best choice, and how does it compare to other roofing materials?
Fibreglass roofing has been the number one choice in the UK for some time, growing significantly in popularity as it provides a whole range of benefits when compared to traditional roofing methods and materials such as slate, lead roofing, tiling and felt roofing. One of the key advantages of fibreglass roofing is the fact that it is completely waterproof, allowing water to drain off easily. It’s also incredibly tough, and very cheap and easy to maintain, often outlasting other roofs.
The UK’s weather is well known for being highly variable, swinging from heatwaves to hurricanes, from snow drifts to floods. It’s important therefore to be fully aware of the best kinds of roofing materials to use for things such as door canopies, shed roofs, garages, extensions and car ports. Snow has been more in evidence in recent years than it has for the last couple of decades, and whether you blame global warming, climate change, sunspots or other factors, the truth is that we are facing snow problems right now, and look set to be facing this sort of problem each winter for the foreseeable future. So how does fibreglass roofing compare to other materials given the heavy snow and ice we’ve had lately?
The trouble is that snow and the bitterly cold conditions we’ve had this winter provide several challenges, not all of which will be immediately obvious. The light, gently snowflakes fluttering down may not seem to be much of a threat to any kind of roof, but when those flakes pile up, and start compacting, even a few inches can quickly weigh as much as a car over the area of a single roof.
So the first challenge facing any type of roof is being able to withstand the pressure and weight of all that snow. This is made easier in cases where the roof is angled or sloped, allowing much of the initial fall of snow to slide off. In fact sloped roofs which are smooth allow snow to fall off before the weight becomes too much for the roof to bear. Many roofs are quite rough, or with gaps, cracks or joints which all allow the snow to grip and bond with the roof much more easily.
Tiles and slate both provide joints, crack, seams and edges which can allow snow to pile higher, and felt roofing offers a very rough surface, adding to the amount of grip offered to the snow. Fibreglass roofs are usually completely smooth, and with no seams or joins, allowing snow to slide off much more easily and quickly, minimizing the risk posed by snow becoming too heavy for the roof to bear.
The next problem is of course when the snow starts to melt. This can result in a very great deal of water forming, and in some cases the melting can actually start to occur underneath the snow, meaning that it may pool and gather quite significantly before it’s apparent that it’s melting at all. It’s important that as soon as possible this melt water is able to run off.
In some cases this may not be as easy as it should be. Felt roofing will almost certainly tend to become stretched by the sheer weight of the snow, and this stretching can result in a concave indentation forming which allows the water to gather and pool. Puddles on flat roofs are almost certainly because of this problem. The water continues to add weight to the roof, continuing to stretch the material. However, fibreglass roofing cannot stretch or distort, allowing water to run off quickly.
If you’re looking for a replacement roof or new roof and aren’t sure what material to choose, then fibreglass roofing offers one of the safest options as far as extremes of weather are concerned, such as snow.