Strong Materials for Building in Harsh Climates

Strong Materials for Building in Harsh Climates

Published Oct 20, 2022 

It is said that residents have to be tougher to live in harsh climates. Whether it means getting up an hour early to shovel their sidewalks following a snow storm or hustling outside to move the patio furniture inside before tornado-force winds strike, harsh climates put homeowners to the test in ways that more placid regions do not. On this note, the home itself must be tougher to withstand the conditions as well. Fortunately, there are many innovative building materials that are more than up to the challenge. Keep reading to find out more information on 5 of the strongest building materials for harsh climates.

Composite Roofing

Without a strong roof, a home has little chance of surviving in harsh climates. As the home’s first line of defense, the roof must be able to keep the home air and moisture resistant, stand up in the face of heavy impact from hail and other types of projectile debris, provide an initial layer of insulation for the home--and do all of this without degrading in the face of extended sun exposure.

Many economy roofing products, such as basic asphalt, miss the mark for durability, while tougher slate tiles are a bit prohibitive in their price point. As a result, many homeowners in harsh climates are leveraging the benefits of composite roofing shingles. Otherwise known as “synthetic” roofing shingles, this durable product is fabricated from a combination of asphalt, fiberglass, recycled paper compounds, and other inorganic polymers to provide the home with a durable, low maintenance cover that is rated to last up to 50 years. The best of these class 4 shingles provide homes with the highest level of impact resistance and fire protection in the industry--critical factors in areas of the country at risk of tempestuous winds and intense wildfires.

Heavy Duty Gutters

Most homeowners view gutters as a necessary evil. While it is nice to direct flowing water away from the home, most basic gutters turn into an eyesore in short order, getting dented and dangling by a wire seemingly after the first incidence of severe weather. Due to these poor aesthetics, many homeowners are going against their better judgment and forgoing the gutters altogether.

However, this is highly inadvisable for those living in areas prone to heavy rain or snow melt. A home without gutters will likely see elevated costs of maintaining and repairing siding, with the unmitigated runoff also sure to cause erosion to the surrounding landscape. In a worst case scenario, water will leak into the basement and/or cause extensive damage to the foundation.

Fortunately, heavy gauge aluminum gutters are up to the task of directing flowing water away from the home without creating an exterior eyesore. A durable .032-gauge aluminum maintains its like-new appearance for longer than basic vinyl or thin aluminum options, not cracking or denting in the face of heavy impact, blending in seamlessly with your roof overhang for years.

Aluminum Soffit

Strong Materials for Building in Harsh Climates

Speaking of roof overhangs, a soffit upgrade is a great project to pursue concurrently with new aluminum gutters. Soffit is the covering that protects the eaves and roof overhangs of a house. It keeps wind from blowing rain into the substrate of these areas and causing mold and rot in the beams and rafters of the roof.

Traditional wood soffit has good protective qualities when new, but like other types of wood materials, it absorbs water as it ages and loses its treatment, carrying all of the associated risks. It is also poorly ventilated, causing the roof and attic to become extremely dank when high temperatures strike.

As a result, modern aluminum soffit is the best choice to protect the underside of your roof. Crafted with ventilation holes to promote fresh air circulation, aluminum soffit will not shrink or swell when introduced to moisture and will keep a clean, understated appearance with minimal maintenance required. One thing to keep in mind: aluminum soffit products will use a f channel or j channel design to fit with different types of roofs. Therefore, it is important to understand the anatomy of your roof and speak with a professional about f channel or j channel for soffit before scheduling an upgrade.

Hurricane Grade Storm Windows

Strong Materials for Building in Harsh Climates

Hurricane Ian and the devastation wrought in Florida was a painful reminder of the awesome potential of Mother Nature. Although it may not be possible to completely prevent damage caused by such powerful weather events, you can go a long way toward minimizing your risk by fortifying vulnerable areas of the home. In many instances of severe weather, old and degraded windows are the first part of the house to give way. If projectiles don’t shatter the glass, air and moisture will be forced in through cracks in the window/wall transition. Therefore, installing hurricane grade storm windows is a great idea for protecting your home--even if you don’t live in a coastal region. Using reinforced steel frames and sashes, along with impact-resistant glass that can deflect small objects traveling over 100 MPH, the best storm windows will provide elite protection in times of tempestuous winds.

Polyiso Insulation

For any region at risk of extreme heat or cold, insulation is among the most important building materials. As such, for homeowners looking to upgrade over traditional fiberglass insulation batts, the debate between polyiso vs xps has likely crossed the radar. While both are strong choices for improving the R-value of your home’s building envelope, polyiso is likely the preferred choice for helping secure a continuous insulation system. Polyiso is a permanently rigid, thermoset material that will not soften when introduced to extreme heat like thermoplastic XPS. In addition, polyiso is far less permeable than XPS, helping create a more impervious moisture barrier in your walls and roof.

5 Strong Materials for Building in Harsh Climates

Homes in harsh climates are subjected to the forces of nature more often and with greater force than homes in more temperate regions. With this in mind, it is important to choose the correct building materials to help the home thrive. Composite roofing, heavy gauge gutters, aluminum soffit, storm windows, and polyiso insulation are 5 strong materials to choose when building in harsh climates. 

Farmland and Real Estate