3 Best – And Worst -- Roofing Materials For A Saltbox Colonial Home

Saltbox Colonial refers to any style of Colonial home that features a saltbox roof, which has a shorter, low-sloped segment in front of the house and a long, steep segment out back. The upper story of the house sometimes juts out over the lower story, but, other than that detail, the Saltbox Colonial has a fairly stark geometric shape with asymmetrical windows and little ornamentation.

If you have a Saltbox-Colonial-style home and need a new roof, there are a few best – and worst – roofing materials to keep in mind while meeting with your professional roofing services contractors.

Best: Wood Shakes

Saltbox homes often have wooden siding or vinyl siding made to look like wood. Using wooden roofing can help tie the look of the materials together for a more unified-looking home. You do want to make sure that the wood on both the siding and roof don't perfectly match, however, or you will lose visual focus.

Wooden shakes pair particularly well with the saltbox roof. Shakes have a rougher, thicker cut than shingles, which imparts a rustic look. The shakes can help add dimension and the illusion of length to the shorter front roof while adding a storybook feel to the longer back portion of roof. 

Wood roofing can need a bit of maintenance if you live in an area with severe weather like heat waves or blizzards. Significant weather changes can cause the wood shakes to warp over time. You can ask your roofing contractor to keep an eye on the material and to perform spot maintenance, as needed.

Best: Asphalt Shingles

Do you like the look of wood but can't fit the material into your project budget? Ask your roofing contractors about asphalt shingles. The composite shingles can come fabricated to closely resemble wood roofing with a far lower price tag – and far less maintenance required.

The one potential problem is that asphalt shingles don't weight much, so if winds rush up that steep back side of the saltbox roof, the shingle can go right with the wind off the other side. If you have neighbors or trees behind your house, however, this shouldn't pose a major risk of damage.

Worst: Slate Tiles

The roof's asymmetrical design was done to provide the most interior living space possible within the Saltbox Colonial. The open design means that the roof has minimal bracing support, which would take up that interior space. So you don't want to use a heavy roofing material like slate tiles on a saltbox roof.

You could ask your roofing contractors to add more bracing to support the tiles. But the cool elegance of slate doesn't really visually match the warm elegance of the Saltbox Colonial.

For more information and advice, contact a professional roofing service like Stevens Roofing Corporation.