If you’re building a shed, the roofing is arguably one of the most important components. It’s essential for protecting the rest of the structure against rot and moisture damage. Sheds without roofs don’t last long!
But how do you go about choosing a roofing material? That’s the challenge. As you get into the project, you’ll notice that there are all sorts of solutions, each seemingly offering something better than the last.
The purpose of this post is to help DIYers out there who are struggling to choose a roofing material. This post runs through your options, describing the various pros and cons of each so you can make a better decision.
Green roofing is an increasingly popular option as more people look for sustainable solutions. These look fantastic in gardens and provide additional habitat for creatures living in the local ecosystem.
Green roofing isn’t a gimmick, either. Instead, it offers a host of benefits that you simply can’t get from other roofing types.
The biggest benefit is the insulation it provides. Green roofs contain soil that actually prevents heat loss from your shed during the winter and prevents it from getting ridiculously sweaty in the summer.
Green roofing has the added benefit of absorbing rainwater. Instead of everything pouring off your roof and down the walls of your shed, it trickles out more slowly, giving any guttering or drainage a chance to work as it should.
Finally, green roofs just look cool. There’s nothing like them.
The downside of green roofs is the additional structural support they require. All that soil and greenery is heavy, particularly after it becomes saturated with rain.
There’s also higher maintenance. You can’t let green roofs run wild. Instead, you have to ensure that the base membrane remains intact and that you regularly manage the plants growing on it. All of this can be costly.
EPDM roofing is another option. EPDM stands for ethylene propylene diene monomer and is a type of synthetic, plastic-based material some people use for shed roofs and the roofs of other outbuildings.
What’s good about it? Primarily its durability and weather resistance. Biologicals find it hard to get a foothold in the material, which means that it takes a long time to break down (if at all). It’s also suitable for flat roofs, which is beneficial for anyone looking to improve the roofing on an older shed or one that lacks a gable roof.
The downsides of this particular roofing choice are few and far between. Perhaps the biggest issue for DIYers is that you’ll usually need to hire a professional to fit it unless you have specialist skills and tools. And the roofing can be costly.
But other than that, it’s a good long-term option for anyone who doesn’t want to take the risk of installing a green roof.
Corrugated Bitumen Roof Sheets
In some applications, corrugated bitumen roof sheets might be suitable. These use the same bituminous material as asphalt roofing for homes.
The benefit of this type of roofing is its affordability and wide availability, according to the Clear Amber Shop. You can easily pick up roofing components just about anywhere and get them in a range of colors to make your shed look more attractive.
The trick to making this roofing option last is regular maintenance. Applying new oils and clearing away any moss is essential for helping it last longer.
Corrugated Metal Panels
If the corrugated aesthetic is something you like, you can also experiment with corrugated metal panels. These give sheds a robust appearance and make a great sound in the rain,
The benefits are that they are lightweight and easy to install for enthusiastic DIYers. All you need is a hammer, a ladder, and a set of nails.
The drawback is that you might not like the appearance as much as other options. Moreover, untreated metal roofs can corrode rapidly, forcing you to replace them before you would like. Even galvanized options might not provide the desired weather protection, increasing the overall cost of installation.
Wood Shingles Or Shakes
Wood shingles or shakes are another option to make your shed look natural and in keeping with the surrounding environment. This roofing option is one used by many rural homes looking for a more natural aesthetic.
The rustic appearance is perhaps the biggest benefit of this roofing material. Applying them to your shed can make it look established and mature, even if it’s brand new.
Like green roofs, wood shakes are also natural insulators. Therefore, they can keep your shed warm during the winter and cooler in the summer, making it more usable throughout the year.
The downside is that it is more expensive than asphalt. It also requires additional sealing and protection against termite infiltration.
If you’re looking for an ultra-cheap and easy option, you might also consider treated plywood. While it is by no means a permanent solution, it can last a couple of seasons before you invest in a better option.
Plywood provides a solid base for other roofing materials. It can also withstand the weather if you treat it heavily with the right chemicals.
However, it won’t last long by itself, so you’ll need to pair it with another material later on.
Finally, you might want to consider plastic or PVC panels for your shed roof. These are becoming more popular as people look for more durable solutions that won’t require significant maintenance in the future.
The benefits of plastic are its durability and weather resistance. Unlike metal or wood, water doesn’t harm plastic in any way. Many manufacturers also equip their products with advanced UV protection technology to prevent the sun’s rays from breaking down the plastic’s polymers and damaging them. You might be able to use this option to cover your shed’s roof for less than $100, which is a tiny amount of money compared to the cost of other roofing solutions.
The downside, of course, is the limited aesthetic appeal. Plastic roofs just look bad. Furthermore, many designs require professional installation.