According to Secrets of Shed-Building, there are three things to consider when choosing roofing material for your outdoor structure. First, and probably most important, is waterproofing—will it protect your belongings? How much precipitation do you get where you live?

Next, you want something economical in its lifetime cost—thing long-term here as what’s the most affordable now isn’t always the overall best value. Finally, you’ll want to consider how it looks—does it mesh well with the structure and other buildings on the property?

Here are a few roofing materials to consider for your shed:

Asphalt – like roofing material for your home, an asphalt roof for your shed is a common, affordable option.

Cedar Shakes – While not the cheapest option, these wooden shingles can look fantastic, especially if you’re going for a rustic look. Cedar shakes can make a difference in the wow-factor of your shed’s look and feel! Other outdoor structures, like a gazebo, can also look really pleasing with cedar shakes.

Felt – mineral felt roofs are economic and easy to install. However, they do not have as long a life-span as other shed roofing materials.

Metal – metal shed roofs are durable, fire-resistant, easy to install and economical considering their life-expectancy. Metal is especially nice for those in areas with lots of snowfall.

There are other roofing material options for your outdoor structure to consider, too—fabric varieties and clay to name a few. Keep your budget and climate in mind when making your decision. 

Just like your home’s roof, you must pay attention to the condition of your rafters and trusses that support the other structures on your property. Roof trusses provide the framework between load-bearing walls—that means they’re quite important. You’ll want to continually inspect the integrity of these structural components, and address any issues at the first sign of damage.

Moisture is the biggest culprit of roof damage. Over time, water damage can lead to weakened trusses. Insect infestation also creates deficiencies in strength. Finally, a heavy load on your roof also can cause structural issues. Here are a few things to look for when inspecting your trusses or rafters:

  • Bowing
  • Cracks
  • Splits
  • Holes (from insects)
  • Fungus
  • Mildew
  • Rot

Repairing is the first option to restore strength, but be sure to enlist the “support” of a professional or consult a good DIY guide before you begin; since trusses hold the weight of your structure, you don’t want to make a cutting mistake that could bring the roof down.

If your issues are beyond simple repair it may be time to update your roofing system. Or if you’re planning to add an addition to your structure or put in features (such as skylights or ventilation), you might find you’ll need an update to support your desired changes an upgrades.