3 Best And Worst Roofing Materials For The Complexities Of A Butterfly-Style Roof

by Grace Motley

A butterfly-style roof has an unusual shape that makes the roof one of the visual stars of the home. Two steep sides slope steeply downwards to create a center valley and the overall look of a butterfly with its wings spread. The complexities of this shape bring some pros and cons that can help you and your roofing contractors determine the best roofing material for your home's repair or replacement project.

Best: Metal Roofing

The valley in the center of a butterfly roof can collect and hold water for extended periods of time as the water makes its way to the drainage system. This standing water can start to soak through the roofing material and then into your home. Waterproofing the valley with a roofing material can help prevent damage.

Metal roofing offers superior waterproofing to nearly any other roofing material. Whether you opt for the standing seam planks with vertical edges or the simple metal shingles, the smoothness of the metal helps facilitate drainage while the tight fit of adjoining pieces ensures that water doesn't get under the material.

Don't like the look of metal all over the roof? At least consider installing flashing, or strips of metal roofing, only in the valley of the roof. The overall roofing material will install over the flashing so that you won't see it, but the waterproofing is still there.

Best: Asphalt Roofing

Project budget the primary concern in your roofing replacement? Consider using asphalt roofing as your primary roofing on the butterfly roof. The lightweight, durable, and highly affordable composite material comes in a variety of styles that can match any homeowner's preferences.

Asphalt doesn't offer waterproofing like metal roofing so you would still want to use flashing. But the asphalt shingles are relatively smooth and can help facilitate drainage in the valley, which can further help prevent any water damage.

Asphalt typically doesn't fare well on roofs that have steep slopes because oncoming wind can get under the shingles and cause damage. But the two sides of the butterfly face each other and form a dual windbreak. Wind damage shouldn't prove a risk when using asphalt on a butterfly roof.

Worst: Wood Roofing

Wood roofing has a thicker texture than many other roofing materials, and that texture creates an overlapping, gaping pattern when the shingles or shakes are installed. The installation setup gives water in the valley the perfect places to get stuck when trying to drain off the roof. Soaking even waterproofed wood for long periods in standing water also isn't going to do any favors for the roofing material.

If you have your heart set on the look of wood, ask your roofing contractors to order asphalt shingles that have the general appearance of wood shingles but only use that style on the sloping sides. Switch to the flatter shingles in the valley.