For those who live in Tornado Alley, each spring brings with it a sense of trepidation in addition to the excitement of longer days and warmer nights. Whether you're building a custom home from the ground up or repairing your existing home after a storm has rolled through, you may be wondering about the best way to help protect your home from damage caused by tornadoes or more minor storms. Not only can using more durable building materials help prevent expensive storm damage, these materials can often provide some additional insulation to help lower your monthly heating and cooling bills. However, the variety of roofing and siding materials available can make it hard to choose your best options. Read on to learn more about some of the most durable roofing and siding materials on the market today.

Which siding options will stand up to tornado-force winds and debris?

While dealing with siding that is cracked, dangling, or otherwise damaged can be frustrating, facing a potential claim on your homeowners insurance for siding that is structurally sound but covered with tiny hail or debris pockmarks can be even more infuriating. You'll likely want to choose a siding material that can resist most minor dents and dings caused by tornado or storm winds.

  • Fiber cement

As the name indicates, this type of siding is constructed from a mixture of wood fibers and cement -- similar to some types of engineered lumber. The resulting siding panels have a wood-like appearance but are significantly harder than wood and more impervious to damage. Because of the cement content, this siding will also serve as a great additional layer of insulation, keeping cold air outside during winter and hot air outside during summer. You'll be able to choose the color and pattern of your fiber cement siding to match your roof, garden, or even other homes in your neighborhood.

Many types of fiber cement siding include UV-resistant chemicals that can help keep this siding from fading due to sun exposure. This will ensure that all four sides of your home "age" at an even rate and will help extend the life of your siding.

  • Laminated cedar

For those with a bit more money in the budget, laminated cedar panels or planks can provide one of the most durable siding options short of solid concrete blocks. These cedar boards are at least five times more resistant to impact than vinyl siding and also have much more insulating power than vinyl or metal siding. Cedar is also one of the longest-lasting natural building materials, so you shouldn't need to worry about replacement (due to storm damage or natural aging) for many decades.

Reach out to a local contractor, like James Hardie siding contractor, for more information. 

What are your best roofing options if you live in a storm-prone area?

The main danger a tornado presents to your roof involves the high wind speeds that can often carry away individual shingles. Once this outer layer has been breached, rain or other precipitation can quickly infiltrate your flashing and cause water damage to your attic or elsewhere in your home. As a result, it's important to select a roofing material that can withstand high winds without blowing away.

  • Sheet metal

Using sheets of metal (rather than individual shingles) to cover your roof can often be a wise choice in storm-prone regions. These sheets can be composed of aluminum, steel, or another alloy that is impact-resistant and too heavy to blow away. Depending upon the average temperatures in your area, you can choose a dark roof to help absorb sunlight and heat your home, or a light-colored roof that will reflect sunlight and keep your home cool year-round.

Because metal roofs can be noisy, you may also want to invest in some attic insulation to help dampen the sound of raindrops, hail, and other forms of precipitation on your new roof. However, with proper care and maintenance, a new metal roof should last you for decades without any trouble.