Top six Roof Types Canada

Whether you are updating your existing roof or in the market to install a new one, weighing out the positives and negatives of each type of material is important to know that you are making the best choice for your home. Your roofing contractor must have the proper preparation for the installation and be knowledgeable about each type of material used before you commit to the type of roof.

The functionality and lifespan of a roof depend on many factors such as manufacturing, maintenance, and installation. The roof’s style and the architecture of the building have an impact on durability and longevity but not as much as the material has. The main factor that should always be in consideration is the climate that your roof is installed in and materials can perform differently under those variables. The climate in Canada can vary and more specifically Calgary weather can be unpredictable and damages can go unnoticed. This is why it is important to know what material works best for Canadian homes due to each of the materials performing differently under various extreme weather conditions such as rain, hail, UV rays, and snow.

Choosing the right material for your home can significantly increase the longevity of your roof and add value to your home. It can also be a great time to upgrade your home’s curb appeal and style. Below you will learn about different roof types in Canada and go over some of the pros and cons of each material.

Below is the top six roof types in Canada:

Asphalt Roofs

Asphalt Roofs

Asphalt shingles are the most common type of residential roofing material used in Canada. They have now been reinforced with fibreglass material, which increases the longevity of the product.

There are two types of asphalt shingles: architectural and designer. Architectural shingles are among the highest quality roofing products made. They are made up of heavy fibreglass mat base and ceramic-coated mineral granules that are tightly embedded that enable them to be water-resistant. Designer shingles are inspired and made to look like other roofing materials like slate. Some can have different tones and colour depths that are not commonly found in architectural shingles.

Pros: Asphalt shingles are the most economical roofing product in Canada. They have the lowest supply and installation cost of all roofing material and are easy to install. Asphalt shingles are environmentally friendly and can be recycled and reused many times. The colour choices are endless and come in different shapes.

Cons: This product has the shortest life span of all the roofing materials as it only lasts 10- 25 years. Asphalt does not provide any insulating effects and can reflect solar energy in the winter. Expect to have little pebble-like granules that can fall into the gutter when they are exposed to hail.

Cedar Shake Roofs

Cedar Shake Roofs

Also known as cedar shakes, are basically shingles made from wood. Coming in at the second most common type of roofing material in Canada, wood shingles are an aesthetically pleasing option and can add a unique look to your home. Wood shakes have been around for hundreds of years, and come in many many shapes, stains and sizes. Typically in North America shakes are made from Red Cedar.

Pros: Can give any home a natural and rustic look. You will most likely have some jealous neighbours because of the aesthetically pleasing appeal.

Cons: The greatest negative of wood roofing is that it comes with a great cost. It is one of the most expensive roofing materials to install as it can be three times the cost of asphalt shingles. It can also be subject to mold and mildew if improperly placed and is mostly definitely not fire resistant.

Metal Roofs

Metal Roofs

Metal roofs are probably the most resistant material to extreme weather variations. Therefore, it is a great choice for the Canadian Climate. It is available in two styles, which is the shingle and panel variation. They are manufactured from zinc, aluminium, copper, and even stainless steel.

Pros: Metal roofing is extremely long lasting, lightweight and is comparable to the cost of asphalt shingles. They can be recycled down the road which makes them environmentally friendly and more commonly now people are using them for rainwater harvesting.

Cons: The only negative of metal roofing is that snow loads on pitched roofs can easily slide off, due to this there must be slip guards on these homes to combat dumps of snow. As well as maintenance can be a bit difficult.

Clay roof

Slate Roofs

Tile roofs are becoming more common in the new Canadian housing market. Versatile in design, come in a wide range of colours. The cost has also come down for the supply and install of a slate roof. Slate is composed of clay or volcanic ash so which makes them quite lightweight.

Pros: A slate roof is resistant to rot, pests, and fire. This type of roofing material can last upwards of 50 years and is easy to maintain. As stated before, it comes in a wide range of colours, is lighter than before, and can come in a wide array of designs.

Cons: The greatest negative of a slate roof is that they are still a heavy product all together and may need additional reinforcement of the trusses to withstand the weight. They are moderately expensive and the most difficult to repair.

Rubber roof

Rubber Roof Shingles

Rubber roofs that are now mimicking shingles, are a relatively new product on residential roofs in Canada. As rubber has been around for centuries in regards to waterproofing and used as sealants they are now being used as a residential roofing material. Rubber roofs are extremely durable, long lasting, and easy to repair. Rubber shingles consist of up to 95% recycled materials, including recycled rubber and materials such as tires, sawdust and slate dust.
Even though rubber roofing is a relatively new product, rubber has been used for waterproofing and sealants for more than a 100 years.

Pros: Rubber roofs are extremely durable and fire resistant. They have high solar absorbance and can increase the insulating effects of your home. They are aesthetically pleasing and are long lasting – upwards of 50 years!

Cons: The greatest negative of rubber roofing is the cost. As they are installed as individual shingles (like wood shakes), the cost associated with the labour can be high.

Clay roofs

Clay roofs

Clay tiles are made from very tough material and are made from natural earth materials. They can add a rustic feel and extremely unique look to a home, that no other material can achieve. They are unique choice in a home in the Canadian market, clay roofs are bound to stand out in the neighbours.

Pros: Clay roofs are impervious to rot and insect damage. They are both environmentally friendly, energy efficient and have relatively low maintenance.

Cons: Clay roofs are pricey, but worth the cost if you are looking for something very long lasting. They can be brittle during installation and are not suitable for all roof slopes.

Overall opinion:

I trust that this has given you an abundant amount of about of information and now it its time to weigh out the pros and cons of each of the materials that are most common in the Canada. These different roof types in Canada can withstand the extreme weather shifts that can happen in Canada. Each material has to be taken into consideration on the style of home you are building, architectural guidelines you must follow, and the cost you are willing to spend on a roof, and overall look that you want to achieve is an important decision to make.

Unfortunately the Canadian weather tends to be harsh on roofs. Talk to your neighbours and see what material has worked for them. This is also a great time for you and your contractor to build a trust and have them choose which material they are most experienced in and have had the most well served success with.

Common FAQ’s about Top Six Roof Types Canada:

Asphalt is most common but rubber roof shingles and metal are popular for environmentally friendly aspects.
What are the 4 main types of residential roofing?
1. Asphalt Shingles
2. Metal Roofing shingles
3. Rubber Shingles
4. Wood

Rubber roofing shingles have become more popular recently with customers understanding the longevity of them, the only setback is the price. Asphalt being the most popular. 

A simple, no fuss homeowners guide to inspecting your own roof

Learn more in our free ebook

to learn more about your roof get your free copy of: A Simple, No Fuss Homeowners Guide to Inspecting Your Own Roof