The time has come for your roof to be replaced. Now all you need to do is figure out which roofing material is right for you. When it comes to choosing a new roof, there’s more to consider than just aesthetics (though that plays an important part, too). We’ve broken down the most common types of roofing materials and how to choose yours.
3 Things to Consider When Choosing a New Roofing Material:
Before you begin your search and start comparing asphalt shingles to copper, there are 3 factors to take into consideration when deciding on a new material for your roof.
1. Consider Your Lifestyle
Are you currently living in your forever home or are you planning on moving within the next 5 years? The longer you plan on staying in your home, the more important your roof’s durability becomes. Think about how much time, effort and money you want to put into your home, as this will help determine what kind of budget you should set. Once you have a budget in mind, you can better narrow down which materials you can afford and which ones you can ignore.
2. Consider the Look of Your Home
Your roof is most likely the largest and most visible parts of your home’s exterior, which is why choosing a roof that complements the design of your home is so important. Do you live in a shabby-chic cottage inspired home? Or do you dream of a sleek and modern space? The material you choose for your roof will greatly impact the overall style of your home, so make sure you pick something that fits your budget and your home’s style.
3. Consider the Climate You Live In
The weather your roof will have to handle is a huge factor in deciding which material to go with. Do you live on a particularly sunny street where the hot sun beats down all day long? Maybe you live in a very rainy climate that occasionally sees hail. Whatever weather could possibly come your way, it’s important your roof can handle it.
Once you have these 3 things figured out, all that is left is to figure out which roofing material is best for your home.
Types of Roofing Materials:
Asphalt shingles are a good choice if you’re looking to do a quick repair to your roof or are not planning on staying there forever. If you are looking for longevity in your roof, this is not your best option. Asphalt shingles can last anywhere from 10-15 years, depending on how the shingles are installed and the quality of the shingle itself.
Asphalt shingles are not very heat resistant and do not handle strong rays from the sun very well. While this sounds like a negative, it’s really not considering our mostly cold Canadian climate. They do however help with humidity issues, as they’re most commonly made of granulated zinc or copper.
If you’re okay with having to replace them again at some point, asphalt shingles are a good option because of their low price point, wide variety of colours and easy installation and maintenance.
Wood shingles have been around for a long time and are still a good option under the right circumstances. They are a good choice for steeply-pitched roofs as the incline helps to show off the natural texture. These shingles are often handmade to further increase their rustic appearance.
One issue you can run into is whether your building code will allow wooden shingles. Due to the material and its susceptibility to fire, some places will not allow them. Check this out first if you really have your heart set on a wood roof.
Another issue with wooden roofs is that they are prone to rot and decay over time. You can treat your roof periodically with preservatives and fungicides, but this requires upkeep and more work for you. If you’re willing to put in the work to maintain a wooden roof, it can last you roughly 25 years. Keep in mind that it will be more expensive but worth it to achieve the look you want.
Slate roofs are beautiful and can last a lifetime due to their natural stone material being very durable. In fact, some experts consider slate to be the best and most durable of all roofing materials. Of course, when you’re considered the best, there’s a heavy price tag that comes along with that title. A slate roof can cost anywhere from 10 to 20 times more than an asphalt roof.
Due to its weight and cost, slate roofs require strong structures to support them and are rarely used these days for residential homes. If you’re stuck on the idea of a slate roof, be sure your home can handle the weight.
Metal (Aluminum, Steel, and Copper)
Metal roofs are not only very durable, they are also lightweight and resistant to weather, pests and fire. This is why steel, in particular, is one of the most common types of roofing material used in Canada.
While they can be expensive, depending on what kind of metal you choose, they will last for about 30-50 years. When you combine the durability with the fact that metal roofs can be molded or pressed to resemble other roof types, it’s easy to see why so many Canadians have opted for metal roofs on their homes.
If you’re looking for an alternative option to the above, a synthetic roof might be just what you’re looking for. Synthetic roofs are often made from materials like polymers and composites and are designed to look like more traditional materials.
Synthetics are both durable and lightweight, and as an added bonus come in at a similar price point to asphalt shingles. They require little maintenance and can last upwards of 50 years.
Now that you’ve read about your options, the only thing left to decide is which one to go with. Once you’ve considered how long you plan to live in your current home, what budget and style of roof fits, and how the weather will affect it, you can move on to the next step and find the right company for your job. To learn more about selecting a roofer, roofing material and to get a cost estimate, check out our roofing cost guide.
Cover image courtesy of Good Housekeeping.