The 5 Most Common Roofing Materials in Canada

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Whether you are updating your existing roof or installing new, knowing the positives and negatives of each type of material is important nonetheless. With proper preparation and thought put into the type of material used, you can significantly increase the longevity of your roof and add value to your home. 

Furthermore, installing a new type of roof is a perfect time to upgrade your home in terms of style and curb appeal. In regards to a Canadian climate, you should also make sure that the roofing material you use offers great performance characteristics in extreme weather conditions. This is why as a custom home builder in Edmonton, I will list the 5 most practical types of roofs used in Canada, along with the positives and negatives of each.


Most common types of roofs in Canada

1. Asphalt Roofs

roofing material canada

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

Positives: 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. They come in many colors and can come in different shapes.

Negatives: This product has the shortest life span of all the roofing materials as it only lasts 10 to 25 years. It does not provide any insulating effects and can reflect solar energy in the winter.


2. Wood and Cedar Shake Roofs

types of roofs canada

Probably the second most common type of roofing material in Canada, wood shingles are an aesthetically pleasing option compared to asphalt. Wood shakes have been around for hundreds of years, and come in many shapes and sizes.

Positives: The greatest positive about using wood shingles is that it provides a natural and rustic look. It significantly increases the curb appeal of your home and is aesthetically pleasing.

Negatives: 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 is about 3 times the cost of asphalt shingles. It can also be subject to mold if improperly placed and is not fire resistant. 


3. Metal Roofs

roof material canada

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, aluminum, copper, and even stainless steel.

Positives: Metal roofing is extremely long lasting, lightweight, and comparable to the cost of asphalt shingles (slightly higher). They can be recycled down the road, and more people today use them for rainwater harvesting. 

Negatives: The only negative of metal roofing is that snow loads on pitched roofs can easily slide off. Therefore, you must put slip guards on these homes to combat dumps of snow.


4. Tile and Slate Roofs

most common roofs

Tile roofs are becoming more common in the new Canadian housing market. As a custom home builder, we see that tile roofs are more versatile in design, come in a wide range of colors, and are more lightweight. The cost has also come down for the supply and install of a tile/slate roof.

Positives: A tile or 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 colors, is lighter than before, and can come in a wide array of designs.

Negatives: The greatest negative of a tile/slate roof is that they are still a heavy product and may need additional reinforcement of the trusses to withstand the weight. They are moderately expensive (slightly less than wood and rubber) and is the most difficult to repair.

5. Rubber Roofs

rubber roof

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. 

Positives: Rubber roofs, along with metal, are extremely durable and fire resistant. Since they are black, they have high solar absorbance and can increase the insulating effects of your home. They are aesthetically pleasing and long very long lasting (upwards of 50 years)

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

Final Thoughts

Dependent on the style of home you are building, architectural guidelines you must follow, and the cost you are willing to spend on a roof, these 5 types of roofing material have all stood the test of time in our Canadian climate. Even though rubber roofing is a relatively new product, rubber has been used for waterproofing and sealants for more than a 100 years. 

All of the products of been used on homes we have built and can say that we completely back these products to withstand the Canadian climate.