How To Pick a Roof Design For Your New Home

Written by Christie Simon

One of the joys of designing your dream home is you get to customize as many elements of your home as you’d like, from top to bottom. Your home’s exterior can be a playground for all kinds of different design ideas, with the walls, windows, roof, and other features all working in harmony with each other.

The roof design you’ll choose will then, of course, be dictated in part by the colours and architectural elements of the rest of your home. In this piece, we’re going to discuss some of the factors you should consider when choosing the materials used to build your roof, as well as both its colour and style.

Choosing materials for your roof

There are a number of considerations you should keep in mind when choosing materials for your roof. They include:

  • Cost
  • Longevity
  • Appearance
  • Environmental efficiency

At one time, the materials you chose would largely dictate what colour your roof could be. Fortunately, that’s changed for many materials – for example, you can now get asphalt shingles in a wide variety of different colours.

And you can use different roofing materials for many distinct styles of roofs. Unless you’re opting for a flat roofing system or a green roof (more on those later), you can use asphalt, slate, clay, or any other kind of material for your roof – it just depends on the style you’re looking for.

You can use the materials seen on other roofs in your neighbourhood as a guideline for what kind of material you might choose. You may also consider environmentally friendly materials. As a rule of thumb, the most environmentally friendly materials, like metal roofing, are also the longest lasting. That’s because the longer a roof lasts, the less often it needs to be replaced. That means less waste.

When building a home, investing in energy efficient practices upfront is a good idea, as they’re less expensive to implement initially then they would be through retrofitting. 

Choosing your roofs colour

There are an incredibly wide variety of different colours available for your roof, provided you go with a material like asphalt. When you opt for materials like clay or slate, there are fewer choices in the colours you can get – you’ll want the natural colour of the material to shine through.

For certain styles of roof, it’s acceptable to use paint. Metal roofing is a good example of this – you can use paint to change the colour of your metal roof, as well as to increase its resistance to heat transfer.

As with roofing materials, it’s important to look at the colours being used in your neighbourhood if you want a roofing style that’s cohesive with your neighbours.

Picking the architectural style of your roof

It can be a bit daunting to choose from the wide variety of roofing styles available. Fortunately, your home’s overall architectural style will mostly dictate what kind of roof you’ll have. Additionally, your home’s roofing style will be informed by the climate in your area.

For example, gambrel (barn-style) roofs are rare here in Edmonton. We get high winds and snowfall, both of which can create too much stress on gambrel roofs. Mansard roofs are possible to build here, but they need to be built carefully to allow for sufficient drainage when the snow falls.

Most commonly in our area, you’ll see gable and hip style roofs. If, however, there’s a roofing style you prefer, let your contractor know. Roofs are incredibly customizable, and with the right protections, materials, and insulation, you can get almost any style you can imagine. 

As our friend at Martens Contracting put it, “Your roof is your home’s first line of defence against the elements”. While aesthetic concerns are always important to keep in mind, the most important factor in your roof’s style is the level of protection that it offers your home.


There are a wide variety of different materials, colours, and styles that can be used when choosing your new roof. Think about the considerations we laid out in this piece, and talk to your contractor. Soon enough, you’ll have the roof of your dreams!