The Best Roofing Materials for Canadian Homes

The Best Roofing Materials for Canadian Homes


When it comes to choosing roofing materials, the options are so vast and so various in pricing that it can confuse buyers. The low price of asphalt often makes it the natural, uncontested choice for many sloping roofs. But did you know that whereas asphalt shingles are very popular as water shedding roofs in Canada’s wetter regions (like British Columbia), slate and clay tiles last much, much longer?

If you’re living in Western Canada, there is far more skilled slate roofing workers than there are in other parts of the country. Slate is very expensive, but its lifespan is measured in centuries. If your home is a masonry or brick home, which can support the extra weight, slate roofing is the best investment you can make for your family and future generations.

Clay tiles are the next best thing to slate in terms of lifespan. In the right climate, clay tiles can last 250 years. Clay is one of the oldest roofing systems. However, it is best suited for dry, hot climates since the freezing and thawing cycle can impact the lifespan. It’s not the best for Canadian homes, but if you do use it in a region like British Columbia where thermal cycling is frequent, you should choose frost-resistant Grade 1 quality.

When it comes to metal tiles, copper roofing is far superior to any other metal. It can be rated as many as 150 years. You will find that expensive homes with luxury roofs have copper tiles or sheeting, which says a lot about the price. But it comes with a lifetime warranty and takes on a beautiful pale green patina over time.

7-11 Roof

Asphalt can either be fiberglass or have a hydrocarbon composition covered in crushed stone. The problem with asphalt, which is so widely used, is that it is not very resistant to the sun. Inadequate ventilation in the attics can cause overheating and further reduce its usual lifespan (warranty period) of 20 to 25 years. On the flip side, it is easy to install and maintain. If you do use asphalt, make sure that the attics have enough vents to circulate air and keep temperatures tolerable.

Cedar shingles in various shapes and with a variety of aged finishes lend an old world charm that many Canadian homeowners are looking for. It is natural, bug-resistant and common in warmer climate zones. Only Extra-A Grade should be used for roofing, which is typically rated 30 years. But cedar is expensive to install, needs regular maintenance and is not fireproof.

Fiberglass shingles on the other hand, imitate cedar shingles, and last longer (about 50 years). This material is made of clay, fiberglass and resin, making it damp-resistant. It also needs no maintenance.

Metal tiles such as stainless or galvanized steel sheeting are the most common among metal roofing, though aluminum, galvalume and titanium sheeting is also available. It is recommended that metal roofing be installed by specialists, in which case it would come with a guarantee of 50 years. The metal itself can last 100 years or more and can be very versatile in appearance.

Flat roofs have their own (limited) options for coverings. These include asphalt covering, elastomeric membrane and thermoplastic olefin membrane. Asphalt covering is the least expensive but comes with 10-year warranty. The other membranes can last 40 to 50 years. A professional local roofing contractor will be best able to help you make a decision on the best roofing material for your home’s flat or sloping roof.


Ardent Roof Systems inc.

9765 45 Ave NW
Edmonton, Alberta
T6E 5V8

(780) 488-4900

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