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How do you know you need a new roof?  Typically this question is answered as a result of a weather event such as a roof damaged by high winds that blow off shingles or even a part of the roof; water is dampening the wall or ceiling during heavy rains; or during an inspection when you’re attempting to sell your home.

Once you’ve concluded you need a new roof, what’s the best choice for you?  You’ll want to consider the following:

  • Does the roof offer the best weather protection for the type of weather in my geographic area?
  • Does the roofing material offer fire codes?
  • Do I have a choice of styles and colours that will enhance the look of my home?
  • Was my roof built to hold the weight of my selected material? Or will I need additional framing?
  • What kind of maintenance, if any, will it need?
  • Do I need a specific type of installer?
  • What is the warranty lifespan of the roof?
  • How much will it cost for materials and installation?

We’ll review six different roof types so you can make an informed choice.

Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles come in a variety of colours, are easy to install, and are economical.  However, they don’t contribute to insulation, come in various qualities, and don’t have a very long lifespan compared to some of the other options.  The product can be warranted 10 to 40 years, but beware that many installers say they need to be replaced long before the warranty dates.

Slate Shingles

Slate shingles are very durable, sustainable, and fire resistant.  They also requires professional installation, are very expensive, and need extra framing due to their heavy weight. One reason they cost so much is because they can weather the elements for 50 to 100 years.

Metal Roofs

Metals roofs are durable even in extreme weather, come in either shingle or panel styles, and work well in rainwater catch systems.  They are also more durable than wood or asphalt.  Although relatively expensive, a metal roof can last from 40 to 75 years.

Clay and Concrete Tiles

Clay and concrete tiles are energy efficient, long lasting and not combustible in case of fire.  They also have insulating properties.  Clay and concrete tiles are very heavy, need additional framing, and require professional installation.  They are on the expensive side but usually last 40 to 50 years

Wood Shakes and Shingles

Wood shakes are hand cut and wood shingles are machine cut. They are prohibited in some areas of the country due to fire codes.  They’re usually moderately priced in product but need to be made from southern pine, redwood, or cedar.  They are not ideal in wet climates as they can rot, mould and/or split.  Wood roofs usually last 25 to 30 years.


Synthetic roofing materials are rubber, polymer roofing or plastic. Not typically as heavy, expensive, or fragile as natural products like slate, wood or clay, synthetics are moderately priced and warrantied up to 50 years. However, quality does vary, so make sure you confirm your warranty information.





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