Types of Roofing Materials Used in Canada

When it comes to choosing the right roofing material for your home in Canada, it’s important to consider the unique challenges posed by the Canadian climate. From extreme temperatures to heavy snowfall, your roof needs to be able to withstand it all. In this article, we will explore the different types of roofing materials commonly used in Canada, their advantages, and disadvantages, to help you make an informed decision for your home.

Explore the Types of Roofs in Canada

Asphalt Roofs

Asphalt roofs, particularly asphalt shingles, dominate the Canadian roofing landscape due to their affordability, versatility, and easy installation. A notable improvement in recent years involves reinforcing asphalt shingles with fiberglass, significantly enhancing their durability and longevity. This evolution addresses concerns about the lifespan of traditional asphalt roofs, making them a resilient and cost-effective choice for homeowners in Canada.

Advantages of Asphalt Roofs

  • Affordability: Asphalt shingles are the most economical roofing option in Canada. They have the lowest supply and installation cost compared to other materials.
  • Versatility: Asphalt shingles come in a wide range of colors and styles, allowing you to choose the one that best matches your home’s aesthetic.
  • Easy installation: Asphalt shingles are relatively easy to install, making the process quick and efficient.

Disadvantages of Asphalt Roofs

  • Lifespan: Asphalt shingles have a shorter lifespan compared to other roofing materials, typically lasting between 10 to 25 years.
  • Lack of insulation: Asphalt shingles do not provide much insulation, which can result in higher energy costs.
  • Reflects solar energy: In winter, asphalt shingles can reflect solar energy, potentially leading to ice dams and snow accumulation on the roof.

Wood and Cedar Shake Roofs

Wood shingles and cedar shakes have gained popularity for their distinct natural and rustic aesthetic, making them sought-after choices for roofing. Renowned for adding a unique charm to homes, these materials impart a timeless and classic appearance. Beyond their visual appeal, wood shingles and cedar shakes are valued for their exceptional insulation properties. This characteristic not only contributes to energy efficiency but also provides a comfortable interior environment. Homes adorned with wood and cedar shake roofs not only stand out for their visual allure but also benefit from the practical advantages of natural insulation, creating a harmonious blend of style and functionality.

Advantages of Cedar Shake Roofs

  • Aesthetic appeal: Cedar shakes provide a natural and rustic look, enhancing the curb appeal of your home.
  • Insulation: Wood shingles offer excellent insulation, helping to regulate the temperature inside your home.
  • Longevity: With proper maintenance, cedar shake roofs can last between 15 to 25 years.

Disadvantages of Cedar Shake Roofs

  • Cost: Wood and cedar shake roofs are more expensive compared to asphalt shingles, costing about three times as much.
  • Maintenance: Wood shingles require regular maintenance to prevent issues such as mold and rot.
  • Fire resistance: Wood shingles are not fire-resistant and may require additional fireproofing measures.

Metal Roofs

Metal roofs have earned recognition for their outstanding durability and resilience against extreme weather conditions. Particularly notable for their ability to withstand the harsh elements, metal roofs are gaining increasing popularity in Canada. Their longevity is a key factor driving this trend, as metal roofs offer a durable and long-lasting roofing solution. Additionally, metal roofs contribute to energy efficiency, reflecting sunlight and reducing heat absorption, which can result in lower cooling costs. The combination of durability, weather resistance, and energy efficiency positions metal roofs as a practical and sustainable choice, appealing to homeowners in Canada seeking a reliable and resilient roofing option for their homes.

Advantages of Metal Roofs

  • Durability: Metal roofs are extremely durable and can last up to 50 years or more with proper maintenance.
  • Energy efficiency: Metal roofs reflect solar heat, reducing cooling costs in the summer months.
  • Fire resistance: Metal roofs are fire-resistant, providing an added layer of safety for your home.

Disadvantages of Metal Roofs

  • Higher upfront cost: Metal roofs are more expensive upfront compared to other roofing materials.
  • Noise: Metal roofs can be noisy during heavy rain or hailstorms, although insulation can help mitigate this issue.
  • Snow build-up: Snow can slide off metal roofs, potentially causing harm to people or property below. Slip guards may be needed to prevent this.

Tile and Slate Roofs

Tile and slate roofs are revered for their timeless and elegant aesthetics, imparting a sophisticated charm to any home. Beyond their visual appeal, these roofing materials are celebrated for their exceptional durability, making them stand out in terms of longevity. The ability to withstand extreme temperatures further enhances their reputation for resilience. The robust nature of tile and slate roofs ensures they can endure diverse weather conditions without compromising their structural integrity. Homeowners who choose tile or slate roofs not only benefit from a classic and refined appearance but also enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing their roofs can withstand the challenges of varying climates, providing enduring protection and beauty for years to come.

Advantages of Tile and Slate Roofs

  • Durability: Tile and slate roofs can last upwards of 50 years with proper maintenance.
  • Fire resistance: Both tile and slate roofs are fire-resistant, providing added protection for your home.
  • Aesthetic appeal: Tile and slate roofs add a touch of elegance and sophistication to any architectural style.

Disadvantages of Tile and Slate Roofs

  • Weight: Tile and slate roofs are heavier than other roofing materials, which may require additional structural reinforcement.
  • Cost: Tile and slate roofs tend to be more expensive compared to other options.
  • Difficulty of repair: If a tile or slate roof is damaged, repairs can be more challenging and expensive compared to other materials.

Synthetic Slate Roofs

Synthetic slate roofs emerge as a cost-effective alternative to their natural counterparts, providing a budget-friendly option without compromising aesthetics. These roofs mimic the classic look of natural slate, offering a visually appealing solution for homeowners seeking an elegant appearance at a more affordable price point. The affordability of synthetic slate roofs makes them an attractive choice for those who appreciate the timeless aesthetics of slate but have budget considerations. Despite their cost-effectiveness, synthetic slate roofs maintain a comparable visual appeal, showcasing how advancements in roofing materials allow for affordable options that capture the essence of more expensive counterparts, expanding choices for homeowners looking for both style and economic viability.

Advantages of Synthetic Slate Roofs

  • Affordability: Synthetic slate roofs are generally cheaper than natural slate roofs.
  • Lightweight: Synthetic slate roofs are lighter, which reduces the need for additional structural reinforcement.
  • Durability: With a lifespan of 40 to 50 years, synthetic slate roofs offer a long-lasting roofing solution.

Disadvantages of Synthetic Slate Roofs

  • Not as authentic: While synthetic slate roofs mimic the appearance of natural slate, they may not have the same level of authenticity.
  • Lifespan: Synthetic slate roofs may not last as long as natural slate roofs.
  • Cost: While cheaper than natural slate, synthetic slate roofs are still more expensive than other roofing materials.

Rubber Roofs

Rubber roofs, often referred to as EPDM roofs, represent a contemporary addition to the roofing materials utilized in Canada. Noteworthy for their durability and extended lifespan, rubber roofs have gained attention for their resilience in diverse weather conditions. Beyond their practical advantages, these roofs are environmentally friendly, aligning with a growing focus on sustainable building practices. The longevity of rubber roofs reduces the need for frequent replacements, contributing to a more sustainable and eco-conscious approach to roofing. As a relatively new but increasingly embraced option, rubber roofs showcase a commitment to durability, longevity, and environmental responsibility in the evolving landscape of roofing materials.

Advantages of Rubber Roofs

  • Durability: Rubber roofs can last upwards of 50 years with proper installation and maintenance.
  • Energy efficiency: Rubber roofs have high solar absorbance, helping to insulate your home and reduce energy costs.
  • Aesthetic appeal: Rubber roofs can be aesthetically pleasing and come in various colors and styles.

Disadvantages of Rubber Roofs

  • Cost: Rubber roofs are more expensive than asphalt shingles due to the labor-intensive installation process.
  • Limited availability: Rubber roofs may not be as widely available as other roofing materials.
  • Vulnerability to punctures: Rubber roofs can be susceptible to punctures from sharp objects, requiring careful maintenance.

Factors for Selecting the Roofing Materials for Your Home in Canada

When selecting the roofing material for your home in Canada, there are several factors to consider:

  1. Climate:
    Consider the climate in your region and choose a material that can withstand the temperature extremes and weather conditions.
  2. Cost:
    Determine your budget and choose a material that fits within your financial constraints.
  3. Aesthetic appeal:
    Consider the architectural style of your home and choose a material that complements its design.
  4. Longevity:
    Assess the lifespan of the roofing material and choose one that offers long-term durability.
  5. Maintenance: 
  6. Consider the maintenance requirements of different roofing materials and choose one that aligns with your lifestyle.

When to Install a New Roof?

Knowing when to install a new roof is crucial in maintaining the integrity of your home. Here are some signs that indicate it’s time for a roof replacement:

  • Curling or cracked shingles
  • Missing or damaged roof tiles
  • Roof material reaching the end of its lifespan
  • Persistent leaks that cannot be repaired
  • Visible signs of water damage or mold

If you notice any of these signs, it’s essential to contact a professional roofing contractor to assess the condition of your roof and recommend the best course of action.

What are Shingles?

Shingles are a common roofing material used in Canada. They are individual overlapping elements that cover the roof’s surface, providing protection against the elements.

Types of Shingles for Your Roofs

There are various types of shingles available for your roof, including:

  • Asphalt shingles: Affordable and versatile, asphalt shingles are the most commonly used shingles in Canada.
  • Wood shingles: Wood shingles offer a natural and rustic look, but they require more maintenance.
  • Metal shingles: Metal shingles are durable and energy-efficient, offering a modern look for your home.
  • Tile shingles: Tile shingles provide a distinctive appearance and excellent durability, but they can be heavy.
  • Synthetic shingles: Synthetic shingles mimic the look of other materials, such as slate or wood, at a lower cost.


Choosing the right roofing material for your home in Canada is essential for withstanding the extreme weather conditions. Asphalt shingles are the most common and affordable option, while wood, metal, tile, slate, synthetic slate, and rubber roofs offer their own advantages and disadvantages. Factors such as climate, cost, aesthetic appeal, longevity, and maintenance should be considered when selecting the right material for your home. Knowing when to install a new roof and understanding the different types of shingles can also help in making an informed decision.


What is the best roof for winter in Canada?

Metal roofs are considered one of the best options for winter in Canada due to their durability and ability to shed snow and ice easily.

What type of roof is best for insurance in Canada?

Metal roofs can often result in lower insurance premiums due to their durability and fire resistance.

What is the most common residential roof?

Asphalt shingles are the most common residential roofing material used in Canada.

What is the strongest long-lasting roof?

Slate roofs are known for their strength and longevity, often lasting over 100 years.

What style roof lasts the longest?

Slate roofs have the longest lifespan, lasting over 100 years with proper maintenance.

What is the best roof for a house in Canada?

The best roof for a house in Canada depends on various factors, including climate, budget, and aesthetic preferences. Metal roofs, asphalt shingles, and slate roofs are popular choices.

What is the cheapest roof type in Canada?

Asphalt shingles are the cheapest roof type in Canada, offering an affordable and versatile option.

What type of roof is most reliable?

The reliability of a roof depends on various factors, including the quality of installation and maintenance. Generally, metal roofs and slate roofs are considered highly reliable.

What is the most expensive roof for a house?

Slate roofs are the most expensive roofing option for a house due to their durability and longevity.

For more information about the different types of roofing materials and to get expert advice on selecting the right roof for your home in Canada, contact Above All Roofing, a premium roofing company based in North Vancouver.