When it comes to choosing roofing materials, there’s a lot to consider. While your roofing team can deal with the technical details, like how sloped your roof is, it will be up to you to handle some of the other important decisions. How much do you want to spend? How long do you want the roofing to last? Do you want to choose eco-friendly materials?
And, of course, how do you want your roof to look? Aesthetics matter.
We’re going to present you with a few of the many options available on the market. These are primarily for use on sloped roofs – relatively flat roofs are generally built using very different materials.
Asphalt shingles are the most popular residential roofing material – they’re inexpensive, they’re abundant, and they come in all kinds of different colours. They are, in fact, the least expensive of all the options we’re going to present here.
The problem with asphalt roofing is that it only lasts for 15 to 30 years – you may need to get your roof redone several times during your home’s lifetime. Asphalt is also the least environmentally friendly product out of all of the options we’re going to present – asphalt is petroleum, after all.
The rustic red of clay tiles and the intricate patterns that they’ll create are immediately eye-catching. Clay tile roofs are also incredibly durable – if you get a clay tile roof, you may occasionally need repairs, but it’s highly unlikely you’ll need to replace the roof in your lifetime.
That durability comes at a cost, however, and clay roofs are among the most expensive options we’re going to present here. You can get concrete tiles if you want a similar appearance for less cost (though they are less durable and less environmentally friendly). Clay tiles can take serious damage from impacts (like trees falling), and repairing the damage can be quite expensive.
Metal roofs are extremely durable, and they can lend your home a distinctly modern flare. Speaking of flares, they’re also quite reflective – that means they can reduce solar gain.
That’s great in the summer, but on a cold winter day in Calgary, you might prefer a roof that absorbs, rather than reflects, solar heat. Metal roofs are less expensive than their clay cousins, but more expensive than asphalt. They’re more environmentally friendly than asphalt or concrete, as they can be recycled (and are often made, in part, of recycled metals).
Slate is among the most durable materials out of any we’ve presented here. It comes in a variety of lovely hues, and it’s in a close heat for the most environmentally friendly product in this list. Slate, you see, is a type of rock, and it doesn’t have to be heavily modified to become roofing tiles. It’s incredibly durable, and you probably won’t need to replace it in your lifetime.
The problem with slate? It’s heavy, hard to install, and expensive – the second most expensive option in our list (arguably the most expensive, but we’ll get to that later).
Solar tiles are a very non-traditional roofing material. We’re not entirely sure how long they’ll last – estimates say somewhere from 30 to 50 years, but the products haven’t been around long enough to know for sure. They seem quite durable, however.
Solar tiles are the most expensive roofing material upfront, but proponents argue that you’ll be able to make your money back. It might, however, be a better idea to opt for a different roofing material and just install solar panels. Renewable energy is obviously environmentally friendly, but solar tiles are created using some less-than-environmentally-friendly means, including the harvesting of rare metals.
There are a wide variety of synthetic tiles now available – we’re talking rubber, polymers, and other kinds of synthetic materials. We generally don’t advise opting for these just yet – they may be viable, but they haven’t been around long enough to speak to their longevity. They tend to be relatively inexpensive compared to just about everything but asphalt, but they aren’t particularly environmentally friendly.
Have any questions about the materials we’ve talked about? Want some feedback on what might be best for your roof? Get in touch with us – we provide roof repairs and installations.