While roof minor repairs and maintenance will ensure they last for many years, roofs don’t last forever—unfortunately. When that time comes and you need a roof replacement, you want to choose a new roof shingle that will last and look great. While asphalt shingles are an immediate first choice, there are many other types to consider.
Different types of shingles offer different benefits including style, cost, durability, and efficiency. With this handy roof shingle guide, you’ll learn all about some of the best shingles in Canada. Once you’re informed, you can make an educated purchase for your new roof.
Signs you need a new roof
Before getting into the specifics of roof shingles, it’s important to know when you need to get new shingles. Waiting until your roof fails brings serious safety risks and unnecessary emergency costs. Premature replacements are just as wasteful if your roof is still in good condition. If you know the signs of a failing roof, you can plan ahead and start a budget for a replacement. It also gives ample time for some research into a good new shingle option.
Start with the warranty
An easy and quick check is to find out when your roof was replaced or if it has ever been reroofed. Reroofing can be done once and involves installing a new layer of shingles over the old roof. That is possible if your roof structure is in good condition and if there is only one layer of existing shingles. Most cities don’t allow three layers of shingles, so after two layers, the roof will need to be stripped and redone. Depending on the material, the best roof shingles can last between 20 to 50 years. If your roof is reaching the end of its lifespan, it’s worth planning a replacement before it fails.
Visual damage inspection
While roofing should never be DIYed, a visual inspection can still show signs of damage or wear. If there are extensive problems, like curling or cracked shingles, moss growth, and loose flashing, call a professional. The same goes for finding lots of granules in the gutters, which means the roof is starting to fail. A professional can safely climb onto the roof and inspect it up close for problems. If the damage can’t be easily repaired or the cost is too high, consider that a new roof may be more cost-effective.
A final check, and a sign of serious problems, is if there are interior problems. Look for stain marks on the ceiling, which indicates leaks coming from the roof. Checking the attic can also reveal problems like light shining through the ceiling. Holes and cracks risk water or unwanted pests getting into the attic and causing even more extensive damage. Given time, the damage can risk a breakdown of the roof structure itself. Roof failure is costly and a serious safety risk that is avoidable with proper roof care and replacement.
What to look for in new shingles
When looking at the new best roof shingles Canada, it can feel overwhelming with all the different styles and choices available. Understanding the different types and their benefits will help you pick the right shingles for your home. That includes understanding styles, price-points, the protection offered, and overall efficiency.
Because most shingle materials can mimic the look of others, there aren’t a lot of restrictions when it comes to appearances. Metal roofs, for example, can mimic the look of shingles, wood, or tiles. Wood shingles offer a traditional and more rustic design. Each type of roof shingles also comes in a wide range of different colours, so you can easily further customize the look.
The right pick will help boost your home’s curb appeal, so consider some complementary styles. The best way to get ideas is to look at what neighbouring houses have or consider your home’s architecture. Mediterranean homes will look stunning with a tiled roof, while a modern home will benefit from a complementary metal roof.
Do you live in an area that gets lots of snowfall and freezing temperatures? Or is it often rainy and stormy? Weather factors play a big role since your roof acts as the first line of defense against it. Without the right match, the roof could deteriorate and not last its full lifespan. Metal roofs can help reflect heat away from your home, making them great for hotter areas. If you live near the ocean, then aluminum roofs are resistant to corrosion from the sea salt. Asphalt is great for any weather as it is a durable material. A professional can also help when choosing the right best shingles Canada.
While colour can play a role in how efficient your roof is, there are other ways to boost that rating. ENERGY STAR certified shingles are designed to be more efficient and so provide better savings. They reflect more sun and heat, which helps keep your home’s temperatures more level and comfortable. Another way to boost efficiency is to add roof ventilation to your attic. That will help cycle out excess heat in the attic and draw in cooler air from outside. Not only does that increase efficiency, but it also helps further extend the lifespan of your roof.
Best shingles in Canada
Now that the factors and considerations surrounding shingles are clearer overall, it’s time to look at some of the specific best shingles in Canada. These shingles are made for Canadian climates and winters and offer great savings with long lifespans. No matter what your needs or budget, any shingle you pick will be a great investment.
1. Asphalt Shingles
Lifespan: 20+ years (depending on shingle style)
Resistant: strong winds, snow, hail, sun, fire, pests
One of the most popular shingles choices among homeowners is asphalt shingles. Across the board, this type of roofing offers the best of everything. It is the least expensive to buy and install, has a lifespan of 20 to 50 years depending on the product, and is incredibly durable. The material is perfectly balanced in weight, so the shingles won’t be torn off in strong winds or add excess weight to the roof. It is fire-resistant, can withstand extreme cold or heat without damage, and is eco-friendly to top it off.
Design-wise, asphalt comes in a range of different colours to better complement any home. Choosing a lighter coloured shingle will help keep your home’s temperatures cooler and efficiency up. The shingles themselves can be further customized with one of two looks:
These shingles offer a more flat, uniform appearance. They cost less and are easy to install. The downside is that the shingles are less durable against harsher weather or strong winds. As a result, their lifespan is shorter and lasts upwards of 15 years. Still, if budget is a key factor, then three-tab shingles are a good choice.
The increasingly popular second option is architectural shingles. These shingles are installed in an alternating, layered pattern that adds great visual interest and depth to your home. They are even more durable as a result and can stand up to stronger winds without damage. Cost is the main downside as architectural shingles are much more expensive. Still, if you plan to stay in your home for many more years, then the cost is worth the investment. With a lifespan of up to 30 years, you won’t have to worry about your roof anytime soon.
2. Metal shingles
Lifespan: 40 to 80 years (depending on the type of metal)
Resistant: strong winds, snow, hail, sun, fire, pests, mould, rust
Thanks to the advancement in metal roofing, it’s quickly becoming a popular candidate for best roof shingles Canada. Metal shingles are easy to install, come in a wide range of styles, colours, and different metals. A metal roof will last 40 to 80 years before it needs to be replaced, and most warranties cover up to 50 years. As for being energy efficient, metal roofs rank very high. They naturally reflect away heat and light, which helps keep your roof and home cool.
The main drawback of metal is the much higher cost compared to other materials. Metal roofs are often priced with premium rates, but you can recoup the cost over the years. According to Remodeling Magazine’s cost vs value 2020 report, a metal roof can recoup 61.2%. It’s also likely that you won’t ever have to replace the roof again, making the investment worthwhile with the right budget.
There are four main types of metal shingles to consider:
The least expensive of the metal roofing options and one of the most commonly used metals. Its lower cost doesn’t mean less durability, as steel is just as energy-efficient and robust as other metals. Steel is also completely recyclable, making it a great green roof option. Galvanized, galvalume, and weathering steel are the three main types of steel available. Galvanized has a layer of zinc added to protect against interior corrosion. Galvalume uses a combination of aluminum and zinc to similarly prevent corrosion. Weathering steel is commonly used for construction and intentionally allows the exterior to rust to protect the interior steel.
The second least expensive option and a great choice for coastal homes. Unlike steel, aluminum is naturally resistant to rust and corrosion. Like most metals, aluminum is completely recyclable, while its high efficiency keeps your home cool. However, it is lighter weight, so strong hail has a higher risk of causing damage.
It can be the most expensive option but also the longest lasting. Copper is also 100% recyclable, making it a great option for eco-friendly homes. Despite being a soft material and prone to hail damage, it is one of the quietest metals. Durability-wise, it can last for 50 years, if not more, with proper maintenance. Over time, copper will oxidize and change from its orange colouring to a greener shade.
Zinc has a natural ability to “heal” scratches and minor damage to its surface. Its protective patina is to thank for that, as it naturally reforms over time. That also means a virtually maintenance-free roof, so there are fewer added costs for repairs over the years. Like all metals, zinc is just as resistant to insects, fire, and fungus growth. The main downside is that zinc is almost as expensive as copper.
3. Wood shingles
Lifespan: 30 to 40 years (with regular maintenance)
Resistant: strong winds, snow, hail, insects (cedar)
Wood roofing is among the most aesthetically appealing choices, but it also has the highest maintenance. Still, the visual aesthetics of wood shingles can’t be beaten for the best roof shingles. Wood roofs can come as shingles or shakes, which offer different visual styles. Shingles are cut into thin sections for a uniform and clean appearance. Shakes are sawn and hand-split to create a more rustic appearance.
Cedar is the most common choice for wood roofs, as it offers many natural benefits. For example, despite being a wood, cedar itself is resistant to insects and other pests. Like most wood, cedar roofs are incredibly energy efficient. They provide natural insulation that can maintain your home’s temperature and help save on those monthly energy bills.
The only downside is that it does need more maintenance to ensure the roof lasts for its full lifespan. Clearing away leaves and debris will prevent moisture from getting trapped and rot from settling in. Another consideration is that—over time—untreated cedar shingles will begin to fade and change to a silvery grey. While many homeowners find this appealing, not all do. It doesn’t affect the shingles’ integrity, but if you don’t want the change, keep the shingles sealed with treatment.
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4. Tile shingles
Lifespan: upwards of 100 years (given the right climate)
Resistant: strong winds, hail, fire, insects, rot
If you like the low maintenance and long lifespan of metal roofs, tile shingles are another great option. With proper installation, they can share the same durability that metal roofs provide. Tile shingles can come in a range of different types and materials. The most popular materials for best shingles Canada are either clay or slate. The tile itself can last upwards of 100 years, given the right climate and professional installation, but you won’t get a warranty for that long!
It is also resistant to rot, insects, and decay. Unless a tile is physically broken, the roof itself has virtually zero maintenance. Tile roofs are one of the top energy-efficient options and greatly help regulate interior temperatures to cut monthly bills.
There are some important considerations with tile, starting with its weight. Since tile is a heavier material, your roof’s structure must be in good condition and able to support the roof. Serious impact damage can also cause damage to the tile, like falling branches or severe hailstorms. Lastly, tile is a more difficult material to install. It requires a professional with the right experience and skill to ensure your roof is properly sealed and protected.
5. Rubber shingles
Lifespan: 30 to 50 years
Resistant: strong winds, extreme climate, leaks, fire, insects
Perhaps a surprising choice of material to some, rubber roofing is nonetheless a well-worthwhile choice. Unlike other roof materials, rubber has more benefits than it does drawbacks. Its cost is similar to that of asphalt, making it a great budget-friendly option. The material is also made from recycled rubber like tires, so it’s another great green option. Despite needing little maintenance, rubber roofs will easily last 30 to 50 years with professional installation. Rubber shingles are also incredibly durable, making cracks, weather wear, or leaks very unlikely. Even in extremely hot or cold climates, the shingles won’t crack or turn brittle. The material itself is also made to cut cooling costs and not absorb excess heat.
The only drawback of rubber shingles is that a skilled roofer is needed to install the roof properly. An inexperienced roofer can cause problems and costly repairs down the road. Appearance can also be a drawback to some homeowners, but rubber roofs can be painted to change their look.
Call a professional roofer
Roofing installation and detailed maintenance should never be DIYed. It comes with too many personal risks, safety hazards, and costly repairs without the right experience. A professional roofer can safely handle any installation, and they have the right tools for the job. They’ll ensure your roof won’t leak with the first rainstorm or blow loose on a gusty day.
If you need help choosing the right shingle or between two options, a roofer will also help. They’ll inspect your roof to suggest the right fit for your budget, home, and lifestyle needs. Whether that’s a curb appeal boost, better efficiency, or just a roofing material that will last for years, a roofer can help.
Ready to equip your home with the best roof shingles? Find RenovationFind certified roofers today!
“I’m here to help you with your roofing project”
– Dani / CST at RenovationFind
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