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Types of Roofing Materials

When it comes to replacing your home’s roof, there are many options to consider for roofing materials. From classic shingles and versatile roll roofing to robust metal and advanced panel options, each type offers distinct benefits. Deciding on the type of roofing material for your home involves more than just aesthetics – factors like durability, maintenance, installation, and cost play a crucial role. We’ll help you choose the best roofing type for your home in this handy guide.

Roof Shingles

Roof shingles are available in various materials including asphalt, fibreglass, and composite and are a versatile roofing solution.

Asphalt shingles are an affordable, budget-friendly option that are easy to install. With a lifespan of around 15 to 30 years, they provide reasonable durability, but may require periodic maintenance and can be susceptible to weather damage.

Fibreglass shingles are lightweight, fire-resistant and are easy to install. Their lifespan is similar to asphalt shingles, about 20-30 years. Though they cost slightly more than asphalt, their benefits can justify the investment.

Composite shingles combine materials like asphalt and fibreglass for increased durability and have a lifespan of around 30 to 50 years. Their enhanced resilience contributes to a higher price point compared to traditional asphalt shingles.

Installation of these shingles is straightforward and does not require any special framing due to their light weight. While each type has its pros and cons, roof shingles, including asphalt, fibreglass, and composite, remain a popular and cost-effective choice for roofing projects.

Roll Roofing

Roll roofing is a practical choice for budget-conscious projects. It’s lightweight, so it’s easy to install, making it suitable for both DIY enthusiasts and professionals. Roll roofing is often used on low-slope roofs or sheds due to its ease of application.

While it is a more affordable option, roll roofing typically has a shorter estimated lifespan compared to other materials, ranging from 5 to 10 years, and may require more frequent maintenance and replacement over time.

Due to its lightweight and flexible nature, roll roofing usually doesn’t require special framing like some heavier roofing materials, making it an excellent choice for certain projects where cost and simplicity are prioritized.

Metal Roofing

Metal roofing is a special-order item that can be ordered at The Home Depot Canada by speaking to an associate in-store.

It encompasses a range of options, including standing-seam, steel (corrugated and stone-coated), and aluminum roofing. Each type of metal roof has distinct features and attributes that make them all great choices for your roofing project. Metal roofing is lightweight and low maintenance.

Standing-seam metal roofing provides a sleek appearance and exceptional durability, often lasting 40 to 70 years, especially with no exposed fasteners on the roof, reducing the chance of leaks. It is low maintenance and weather resistant. Installation might require professional expertise due to the specific design, and its initial cost is higher, but standing-seam metal roofing is lightweight and typically doesn't necessitate specialized framing.

Steel roofing – available in corrugated and stone-coated varieties – offers a blend of strength and style. Corrugated steel is cost-effective and durable, while stone-coated steel combines the durability of steel with the appearance of other materials, providing an estimated lifespan of 30 to 50 years. While stone-coated steel may be more expensive upfront, its long-term value can offset costs.

Aluminum roofing is lightweight and corrosion-resistant, making it suitable for areas near water. It offers high durability and low maintenance, with an estimated lifespan of 30 to 50 years. Although aluminum roofing may require a higher initial investment, its benefits can justify the cost. Its lightweight and usually does not require special framing.

Roof Panels

Roof panels, including polycarbonate, PVC, corrugated plastic and clear variants offer diverse options for roofing needs and are a smart choice for your next roofing project.

Polycarbonate roof panels are known for their high impact resistance and transparency, as well as their durability and resistance to UV rays. Polycarbonate panels have an estimated lifespan of 20 to 25 years, and their cost varies depending on thickness and quality. These panels are lightweight, typically not requiring special framing.

PVC roof panels combine affordability with water resistance and offer a lifespan of about 15 to 20 years. PVC panels offer low cost, ease of installation, and resistance to weather elements, and being lightweight, generally do not require special framing.

Corrugated plastic roofing is a cost-effective option with benefits like impact resistance and flexibility. It has an estimated lifespan of around 10 to 15 years, and is easy to install, making it suitable for DIY projects. Corrugated plastic roofing is among the most economical options, making it ideal for temporary or budget-conscious solutions. Its lightweight nature usually eliminates the need for special framing.

Clear roof panels offer transparency and allow natural light into spaces below, providing enhanced visibility and aesthetics. Clear panels have a similar lifespan to polycarbonate, around 20 to 25 years, and their cost varies based on quality and thickness. As with polycarbonate, clear panels are lightweight and generally don't require special framing.

More Roofing Materials

Cedar shingles are shown stacked on top of one another.

Cedar Shakes and Shingles

Cedar shingles are one of the most common wooden roof types. They’re moisture resistant and durable. Other popular types include redwood and pine.

Clay roof tiles are being installed.

Roof Tiles

Roof tiles come in different materials, including clay, concrete and more.

Clay tiles offer timeless elegance and durability, with a lifespan of around 50 to 100 years. They require proper installation due to their weight.

Concrete tiles provide versatility and a lifespan of 30 to 50 years, requiring moderate maintenance.

Slate roof tiles are shown.

Slate Roofing

Slate roof tiles boast a natural, upscale appearance and a lifespan of 75 to 100 years. They usually require professional installation due to their weight but offer exceptional longevity.

A roof with solar panels installed on it is shown.

Solar Panels and Shingles

Adding a solar roof is a great way to save on energy costs, as it integrates renewable energy generation into or onto traditional roofing materials.

Solar panels, typically installed on existing rooftops, convert sunlight into electricity. They are versatile, suitable for various roof types, and can significantly reduce energy bills.

Solar shingles are typically made from copper indium gallium selenide, which allows them to be flexible and thin. They blend seamlessly with traditional roofing materials, camouflaging the solar technology into looking like normal roof tiles, enhancing aesthetic appeal.

A worker replaces roof shingles.

When Do You Need a Roof Replacement?

  • Signs of a possible roof replacement include identifying leaks. If water stains appear on ceilings or walls, it might indicate a leak, but checking your roof is a crucial first step.
  • Examine your attic for stains, streaks, or moldy insulation on roof boards and trusses – which would indicate the need for a roof replacement.
  • Examine metal flashing around vents, chimneys, and valleys, if it is damaged, it isn’t protecting these areas and should be replaced.
  • Watch for peeling, curling, or missing shingles. Over time, sun and weather can cause asphalt shingles to crack or curl. To avoid leaks, replacing the roof is advised.
  • For wood roofing, inspect it for rot. Different coloration, missing pieces, or excessive moss/algae growth indicate potential issues. Probe the wood with a screwdriver; if it's soft, replacement might be necessary.
  • Well-maintained roofs can last 20 to 25 years, but signs of significant wear beyond that timeframe warrant prompt attention and replacement. 

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