Pros and Cons of Residential Roofing Materials

Whether planning a new construction project or considering a roof renovation, choosing the right product for your home should be a calculated and educated decision.  While your new roof’s colour and design are important, take time to understand what type of roofing material will work best.  We will review some of the pros and cons of the most common products and specialty products in the modern roofing market:

If blustering winds removed most of your shingles or packed snow formed a major leak, you have a couple of different options. The most common is to simply patch leaks and order replacement shingles. This can be an easy, quick fix if you trust a reliable roofing contractor. However, old and worn roofs might need a more extensive overhaul.

If you have dealt with a leaking roof for years or have to make numerous roof repairs, you should consider replacing your entire roof. For many this is the best option to avoid constant maintenance issues; you might even save money in the long-run.

While your new roof’s colour and design are important, take time to understand what material will work best as well. Modern roofs come in a variety of materials. However, many people don’t know how these materials function and why one might work better for them. In this blog post, we’ll discuss some of the most popular roofing material options so you can be informed when you call a roofing professional.

Asphalt/Fibreglass (Composition) Shingles

Asphalt shingles remain homeowners’ most popular roofing option. Shingles combine great value with solid performance and can be customized to give a defined look, for example, through high profile ridge cap.  They also come in varying thickness and can earn a Class 4 impact rating against hail damage—a rating more and more insurance companies are acknowledging as the highest tier protection for a roof.


A low cost roofing system you can expect 25-30 years of protection after installation on a typical roof.  Easy to repair/replace, asphalt/fibreglass shingles are a flexible choice.  Many colour options are available as well as different shingle profiles offering a customizable protection from a basic package to heavy duty.


While they are popular, they tend to degrade more quickly than other roofing material options. After a few years, weather conditions can wear them out, hail might damage them, and winds may rip them off.  If you collect run off your roof for use in a garden etc., granule loss from the asphalt may contaminate the water.  Shingles generally hug the contours of the roof deck, but may need some time to settle into place after install.  Architectural controls occasionally prohibit the use of shingles in a subdivision—always check to ensure you are familiar with your area before making your choice!

Cedar Shakes and Shingles

Cedar is a common softwood tree that grows throughout North America. Its rustic style gives a traditional and natural impression many homeowners love.  An age-old choice for construction, cedar roofs are a durable and stylish choice for specialty roofing.


Cedar shakes and shingles looks fantastic.  High quality cedar heavy shakes will last over 30 years, blending gracefully from a rich amber to a weathered grey.  For breathability, cedar shakes and shingles are unbeatable.  Roofs transferring from cedar to shingles often have to add several extra vents to compensate for the loss in ventilation.  Cedar shingles provide heightened insulation, which increases your energy efficiency.


At a higher price point than standard asphalt shingles, customers should expect premium reliability out of cedar.  Unfortunately, the quality of the new cedar shakes are in many instances inferior to the cedar of 40 years ago.  What used to be called “medium” shakes in the old days are now considered “heavy”, a customer must choose carefully to get the same kind of performance out cedar as they may expect.  Cedar is extremely flammable, even after treatments. Over time, cedar will begin to push back on the staples in the ridge capping and they will require to be refastened before they blow off or are washed out. Cedar repairs leave noticeable colour blotches on the roof which will stand out for several years before fading to a more uniform grey.  Lastly, splinters from shakes/shingles can contribute to clogging eavestrough and drains.

Metal Roofing Systems

The modern roofing material, sleek style metal roofing provides is clearly evident even at a distance.  As stone coated steel or as standing seam ribs, metal roofing is the pinnacle of roofing systems.


Roman tile, sleek cedar, or modern standing seam metal roofing options has many customizable looks in a wide variety of colours.  Metal is one of the most durable roofing options.  Its weather-resistance ensures you won’t need to replace your roof for about half a century.  Metal is extremely fire resistant—aerial photos of California fires have shown fully intact metal roofs among total surrounding devastation.  Lightweight panels make metal roofing a practical option for both renovation and new construction projects, requiring no special trusses for installation.


The high initial price-point of metal makes it a non-realistic option for many customers.  Even considering a metal roof will last over 50 years (2 lifetimes of shingles) it is a daunting investment for many homeowners.  In the case of standing seam roofing, metal does not hold snow well and will always require snow rakes to be installed.

Whether you want a traditional look or favour an energy-efficient design, contact a roofing contractor at A. Clark Roofing for more information. We can give you advice on design options and roofing materials that will improve your home’s efficiency and as well as its curb appeal.

Call A. Clark Roofing in Edmonton at 780-465-7571

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