For many homeowners, the roof is oftentimes an afterthought of a home's structure and aesthetic appearance. That is, of course, until it starts to cause problems and leak.
Given the cost that is associated with replacing an existing roof or constructing a new one, it is important to take the time and research the style, material and colour that would best suit your home and budget.
If you are in the market for a new roof, look at styles that will be able to endure the weather conditions where you live, while also enhancing the design of your home.
- Gable: A simple and very common design with numerous options for slope pitches, this roof looks likes an inverted "V" with two sloping sides that come together at a ridge and is often accompanied with dormers. Cross gable roofs are a popular design option and consist of two or more gable roofs that intersect. Gable roofs are well-suited for areas with lots of precipitation.
- Flat: All roofs that appear flat need to have at least some pitch to them to allow for water drainage. An inadequate pitch could result in water pooling on the roof's surface, which can cause leaks. While a common choice for commercial buildings and homes constructed with a modern architectural appearance, extreme weather conditions wreak havoc on flat roofs, typically making their life span significantly less than sloped roofs.
- Mansard: Also known as a French-style roof, this design has two slopes on each of the four rides. The lower slope is typically quite steep and may look like a wall, while the upper slope is often a very low pitch. This style provides the benefit of allowing for living space in the top portion of a home. In regions that receive heavy snowfalls, the portion of the roof that is low-pitched may require ongoing maintenance.
- Gambrel: This roof shape is essentially a gable roof with a change in slope partway up the roof. Like with the mansard style, gambrel roofs, also known as "barn-style" roofs, allow for the upper portion of a home to be used for living space. While easy and affordable to construct, gambrel roofs are not as durable as many other roofline shapes and may require additional reinforcing in areas with strong winds.
- Hip: Also known as a "hipped roof" this is another common roof design, which is sloped on all four sides. This shape of roof is extremely durable and will tolerate all kinds of weather conditions, particularly high winds. The trade-off, however, is these roofs often allow for only very limited attic space.
- Shed: This shape resembles one half of a gable roof. This single sloped surface is rarely the main or sole roof for a home, but is commonly used for covering dormers, verandas and sheds. The pitch on this roof shape allows for excellent drainage with rain and snow.
After you've picked the shape for your roof, it's time to choose the material for your roof. Once again, it is important to look at the options available to decide the material that will be most appropriate for your home.
- Asphalt Shingles: Without question this is the most common type of roofing material due to its durability, functionality and easy installation. Depending on the weather conditions, asphalt shingles typically last anywhere from 20 to 30 years. Keep in mind that shingles constructed with fibreglass are more fire-resistant than paper-based shingles.
- Wood Shingles or Shakes: Wood roofs are unique because they can be cut in many different shapes, allowing for custom designs. Wood shingles are cut by machine and shakes are split. These roofs last approximately 30 to 50 years, but do require ongoing maintenance, including removal of any mildew or mould and re-oiling the surface.
- Clay Tiles: Because they are not prone to rotting or splitting and are quite resistant, clay tiles have a very long life span of at least 50 years. Clay tiles are also available in select colours that will reflect more than 50% of the sun's heat. However, the heavy weight of these tiles necessitates the need for additional framing to support them.
- Metal: Available in copper, aluminum and stainless steel, metal sheeting is a very energy efficient option since it reflects the majority of the sun's heat. With a longevity of at least 50 years, these light roofs come with the benefit of being able to withstand extreme weather conditions.
- Slate: Slate is a fantastic roofing option that will endure harsh weather and remain secure for up to a century. Slate is resistant to rotting, warping and burning, while adding a unique element to your home's exterior. Like clay, slate is quite heavy and requires additional framing to support its weight. This impressive longevity comes with a hefty price tag on materials and labour, so it is important to carefully determine if a slate roof is right for you.
By: Erin Kelly