Asphalt shingles are the most common type of roofing material in North America for residential applications. Despite some history of problems and the traditional complaints, such as curling, clawing, cracking, de-granulating, wind damage, deteriorating curb appeal over the roof’s life and a short life generally, asphalt shingles remain the most popular form of roofing. The reasons are clear. First, asphalt shingles are still the least cost to purchase, and the least cost to install, making them the lowest cost roofing system, on a $$ / year basis. Second, improvements in asphalt shingle manufacturing technology and material over the past 2 decades has led to less of the traditional problems associated with asphalt shingles. Third, the warranties and life expectancy have dramatically improved over the last 20 years, such that now you can buy, relatively cheaply, 40-year or 50-year or “Lifetime” warranty asphalt shingles and have them installed cheaper than the cheapest form of 40-year warranty metal roof. The downside remains that over time the roof appearance does deteriorate even while the roof is still good enough to hold out water from the building. Additionally, most asphalt shingles and associated products end up in the landfills despite decades of talk about being able to recycle the components.

asphalt shingles
asphalt shingles roofing
cleaning the roof after installation


General Info: The popularity of metal roofing is growing as consumers are becoming conscious of environmental issues, longevity of roofing products, and curb appeal. Not subject to curling, cracking, mould, mildew, etc., metal roofs are lightweight & reflect the sunlight to keep your attic cooler, thus lowering energy costs. Metal roofs, whether copper, steel, zinc or aluminum, are completely recyclable unlike most other roofing products. Metal roofs might be the “green” choice, but the colour, texture and profile choices are unsurpassed. The selection is simply huge. Under metal roofs, Roofmaster typically installs high performance underlays such as Titanium or in some cases ice shield membranes. Metal roofs are usually vented with ridge vents at the peak. In planning one’s roofing needs, one has to be conscious of the fact that snow and ice slide off smooth surface roof systems – which is desirable in some cases, but not if its going to do so onto your driveway or entrances to your building.

Standing Seam Roofs are the ultimate in metal roofs, characterized by a “U” shaped panel that can be up to 40 feet long. Its technical superiority and beauty comes from the fact that usually the length of the panel is not punctured with screws or nails. These panels are made to be secured with a concealed clip inside the standing seam, which means the fasteners are hidden from view. There are imitation standing seam roofs available, which incorporate a nailing strip as part of the panel. However, a true standing seam roof using concealed clips allows for expansion and contraction of the long steel panels as they can slide within the clip. Allowing such expansion reduces the potential of oil canning in long panels. A big part of the look is also that the outer edges are hemmed over the drip edge and gable flashing to create clean, waterproof lines and a roofing system that is resistant to wind uplift. Most are made of 26g or 24g & sometimes 22g painted steel, but custom made copper and aluminum standing seam panels are also available for specific applications like over bay windows or on vertical walls on storefronts. Various profiles of standing seams are available like Vertical Seam, Batten Seam, Mini-Batten Seam, etc. The most classic is the Vertical Seam. Standing Seam roofing, while being medium cost (about twice the cost of standard low grade asphalt shingles), is the longest lasting, most trouble free and least maintenance of any sloped roofing system available. Standing seam roofs are a specialty at Roofmaster, where the staff and owners have been installing various versions for over 3 decades.

standing seam metal roofs
standing seam metal roofing


Much less seen these days in the Ottawa area are the various natural products (wood, stone, thatch?) that used to go on roofs back in the day, but which are still common in some markets or some parts of the world.

Wood shakes and shingles are still popular in the Western provinces or states like British Columbia. Wood shingles, both pine and cedar, generally refer to a sawn product that produces a uniform thickness if not width. Wood shakes, on the other hand, generally refer to hand split products, such that the natural grains of the wood maintain integrity. Shakes split in this way are usually longer lasting than sawn shingles which end up inevitably having to slice through the grain. In Eastern Canada, we mostly see cedar shingles made of eastern white cedar, which is the poor cousin of the magnificent western red cedar. Western red cedar products will outshine eastern white cedar or pine products in terms of size, look, longevity (about double), but of course, significantly more expensive as well. Generally, wood shingles and shakes are 2-3 times more expensive than asphalt shingle roofs.

Slate roofing tiles are obviously a natural stone product, with possibly one of the longest life expectancy, 100 plus years (zinc roof tiles also boast such life expectancies.) Slate, once used on high end homes as well as institutional buildings can still be seen occasionally in the down town core of many cities. It remains very popular in Europe, but is much less seen in North America, despite the existence of quarries producing some amazingly beautiful slate tiles. The downside of slate is simply the high cost of the product, plus extremely labour intensive work (a skill that is also now hard to find locally). Overall a slate roof may cost 8-10 times that of a standard asphalt shingle roof.

Synthetic slate tiles are now slowly taking over the tiny slate tile market. Various versions of imitation slate are available, made of vinyl or recycled rubber and plastics. The products come typically with 50 year warranties, and 100 year life expectancies, and are light weight. There are also metal tiles that simulate slate tile shapes (but cannot imitate the colouration or texture). Definitely less expensive than installing real slate, at perhaps 3 times the cost of standard asphalt shingles.

Clay tile roofs, though very common in southern climates are not prevalent in Canada. Before deciding on clay, concrete or slate tiles, a homeowner should check with an engineer whether the roof structure can support such weights. Usually, standard home construction roof trusses won’t handle the weight and the trusses have to be reinforced. Get ready for spending the big bucks, as these alterations and tile systems are not cheap. Some companies specialize in a composite concrete tile that is meant to resemble clay tiles. Roofmaster does not install real clay tiles or composite clay tiles, but does install several versions of steel tiles that imitate the original clay tile appearance.

shakes and tiles
installing the roof
shakes and tiles


Metal shingles and tiles have in recent years mushroomed in variety and popularity in the residential market as homeowners want the benefits of metal roofing, while maintaining a tiled or shingled look. Available in all types of shapes, sizes, textures and colours, and made of copper, steel, zinc, or aluminum, the choices again are mind boggling. Some are small individual interlocking shingles, others are wider panels with several tiles imprinted imitating cedar shakes, pine shingles, clay tiles, slate tiles, or just some new funky stuff that does not fit former categories. Some tiled effect metal roofing is also available in long sheets meant to simulate the Spanish clay tile look but easier to install. Others are diamond shaped. And to account for snow sliding off smooth steel or rubber tiles, some manufacturers offer a granulated surface on the metal shingle to provide the benefits of metal roofing and the traditional look of asphalt shingles while snow and ice don’t slide off onto driveways and entrance ways where it is not desired. Metal shingles and tiles are both expensive to buy and labour intensive making it the most expensive of metal roof options 2 to 4 times the cost of a low grade asphalt shingle roof. It all depends on the desired look and warranty. Manufacturer warranties range from 30 years to 50 years for most of these products. Ask your salesman at Roofmaster for information.

metal shingles and tiles
metal shingles and tiles
metal roofing


Ribbed profile metal roofs are made of painted steel, and come in long panels up to 40 feet long, and the manufacturer paint warranties are in the nature of 40 years. Several profiles are available to choose from in terms of number and height of the ribs. Typically, these panels are screwed onto the roof substrate right through the ribs. Several gauges of steel are usually available. 30 gauge is the thinnest and not something Roofmaster likes to install as its very flimsy, and easily bends, kinks, or dents. The longer the panels, the more difficult it becomes to handle. We strongly recommend 28g as a minimum, and preferably 26g for longevity. Ribbed profile steel roofs are the least expensive of the metal roofs and hence the most common. On a typical home, a ribbed profile steel roof will cost about 30% more than a standard asphalt shingle roof, and each increase in gauge will cost about $1000 extra.

ribbed profile steel roof
ribbed profile steel roof
ribbed profile steel roof


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