5 Roofing Options for a New Home in Ontario

A house isn’t finished until there’s a roof overhead. Ontario home builders have more options than ever when it comes to roofing, each with advantages and disadvantages. Wondering which is right for your home? These are some of the most common roof options for new homes in Ontario.

Asphalt Shingles (Traditional/Organic)

By far the most popular roofing option in Ontario, traditional asphalt shingles are vibrant and versatile. Traditional asphalt shingles are also known as ‘organic’ shingles to distinguish them from the fibreglass variety. They tend to have a granular texture.

Advantages of Traditional/Organic Asphalt Roofing:

  • Very affordable. Traditional asphalt is the least costly type of shingle on the market.
  • Weatherproof. Compared to fibreglass shingles, traditional asphalt holds up better to cold temperatures.
  • Colourful. Traditional asphalt comes in a rainbow of colours, making them suitable for just about any style of home.

Disadvantages of Traditional Asphalt Roofing:

  • Relatively short-lived. Other roofing options have more longevity than traditional asphalt shingles, which are designed to last between 15 and 20 years.
  • Flammable. Since traditional asphalt shingles use a felt or paper mat, they are less flame-resistant than many other types of shingles.

Asphalt Shingle (Fiberglass)

Fibreglass asphalt shingles consist of a durable fibreglass mat covered in a blend of asphalt and colourful granules. They have the same outer appearance as traditional asphalt and are installed the same way.

Advantages of Fiberglass Asphalt Roofing:

  • Fire-resistant. The materials are far less flammable than those used in traditional asphalt tiles, and less likely to curl or melt under extreme heat.
  • Durable. Fibreglass shingles are tough, standing up to harsh wind and hail.
  • Colourful. This roofing option is available in just as wide a range of shades as traditional asphalt.

Disadvantages of Fiberglass Asphalt Roofing:

  • Weak to extreme cold. The rigid composition of fibreglass shingles makes them vulnerable to become brittle and break in extremely low temperatures, which can be a problem for homeowners in Ontario.
  • Algae-prone. The alkaline substances contained in fibreglass shingles makes them more prone to grow algae, so they may require more cleaning than other roof options.

Wood Shingles

Few roofing options match the natural beauty of authentic wood shingles. Wood roofing can be painted or stained to create a unique look. Cedar is among the most popular wood choices for its durability.

Advantages of Wood Roofing:

  • Well-insulated. Wood shingles are highly effective in keeping cool air in during the summer and retaining heat during the winter, lowering energy costs and reducing the home’s carbon footprint.
  • Environmentally friendly. Completely natural and recyclable, wood shingles are a great choice for eco-conscious home builders.

Disadvantages of Wood Roofing :

  • Flammable. Although wood shingles are often treated with flame retardant, they remain a risky roofing option for homeowners in fire-prone areas.
  • High-maintenance. Homeowners must continually maintain the varnish, paint or stain topcoat to protect the roof from insects, cracking or warping.
  • Costly. Wood shingles are an unconventional roofing option, and the cost reflects this exclusivity.

Metal Roofing

Metal is an increasingly popular roof option for new homes in Ontario. It is available in a wide range of colours and a number of metals, including copper, tin, aluminum, and galvanized steel.

Advantages of Metal Roofing:

  • Very durable. Metal roofing is completely resistant to rot, cracking, insects, mildew, algae, and UV rays. It is also fireproof.
  • Long-lasting. With proper installation and maintenance, a metal roof can last over 50 years.
  • Environmentally friendly. Metal roofing is completely recyclable, and it reduces the cost of cooling a house by reflecting radiant solar heat.

Disadvantages of Metal Roofing:

  • Noisy. Some homeowners find the sound of rain and hail bouncing off a metal roof to be quite loud. The noise can be mitigated through sheathing or insulation, but this increases the cost.
  • Slippery. Metal roofing is very slippery, especially in wet or snowy conditions. Homeowners will likely need to hire a professional for any rooftop maintenance.
  • Falling snow hazard. Snow can accumulate at the edge of a metal roof until it slides off in large pieces, potentially damaging cars or decks below.

Slate Shingles

Smooth and elegant, slate shingles are a unique, natural roofing option. However, it can be difficult to find a local roofer with experience installing them.

Advantages of Slate Roofing:

  • Very long-lasting. A well-maintained slate roof has been known to last longer than any other roofing option.
  • Completely fireproof. Since it is made of natural stone, a slate roof is in no danger of catching flame.

Disadvantages of Slate Roofing:

  • Heavy. Installing slate shingles requires reinforcing the roof to support the weight of the stone.
  • Easily damaged. While slate can last for many decades, its rigidity makes it vulnerable to breaking under pressure. A tradesperson who does not have experience with slate roofs can easily break shingles just from walking on them.
  • Costly. Like wood shingles, the exclusivity of slate shingles sets the price point higher than almost all other roofing options in Ontario.

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