Roofing Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Roofs

Installing a new roof on your house is a huge project that requires meticulous planning and significant investment. It involves various considerations and steps that must be executed perfectly to ensure the roofing provides optimum protection and aesthetics for a long time.

Since the process has its good share of challenges (from weather conditions to design), the process can be time-consuming. However, understanding the roofing basics can help you make better decisions. Here’s a roofing guide to help you get started.

Roofing Styles and Materials

There are different roofing styles for various home designs, and each style has specific use cases depending on your preferences. Whether you prefer a gabled, flat, or hipped roof style, there are different roofing materials that work best with your design.

However, asphalt is a popular option that allows homeowners to get a sophisticated and attractive look at a lower cost. Before you make a decision, it’s vital to understand the different materials since each option has pros and cons in terms of durability and installation costs.


Asphalt shingles are the most popular roofing materials, making up about 80% of roofs in Canada. Their high durability, low costs, and installation requirements minimize the overall roofing costs, hence their rising popularity.

Asphalt shingles are designed with fiberglass, ceramic, and asphalt granules. Besides their lightweight design, the shingles provide great insulation and are available in different colours. Most importantly, asphalt shingles require minimal maintenance and perform well in extreme weather conditions. Since they’re available in a range of styles, you can achieve the desired aesthetics without spending lots of money.


Slate roofs are common in the Northeast, where Gothic and Victorian house designs are prevalent. Slate can last up to ten decades and is available in red, dark gray, and green shades. However, slate is a high-end roofing material since it’s heavy and expensive. Some roofing professionals may not be adept at handling slate roofs, and you may need a specialized technician to install the roof.


Clay and concrete tiles are a durable roofing option for most homes in the Southwest. They have significant heat reflection properties and are great for Spanish and Mediterranean-style architecture. However, they can be difficult to install and often require an experienced technician for a flawless job.

Clay tiles are barrel-shaped and usually available in a reddish-brown color. Since the tiles are heavy, you should evaluate your roof structure before switching to clay tiles. While clay tiles can last for over seven decades, chipping or breaking is a common concern among homeowners. On the other hand, concrete tiles are sturdy, hail-resistant, insect-proof, and fireproof. Although more expensive than asphalt, concrete tiles may resemble high-end slate roofs or wood shakes.


Metallic roofing is usually made of panels, tiles, or long strips. Some of the most common materials include copper, alloy, and aluminum. Depending on the installation, metal roofs can outlast asphalt shingles. Besides the stylish texture, metallic roofs have various colour combinations, which are great for unique roofing styles.

They are recyclable, lightweight, and quite effective at reflecting heat, making them a great option in warm climates. Nevertheless, metal roofs can be slick during frequent snow. They often require snow guards on the edges to prevent snow from falling and causing injuries. 

Wood Shingles and Shakes

Wood shingles and shakes are premium roofing materials with a natural appearance. The colour turns to soft gray after some years –giving the roof a rustic look. However, some states restrict the use of wood shakes and shingles due to higher fire hazards. It’s vital to check local regulations in your area to avoid possible contraventions. Wood roofing can last up to five decades but requires professional installation.

Rubber Composite Shingles

Rubber composite shingles are a durable alternative to asphalt roofing. They are usually made from a combination of recycled rubber and plastic, making them environmentally friendly. Since they look like wood and slate, they offer an affordable option with a unique style. Most importantly, rubber composite is rot-resistant, tough, and can last for up to five decades.

Vital Considerations Before Installing a New Roof

While timing your roof replacement is essential, you should consider several logistical concerns. Whether you’re roofing a residential home or a commercial building, it’s prudent to consider a professional roofing guide and think through the following factors.

Coatings and Repairs

Before installing a new roof, it’s best to determine if repairs and coating can restore your current roof. The waterproof coating can protect your roof and maximize its lifespan. However, you need a professional assessment to determine if these repair options are beneficial.

While most homeowners are familiar with roofing repairs, coatings may not always be applicable. However, waterproof coatings are one of the most effective methods to fix leaks. But you should remember that coatings won’t correct structural issues.

Local Climate

The local climate is a critical consideration when choosing your roofing materials. Think about the prevalent weather, insulation needs, and protection against snow or ice. If you live in coastal areas, you need a roofing material that can withstand excess moisture and salty air.

Typically, most professionals can guide you on the best materials to withstand specific weather conditions and elements. For instance, snow can be harsh on roofs, so homes in snow-prone areas require snow rails and retention systems.

Preferred Aesthetics

Aesthetics are a huge concern for most homeowners planning to replace an old roof. While functionality is an essential factor, appearance is equally important. Typically, the best roofing material should protect your home and boost its exterior appearance.

You should consider your architectural style and colour combinations. Some roofing styles aren’t visible from the ground and often allow limited room for customization. However, roofing materials like rubber composite and metal have a range of colours and finishes necessary for aesthetic customization.

Available Budget

Available budget is a critical consideration when replacing your roof. Consider the amount you intend to spend and choose roofing options that match your budget. If long-term benefits are your priority, you may consider increasing your budget to cover a higher-quality roof. This means you’ll save money on future repairs and maintenance costs since you’re likely to wait a long time before another replacement.


Roof replacements can be overwhelming, but it’s a necessary project when your roof is in bad shape. Monitoring your roof’s condition is essential to ensure maximum protection and insulation. Understanding the roofing basics offers a good foundation as you can easily spot potential issues with your current roof. Most importantly, sufficient knowledge helps you understand available options depending on factors like climate, aesthetics, and budget constraints.

T. Simpson

Originally founded by a 16-year-old Tony Simpson as a way of acquiring funds to help pay his way through university, T. Simpson Roofing, propelled by Tony’s strong work ethic and commitment to delivering quality work and unbeatable customer service, quickly grew into a thriving business.

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