Residential Roofing Materials Comparison

September 22nd, 2023

Residential Roofing

If the time has come for you to repair or replace your residential roof, it’s also time to learn something about the most common materials used in residential roofing.  Depending on your geographic region, the materials currently used in your roof, and your budget, your choice of roofing materials is going to vary.  In Canada, there are several commonly utilized residential roofing materials including asphalt, clay, concrete, and metal.  Let’s take a moment to describe and compare each of these materials.

Asphalt Shingles

Sometimes referred to as composition shingles, asphalt shingles are probably the most common residential roofing material in the world.  They are affordable, lightweight, easily installed and maintained, and they are available in a wide range of colours and styles.  Typically, asphalt shingles represent a durable roofing material, particularly when you consider their cost.  Still, their lightweight nature means they are easily damaged by wind.  Moreover, their popularity means they are produced by a large number of manufacturers so you want to take care to choose a company that produces quality shingles.

As an alternative to asphalt shingles, laminated shingles are very similar but provide better protection in windy environments and they even offer better fire protection.  Also, whereas asphalt shingles have a lifespan of 20 to 25 years, laminated shingles can last up to 50 years.


Although among the most expensive residential roofing materials (ranging from $10 to $30 per square foot), clay tiles offer superior durability and can last up to 100 years in the right climate.  That being said, these residential roofing materials are very heavy, so your home must be able to provide the adequate structural support.  Additionally, clay tile are not suitable for colder environments as they can crack when temperatures cause them to freeze and thaw.  Still, they stand up well to strong winds and fire, and they are available in a beautiful array of colours.


Concrete tiles are a more affordable alternative that have similar properties and appearance to clay tiles.  However, concrete tiles are more versatile with respect to styles and they are even manufactured to look like wood.  Another strength of concrete tiles is that they withstand freezing temperatures better than clay, and they offer incredibly durability with lifespans of up to 50 years.  Unlike other residential roofing materials, concrete tiles tend to absorb a lot of water and may develop mildew so they are not ideal for rainy climates.


Metal roofs are lightweight and durable and provide superior fire protection.  For environmentally-aware homeowners, metal roofs may be constructed from recycled materials and can be installed over your existing roof to reduce the waste associated with roof replacement.  A somewhat expensive material, costs are balanced with longevity as metal roofs tend to last between 50 and 70 years.  Nevertheless, metal roofs are difficult to repair and they are not suitable to all climates.

For more information on residential roofing, please your roofers in Vancouver online or call (604) 317-0004