Best Roofing Materials for Vancouver’s Climate

Homeowners know how important a roofing system is. If you need a new roof, there are many things to consider, including your budget, style, and colour. When the roof is selected with the elements of the home’s exterior in mind, a balance between function, quality, and aesthetics is achieved. But roofs in the Lower Mainland must withstand heavy rain, active winds, snow, and fluctuating temperatures. If one of your renovation projects in the New Year is to replace the roof of your home, it is important to choose the best roofing materials for Vancouver’s climate.

How to Choose a Roofing Material

When you need a new roof, there are many things to consider. Your roof should have the ability to shed water efficiently and for many years to come. How long will the roof last? How much weight can the structure of the roof bear? What is the slope of the roof (low or steep)?

When you look at a roof you will see asphalt shingles or cedar shakes or slate tiles. But underneath the roofing material that is visible to the eye are sheathing, underlayment, and flashing – these layers, including the roof shingles, must work together in order to effectively protect your home from the elements.

Other things to consider are the specific properties of the roofing material such as fire resistance, wind resistance, and total cost. If using environmentally friendly products is a priority, keep in mind that some roofing materials use chemicals for specific purposes such as a moss inhibitor that are harmful, rendering water unsuitable for landscaping.

Roofing Materials not Suited to Our Climate

Installing a new roof is expensive – it’s best to get it right the first time. You want the roofing material to withstand the changeable weather we experience in the Lower Mainland. But it should also be chosen to provide as much protection as possible when natural disasters occur. Since we experience earthquakes and aftershocks along the Pacific Northwest Coast, it’s advisable to stay away from heavy roofing materials. Roof shingles such as concrete tiles and slate tiles add significant weight to a residential structure, which can collapse in on itself during an earthquake.

Roofing Materials good for Vancouver Climate

Asphalt shingles: Asphalt shingles are a popular roofing material with homeowners because it is inexpensive, available in a variety of colours, and can be installed by do-it-yourselfers. While asphalt roofs do survive heavy rains and windstorms, they tend to have a shorter lifespan than other types of roofs, because the protective granules can be worn away sooner rather than later, depending on the amount of exposure.

Fiberglass laminated shingles: Fiberglass is known for being waterproof, which is a valuable property for a roof shingle to have, given that even the slightest bit of moisture can build up and cause leaks to form. Fiberglass laminated shingles are very durable, strong, and wind-resistant. They are also impact-resistant, ideal for protecting the roof from falling branches and other kinds of debris being tossed around by the wind.

Cedar shakes/cedar shingles: While wood might not seem to be the best roofing material, cedar shakes and cedar shingles have been used to build houses and construct roofs for several hundred years. A cedar roof is typically lightweight, possesses natural beauty, and develops a silver-grey patina over time that is appealing to some homeowners. However, they do require regular maintenance in order to prevent moss, mold, algae or lichen growth.

Torch-on SBS membrane: A torch-on SBS membrane roof is an ideal roofing system for residences in Vancouver that have a flat roof or a low slope roof. A type of synthetic rubber, a membrane roof is weather-resistant to a range of climatic conditions, isn’t punctured easily, and lasts a long time.

Metal: In the past, typically installed only on commercial, industrial, and agricultural buildings, metal roofing as a residential roofing material is gaining in popularity. A metal roof is ideal for Vancouver’s climate due to its lightweight, strength, and flexibility. They last for 50 years and longer.