Monday, March 25, 2013

Roofing materials for your country home

Series: Tips on designing a country home.

In this multi-part series I will help give you tips on how to go about having a custom home built in the country, where it should sit, what it should look like, how it should function and what type of home performs the best and fits in with the surrounding country side.


What you put on your roof in the country should not only be nice to look at but should also help protect your home from the extreme elements. There are different types of roofs depending on what you require and what your budget requirement are, here is a brief list of the most popular;

Asphalt shingles. Asphalt shingles are by far the most cost efficient roofing material that you can install on your custom home. But what you save by putting them on when the home is built will be spend every 10 to 15 years when you have to re-shingle it. Asphalt shingles only have a life expectancy of 10 to 15 years regardless of if they are called 20 or 30 year shingles. They are susceptible to high winds, ice damming from poorly venting roofs or poorly insulated roofs, damage from flying debris, damage from overhanging tree limbs, animals can damage them and UV rays from the sun degrade the asphalt shingle prematurely.  There are some advantages to asphalt shingles, you can get them in a wide variety of colours, they are very easy to install and can be installed on most roofs. An asphalt shingled roof has more grip and is easier to walk on if you have to do anything on the roof. Also damage to a small part of a roof is easily fixable and patchable.

Cedarshake. Cedarshake was a very popular roofing material especially on custom homes some years ago, but today because of several factors in the market they are not used very often. The poor quality of cedar being used, the way UV rays are causing the cedar to age and rot faster, the expense of buying the shakes, labour intensive to install and probability of moss growing on them causing rot when you have large dormers or valleys are other reasons that people are shying away from putting it on their roofs. There are some good things about cedarshake roofs, they add value to a custom home for resale, there very appealing to look at and they help a house fit into a natural woodsy environment.

Enviroshake. Enviroshake is a product that was invented solely because of all the problems that I listed above in Cedarshakes. Enviroshake is a composite material that is created from recycled plastic, recycled rubber and ethanol plant waste. It is then stamped with a natural grain to give it the cedarshake look, it installs black and within 6 months fades to a silver colour just like cedar. It is installed the same way that cedarshakes are installed. It comes with a 50 year warranty, it is extremely durable to high winds, extreme weather, flying debris and branches scraping on its surface. It sheds snow almost like a steel roof does and UV rays do not seem to damage the product like it does to cedar. There are some downsides to it, it is expensive to purchase and install and it is a very slippery surface that can make walking on it dangerous. The finished look ends up looking like cedarshake but with a much longer warranty and better durability.

Steel. Steel is by far the most popular of roofing products in today’s country custom homes. Steel comes in a wide variety of profiles, colours and quality. Steel has always been very popular in the country, not just on homes but also on barns and out buildings. Today’s steel is a lot different from the simple steel that was installed on top of the barns. Today’s steel roofs are one piece from the eave to the peak, there is no joint in the middle, they also have locking ribs that stop the wind from penetrating between them. Steel does a lot of things well; it stands up to UV rays, high winds, flying debris, most steel is strong enough to walk on, branches scrapping along the steel don’t do any damage to the steel and usually don’t even scratch the paint. Steel roofs have paint warranties that usually run 40 or more years which is a big change from the old steel where you had to hire someone to paint the barn roof every ten years. There are a few downsides to having steel roofs; low slopes are not ideal for steel, eavetrough do not do well with steel roofs because of sliding snow, the snow slides off them well and has to be managed with snow guards (especially over entrances to the home). Steel is also a pricey option then shingles but the longevity of it pays off in the long run.

There are other roofing materials and types of roofs but most of them do not function well in rural settings and can look out of place. Stick to the ones I have listed and you should be happy with the results.

Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.


  1. Roofing material is important and when you need to complete your roof you want to go with the right material for a roof so you know it will last for many years to come.

    Iko shingles

  2. I had a very pleasent time reading this post on roofing materials. You have pointed down all the minute details. Thanks