What Should I Know About My Roof?

roofing & construction, roofing services, vancouver bc,

As a homeowner, your investment needs to be protected. If you’re reading this, you may be asking what should I know about my roof? Being proactive is the name of the game when it comes to you and your investment. 

What’s Covering Your Roof?

Planning on building your dream home or purchased a property recently or you’re wondering about your current home? Your roof protects your home’s structural elements thereby serving an essential purpose by keeping away the elements. In addition to this, the type of material suitable is dependant on the slope, size, budget, and engineering of your home. Furthermore, there are a plethora of roofing options to choose from in the Vancouver BC area. Some include cedar shakes, concrete/clay tiles, asphalt shingles, metal, and slate. Each differing material varies in cost, lifespan, and aesthetics.


Differing roofing materials offers a host of benefits over others. In addition, a few good questions to ask is: What is my budget? Going for a certain kind of look? Want the longest durability? These are some questions that need to be thought about as you plan your next roofing project. 

Asphalt Shingle Roof – The Popular Choice

One of the most popular types of roofing material is an asphalt shingle roof due to a 30 to 50-year life expectancy. The cost-effectiveness alone makes it a popular choice. With a variety of profiles and colors to choose from, it makes for an easy decision for many of homeowners. As a result, is one of the most commonly used roofing material in the residential roofing industry. 

In addition, since we are on this topic, here is some general information on various roofing materials widely available: 

Metal Roof – 50+ years 

  • Costs factor – $$$$
  • A popular choice that is reasonably priced compared to the typical roof job. It is definitely more expensive than asphalt shingles. The appeal of metal roofing produces a visual effect all in a league of its own. Performs well in the snow by allowing it to easily slide off (A+ for snow rating). A very popular choice in the Vancouver BC area with many colors and gauges of thicknesses to choose from.

Concrete Tiles – 25-30 years

  • Costs factor- $$$$
  • This type of roofing was very popular in the 80’s, 90’s and up until the late 2000’s. Tile roofs are the heaviest compared to the rest (except slate) and may require engineers approval before it can be installed on your roof.

Torch-On (SBS) – 15-30 years 

  • Costs factor – $$$
  • This type is fairly straightforward except for one major thing: Fire. Torch-on, as the name implies, is installed using fire (heat from a torch) to melt the adhesive to create a bond with the material.  This requires expert know-how in order to prevent catching a structure on fire when performing an installation. Torch-on roofing typically is used on pitches that are 3/12 or less. Commercial roofing (concrete substrate) consists mainly of SBS torch-on roofing as required by building consultants. Other forms of waterproofing on flat roofing surfaces are also used. For this topic, we won’t get into that here.

Cedar Shakes/Shingles – 20-50 years

  • Costs factor -$$$$ 
  • Cedar shakes vary in grade, thickness, and cut. They are considered one of the most expensive types of roofing material as rising cedar costs continue to affect the price of a cedar shake/shingle roof. The installation time is time-consuming compared to other roofing installations and requires an expert wood roof installer. There are not too many wood shake installers around today as they are rapidly being phased out due to dramatically rising costs of cedar shakes and shingles.
  • Cedar shake roofing has also a tainted reputation due to wood shakes in the 80’s and 90’s that were installed in entire neighborhoods that only lasted as long as asphalt shingles. The general belief was that wood roofs were widely believed to last as long as 50 years. It was certainly the pioneers choice (and maybe the only viable choice) when it came to roofs.
  • They were hand-cut piece by piece and they often lasted for about 50 years. With commercialism on the rise, many manufacturers sought to make more profit. As a result, lower grade qualities were sold to the consumer in order to attract the prestige of a cedar wood shake roof. Putting up a wood roof in the 90’s was like putting up an asphalt roof today: cost-effective and readily available. The pendulum has swung the other way in the last 15 years. A cedar wood roof has skyrocketed in costs as it is a natural resource in limited supply compared to the manufactured asphalt shingles. Thickness, quality of cut, grade and preventative maintenance ultimately determines the longevity and quality of a cedar wood roof. If the budget allows, go with a premium 100% edge grain cedar shake.

Slate – 50+ years

  • Costs factor – $$$$$
  • Mainly a European type of roofing. Slate roofing is one of the most expensive roofing material of them all. They are not commonly installed in the Vancouver BC area and can easily be triple or quadrupled in costs from the most common type of roofing material readily available.
While the list above is definitely NOT exhaustive, what is listed above are the most commonly used roofing materials in the Vancouver BC area.

Preventive Maintenance

In conclusion, a common question homeowners ask is what should I know about my roof? Therefore, as a professional roofing & construction contractor, we find that a good answer is: preventative maintenance. Hence, a professional evaluation is important when assessing if you need a new roof. Don’t wait until there is a leak. Be proactive. Would you wait until your gas tank is empty before getting towed or calling to get fuel delivered to you while stranded on the road? Of course not. The same principle applies to your roof. Why wait until there are leaks before replacing your roof? You could reduce the need for large repairs by resolving damages while they are still minor.