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Lots to think about when replacing a roof


"The asphalt shingle is still the king," says Ottawa's Don Mann of Sanderson Roofing. "It looks very nice and it's reliable."

The new generation of fibreglass-based shingles, which is edging out the old, felt-based type, is tough enough that manufacturers have started offering warranties of 30 years or longer.

Depending on the house, shingles cost $3 to $4 a square foot including installation. That makes them the cheapest option. Shingling a house with a longer-warranty shingle might cost an extra $200 or $300 but is usually worth the expense.

Architectural shingles, which are thicker than regular shingles and especially popular on larger homes, can give a slate or cedar shake look to a roof without the high cost of those materials. They cost at least 20 per cent more than regular shingles, but are more wind, ice and snow resistant.

They can be subject to algae growth on the north side of the house, so ask your roofer about algaeresistant products.

Designer shingles, some with scalloped edges, are also available. They cost at least 30 per cent more than standard shingles.

Although custom builders will work with different roofing materials, most tract home builders do not offer upgrades from asphalt shingles to other types of roofs. One Ottawa building firm, for example, uses a 40-year architectural shingle by Timberline, while another uses a 25year product by IKO.

Despite their popularity, shingles don't hold as well as some other roofing materials in a high wind and, with climate change, wind patterns could shift. Shingles also tend not to have as long a lifespan as some other, more expensive materials.

If you do go with shingles, look for the CSA Canadian Standards Association or Underwriters Laboratories of Canada stamp of approval.

At $5 to $12 a square foot, metal roofs are a more expensive alternative to shingles. Available in farmhouse-style ribbed panels or stamped to resemble tile or even shingles, metal roofing comes in a range of colours and is often guaranteed for 40 to 50 years.

KasselWood and KasselShake steel roofing resembles cedar shakes and slate tiles. A reflective material incorporated into the finish can reduce home cooling costs up to 25 per cent, the company says.

Author:Huangshan Xing Wei Reflective Material Co., Ltd.
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