Pitched Roofs: What Material Should You Choose?


Pitched roofs tend to be the norm for homes. There’s a varying list of reasons, but chief among them is the fact that their resistance is better, and they simply look nicer than flat roofs. However, there’s a lot of thought that goes into them. Choosing pitched roof materials isn’t always easy!

That’s why we’ve put together all you need to know about pitched roofs. You’ll be able to make the best possible decision for your roofing project. Everyone has different needs and wants, so you’ll need to take a look at the pros & cons of each pitched roof material. Always remember that the cheapest cost doesn’t mean that it’s the best cost. Once you get through the article, you can contact us to put you in touch with amazing roofers.

Asphalt shingles

Asphalt shingles are the most common type of roofing material on the market. They come in a variety of styles and price ranges.These shingles are great to replace any kind of pitched roof material. For instance, you can easily replace a metal roof with shingles.The opposite isn’t necessarily true as metal roofing is much heavier than asphalt shingles, thus requiring more work. Also, if some shingles are damaged, they can easily be replaced by your roofing contractor. 

Asphalt shingles can last up to 20 years, but ones of immensely high quality can last up to 50. Their higher cost is well worth it in the long run. Plus, most manufacturers offer a long warranty along with their product.

As for installation, your roofer first installs a base – usually a glass fiber mat or organic felt, and then moves on to the surface layer (i.e. asphalt shingles). You can also find eco-friendly & recyclable asphalt shingles on the market. Of course, you’re likely to have to pay a little extra for those. 

Pros of asphalt shingles:

  • Can be affordable;
  • Quick installation (1-2 days);
  • Can be eco-friendly.

Cons of asphalt shingles:

  • Can be affected by extreme weather conditions.

Asphalt Shingles

Metal roofing 

Metal roofing is our second-most common roofing material. They typically last between 40 and 70 years, making them well worth it for those wanting to spend a little more. This kind of roofing can be designed in various ways by using panels. Panels are sheets of metal (steel or aluminum) that can either have a standard seam, look like shingles (die-formed panels), or come as a Bermuda panel (horizontal panels installed down the slope of the roof). The most common metal roofing is one with a standard seam. 

Metal roofing can essentially come in many forms. However, there are some downsides to it. Its biggest one being that it can be fairly noisy (from rain or strong winds). Though, what’s great about this product is that it can be created with recycled metal, which makes it environmentally friendly! It can also be recycled once it’s lifetime is over.  

Pros of metal coverings:

  • Long lifespan (up to 70 years);
  • Environmentally friendly;
  • Can be lightweight;
  • Come in various forms.

Cons of metal coverings:

  • Loud (due to rain or winds);
  • More expensive upfront;
  • Can be damaged by strong hail storms & other debris.

Metal roofing


Slate is typically seen on older buildings as its lifespan is quite long (75-150 years). However, due to its cost and weight, it’s rare you’ll find a new home with this material. From a practical standpoint, slate roofs are highly durable, don’t easily lose their colour (as they’re made of natural stone), and are highly fire resistant. Slate is unique in many ways: it comes in varying colours (natural stone colours), and can come in various textures. 

Given that slate isn’t all that common, and that it can come with a variety of drawbacks if installed incorrectly, there are very few roofers that choose to install this material. Installing slates onto your home requires the help of a structural engineer to reinforce your home’s structure before even getting started. Some homes might not even be able to support the extra 800-1,200 lbs even if you attempt to reinforce them. 

Pros of a slate:

  • Keep their colour;
  • Long life expectancy;
  • Can give your home a unique look.

Cons of a slate:

  • Very heavy;
  • Expensive;
  • Can break easily upon impact.

Slate roofing

Clay Roofing Tiles 

Clay tiles can be seen on a number of old buildings as they have stood through the testament of time for over 100 years. Although they are expensive, they have an extremely long lifespan which can make them a worthy investment. However, given our extreme weather fluctuations in Canada, only certain types of clay can be used on your home, and, it doesn’t mean they’ll be all that resistant. Clay tiles tend to be used in warmer climates like in California or in southern European countries. 

Clay tiles also have similar issues to those of slate tiles: they’re heavy and need structural reinforcement before they can be installed, and roofers typically stay away from this kind of material. Not only would the material cost a lot, but so will labour as qualified roofers are extremely rare. 

Pros of a clay tile:

  • Long lifespan;
  • Has insulating properties.

Cons of a clay tile:

  • Extremely heavy;
  • Not ideal for our climate;
  • Expensive;
  • Easily damaged.

Clay roofing

Cedar shingles or shakes

Wood shingles, more specifically cedar shingles, aren’t as common as asphalt shingles or metal roofing. However, heritage homes and cottages tend to have wood as roofing. Cedar roofing is usually treated, making its lifespan last longer than if it stayed in its natural state. This material typically lasts 30 years, but requires regular maintenance to do so. If well treated and taken care of, it won’t rot and will withstand extreme weather conditions. Though, if you take into account their higher price tag, the fact that they’re highly flammable (because of treatments & stains), and the need to maintain cedar wood shingles, cedar shingles might not be the best choice for your home.

Pros of cedar shingles or shakes:

  • Invulnerable to decay (if properly treated);
  • Lightweight.

Cons of cedar shingles or shakes: 

  • High price;
  • Constant maintenance;
  • Flammable.

Cedar Shingles

What about eco-friendly roofing solutions? 

Each material mentioned above has its set of pros and cons, and most of them have some way to be eco-friendly. For instance, asphalt shingles and metal roofing can be recycled, whereas slate, clay, and wood are all natural materials. But, what about going that extra mile when it comes to being eco-friendly? Of course, you can go ahead and add solar panels to your roof. Though, did you know there are new technological advances allowing homeowners to have solar paneled shingles, like those created by Tesla? We surely see many homeowners opting for this kind of roofing solution in the near future! 

How much does it cost to replace a pitched roof? 

Below you’ll find the average costs of pitched roof materials in both Greater Montreal & The Greater Toronto Area, along with these roofing solutions’ typical lifespans.

Roof Type Average Cost –  Montreal Average Cost –Toronto (GTA) Lifespan
Asphalt shingles $3.15 – $5.25/sq. ft. $3.75 – $5.25/sq. ft. 15 to 25 years
Metal $15.00 – $26.00/sq. ft. $20.00 – $29.00/sq. ft. 50+ years
Slate $23.00 – $37.00/sq. ft. $25.30 – $40.75/sq. ft. 75 to 150 years

Note: The three listed roofing solutions are those our contractors are most qualified to work with. The other materials are treated on a case by case basis as they are rarer.

Replacing a pitched roof on a typical bungalow with asphalt shingles can cost up to $6,000+, but for a more luxurious building, it can be around $19,000 or more. For other materials like metal, wood, or slates you’re looking at prices that are of at least $15,000, and going up to $60,000. Keep in mind that your roof’s cost will increase depending on the surface area, but also if ventilation or other elements need to be added. Take a look at our roofing cost article for more details.  

Which pitched roof material to choose…

  • Most affordable: Asphalt shingles. They’re also the most commonly used roofing solution.
  • Best value for money: Metal roofing. While you will be paying more, they last longer. 
  • Most eco-friendly: Metal roofing, as it can be recycled & is made or recycled material.
  • The coolest: Slate. It has a unique look & can stand the test of time.  

How to know it’s time to get your roof replaced

Many factors can come into play that’ll make you notice it might be time to replace or repair your roof. Here are some signs you should be on the lookout for: 

  • Swollen areas of your roof;
  • Cracked joints;
  • Bowed shingles;
  • Obvious stains or mold spots;

Take a look at our roof inspection article to learn more! 

Roof deterioration

360° Verified Roofers for your pitched roof

Picking the right roofing material for your needs and wants is important, but so is hiring the right roofer! As one of our experts mentioned in our flat roof materials article, many homeowners get in touch with us to get their roof redone because it was poorly installed from the get-go, not because the material has aged & needs to be replaced. The contractors we work with all undergo a rigorous 360° Verification Process, which takes a look at their license validity, their insurance policies, their financial situation, and more! Working with one of our contractors puts your mind at ease. We even provide you with each roofer’s verification report!

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Experienced Renovation Advisors to help you

With thousands of renovation projects under their belt, our Renovation Advisors are qualified to help you figure out which material is best for you. Your dedicated advisor will put up to three 360° Verified Contractors in competition against one another to bid on your project. By doing so, you’re sure to end up with fairly priced quotes! Our advisors also help you understand and compare each quote that comes your way to help you make the best decision when it comes to picking a roofer! 

Ready to get started?

Call us or fill out our form if you’re ready to go ahead and get started with your roofing project! Our services is at no cost, no obligation to you!

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pitched roof materials type