Any drive around Toronto’s neighbourhoods, new or old, confirms that asphalt shingles are by far the most popular residential roofing material.
And for good reason. Asphalt is relatively inexpensive and durable. It also is perhaps the most versatile roofing material offering homeowners many options for, shape, design and colour, including the look of more expensive roofing materials.
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Despite their ongoing popularity, asphalt shingles are seeing increased competition from residential roofing types and technologies that were relatively rare just 10 or 15 years ago.
- Flat Roofs – As Toronto continues its program of “intensification”, by developing new homes in areas already built-up – versus new developments on farmland and the Oakridges Moraine – townhomes with smaller footprints, and little or no yard space, are becoming more common. In an effort to offer a little more outdoor living space, many architects designing homes with flat roofs that can accommodate roof-top decks.
- Solar Panels – While they are not really a roofing material, you’ll spot more and more photovoltaic solar panels covering residential roofs. While the idea of reducing or eliminating your energy costs has always been a compelling reason to consider solar panels, installation costs have now come down to a point that makes the upfront costs more feasible.
- Green Roofs – If you’ve seen a green roof anywhere in town, it probably was on a public building, not a home. But that’s not to say they’re not on some houses. Toronto became the first city in North America to have a bylaw governing the construction of green roofs on new developments.
And, like solar panels, as the economics of green roofs (which are flat roofs covered in plant life and a growing medium) begin to make more sense; they will also become more popular as a re-roofing option on existing homes.
While asphalt shingles are the least expensive roofing material to install and maintain, it’s worth talking to your roofing company about different options that might better suit your home or lifestyle.