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Growing in popularity over the last 20 years, metal roofing offers many positives as a residential roofing solution as compared to traditional asphalt shingles. With advantages in durability, environmental sustainability and colour selection, installing a metal roof just might be the right choice for your next roofing project in Ottawa. Here is a basic overview of metal roofing and its main qualities.


Metal roofing comes in three main material types: steel, aluminum and copper. Galvanized steel is the most popular metal roofing selection, however it requires special coating to prevent corrosion over the long term.

Stainless steel is another great steel option, but it is more expensive than galvanized steel and aluminum. This is because stainless steel does not require an extra coating and does not rust or corrode over the long term, thus offering a longer lifespan.

Aluminum is very lightweight, won’t rust and offers great energy efficiency. However, it does require a special finish to protect from the elements. Aluminum is also a very soft metal and therefore may be prone to denting in harsh conditions.

Copper is the most expensive metal roofing material, but with that high-end price comes durability as it won’t rust, peel or scratch. It is also quite visually attractive and can really add to the exterior appeal of your home.

Patterns and Style

One of the biggest strengths of metal roofing is that it comes in so many different colors and styles. For those who want a roofing selection that looks different than traditional asphalt shingles, metal roofing offers more than 30 colors to choose from. From shades of white to deep reds, metal roofing is restricted only by the color of paint you choose as a coating.

In addition, metal roofing comes in many different styles and shapes. Some options include sheet-style panels with raised ribs, metal shingles, metal tile, and metal shake. Homeowners can choose the style with the most visual appeal relative to the exterior of their home and they all provide the same quality of protection.

Durability and Safety

One of the biggest drawbacks to asphalt shingles is that, despite their 25-year warranty, they usually start to curl or break down after 10-15 years. With exposure to sun, high wind, and the generally harsh winters here in Ottawa, you may find your asphalt shingles won’t meet the 25-year mark as advertised.

By contrast, metal roofing is a very durable option that usually lasts about 3 times as long as asphalt shingles, up to 50 years. This is because metal roofing is more durable in several key areas that asphalt is not.

First, metal roofing will not fly off your roof in high winds like asphalt shingles are prone to do.

Second, metal roofing does not peel or break down in the harsh sunlight and elements over time. With that being said, the painted coating may need to be re-done at least once during the lifespan of metal roofing as weather and exposure can cause paint deterioration.

Finally, metal roofing is very safe from fire exposure. One of the main causes of fire damage in homes that are neighbouring a fire is that flames can pass from one roof to the next, setting the asphalt shingles on fire. Metal roofing solves this problem as it is fire resistant and will not catch fire in this manner and therefore is not only safer, but may save you on your home insurance costs.

Metal roofing is also not a threat to catch fire with lightning, as metal roofing does not attract lightning any more than other types of roofing and would safely disperse the electrical charge on contact across the surface area of the roof if struck.

Environmental Factors

One of the main drawbacks to asphalt shingles is that they are hard to recycle economically. This means after their life cycle is complete, they usually end up in dumps with no further use left for the material. Metal roofing can be considered a ‘green’ building material as the metal is mostly recyclable and can be re-used for other purposes after its usefulness as a roofing material has run out.

Another ‘green’ benefit to metal roofing is that it can be coated to reflect away light and heat from the sun thus helping to lower your cooling costs in the summer.

Asphalt vs. Metal: Which roofing material should I use?

When deciding between asphalt shingles or metal roofing, know that both are quality roofing products that get the job done. If you are working within a budget, then asphalt will definitely save you money upfront as metal roofing costs around 2-3 times as much.

If you are planning to move from your home in the near future, asphalt may also be the better decision since you will not reap the longevity benefits of metal roofing, although metal roofing does raise your immediate property value and saves on cooling costs.

But, if you are planning to stay put in your home for many years, then metal roofing may prove to be the wise financial investment for long term durability, peace of mind and even visual appeal.