The Five Best Roofing Materials for Extreme Weather Conditions in Alberta


Architectural engineering is incredible because it can help to transform any basic design into something innovative and high-quality – and that goes for roofing, too. Of course, it isn’t all about dramatic appearances that stand out among the rest. Roofing, especially when you live in areas such as Calgary and Lethbridge in Alberta (where unexpected cold snaps are hardly atypical), is absolutely integral to ensuring the durability of your home. It all comes down to material.

Where Roofing and Engineering Meet

Roofing engineering includes any structural engineering that is related to the physical soundness and design of rooftops for buildings. Commonly, structural building engineering is strongly associated with architecture due to their focus on the manipulation of materials, space, mass and volume. However, instead of concentrating solely on an end aesthetic roofing structural engineering focuses on the manipulation of forms and materials with a primary mathematical and scientific basis in order to fulfill a building’s functional requirements.

To effectively maintain its physical integrity before, during and after extreme weather conditions, your property’s roof material must be structurally sound. For instance, if you live in Calgary, roofing is absolutely essential to protecting your building from the potentially detrimental threat of hail. Calgary’s weather can be unpredictable; in the winter, residents may experience severe cold snaps, unexpected warming chinooks, hailfall, and more. Living in such a cold and dry climate, residents may benefit from ensuring their home is protected with the right roofing material.

Slate Tile Roofing

There are not many materials out there that can beat slate tile for when you need durable roofing. Alberta is known for experiencing relatively harsh winters which can start as early as October and end as late as May. Physical weather can do a huge amount of damage to housing exteriors in this time, whether through hail storms, cold snaps, or harsh winds. The best way to mitigate the damage to your building’s infrastructure and its roof is by practicing proper preventative maintenance. Slate tile roofing can help with that. Since slate tile is made from stone, it can withstand some of the most difficult winter weather – and for a longer duration than most roofing material. In fact, some slate roofs have been known to stay relatively intact for over 100 years. Slate tile can also help to insulate your home as it is a rather dense material.


Shingles are another option you may want to consider if budget is something to be considered. They are affordable and durable but are much more likely to crack in harsh weather than other, more expensive options. Wood shakes are relatively affordable as well and can endure cold climates with warranties that range anywhere from 30 years to a lifetime. Asphalt shingles are relatively popular, but mostly due to the fact that they are pretty inexpensive next to a lot of other roofing materials. Fibreglass asphalt shingles are something to be considered: they offer an additional layer of protection surrounded by mineral granules. They tend to be more durable than your typical asphalt shingles and have a longer lifespan. Asphalt shingles are the roofing of choice when you do not have the finances for more durable roofing. They can still be quite effective against the cold elements of Alberta.

Cement and Concrete Tiles

Cement and concrete tiles are, as the name would imply, made from concrete and cement. They are extremely durable next to some other options and have become a decently common tile type as a result. They’re considerably cheaper than your average tiled roof (with a similar appearance) and, when purchased in “s” tiles, offer plenty of weather resistance. Cement and concrete tiles tend to be the roofing material of choice for areas that suffer from high winds. The State of Florida Division of Emergency Management verified through a durability test that cement tiles can withstand over 190 km/h with virtually no damage whatsoever. Furthermore, cement tiles appear to be able to endure the impact of hailstorms with minimal fracturing. Perhaps the biggest advantage of utilizing cement and concrete tiles is that they have a lifetime of up to 100 years. It is important to check with a roofing expert before installing cement and concrete tiles, however, because your home’s foundation must be sturdy enough to carry their weight.

Metal Roofing

Proven to be decently resistant to the effects of ice and snow formation, metal roofing is a good choice for areas that are prone to heavy snowfall. Metal roofing is also quite durable and can endure winds of over 200 km/h. In the summer, metal roofing can help to mitigate the costs of air condition as its reflective nature and infrared emittance helps cool houses down. They do last longer than other roofing materials (anywhere from 40 to 70 years) but can be recycled and are also fireproof – which is notable given the dry, hot temperatures in Alberta during the late spring and early summer months. Metal roofing is more expensive than many of the other materials listed and cheaper variations may dent in hailstorms. Due to its nature, metal is also known to contract in colder weather and expand in the heat, making it prone to leaking or budging other infrastructure so it is important to install it correctly to account for this.

Clay Tiles

Clay tiles are generally selected for aesthetic purposes since their shape allows for more manipulation than other materials. However, that doesn’t mean that clay tiles do not serve a purpose for mitigating the effects of cold or extreme weather situations. When installed as “s” tiles, clay helps to circulate the air a lot easier, making it a lot easier to cool your property down in hotter weather. They are often the material of choice in climates that tend to be a lot warmer and dryer. Clay is long-lasting and can be expected to survive up to 100 years or more. They can withstand up to 200 km/h winds, are fireproof, and are expected to endure heavy rains and cold snaps.  Also, clay tiles are considered to be environmentally-friendly and are a material of choice for sustainable roofing.

Choosing a Roofing Material Right for You

Whether you live in Calgary or anywhere else in the world, it is important that you choose a roofing material which works for the weather your area commonly experiences. For instance, if you should live in a place which is relatively warm all-year-round, you may not need to look into purchasing concrete or cement tiles. Clay tiles may work best for your situation. On the other hand, if where you live often experiences hail storms, you may want to invest in those concrete tiles. If you cannot make the decision for yourself, you may want to consider consulting with a roofing expert for advice.


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