How long do roof shingles last in Alberta?

Alberta has extreme temperate changes, high winds, heavy snowfall, hail, the annual freeze-thaw cycle and the occasional blistering summer day. This guide will give you a relative estimate of how long your roof shingles will last in Alberta.

Understanding which materials can withstand the Albertan climate and will last the longest can help you choose what shingle to build or replace your roof with.

In this guide, you will learn:

  • Types of roofing materials used in Alberta
  • Unique circumstances that Albertan Climate poses
  • Recommended Residental Roof type in Alberta

Check out our guide on Cedar versus Architectural Shingles

Architectural asphalt shingles in Edmonton

Types of roofing materials used in Alberta

There are a few main types of roofing materials most commonly used in Alberta.

Each one of these types of shingles has positives and negatives.

Architectural Shingles

This type of shingles resembles three-tab shingles, but they have refined asphalt, and granules laminated together instead of being attached to fibreglass or a cloth mat. They are also known as laminated or dimensional shingles.

These shingles seal in the same manner as asphalt but are thicker and denser, creating a more resilient roof. They are low maintenance and have a high aesthetic appeal.

They can be installed by expert roofers easily and quickly.

Architectural shingles are the most commonly used shingle on new builds in Alberta

Cedar Shingles

Cedar Shingles or cedar Shakes are beautiful and very aesthetically pleasing. They are rot and insect-resistant as well as incredibly durable. They naturally age from honey yellow to a silver-gray colour as they age.

This type of shingle requires skilled specialist roofers to install correctly and requires annual maintenance.  There is also an increased cost associated with these shingles due to the irregular nature of the material.  Fabricators make cedar shakes out of natural wood, and that comes at a cost premium. The expert roofers at Dwights Roofing Specialize in cedar shingles.


Slate and Concrete Roofing Tiles

Both slate and concrete roofing tiles are used occasionally here in Alberta.  They give a distinctive look to a structure and have some advantages and disadvantages. They create a moisture barrier by layering tiles over your structure and draining moisture down the gutters.

Concrete and slate roofing tiles are durable and fireproof but heavy. During the freeze-thaw cycle typical in Alberta, they can crack if their vapour barrier is compromised. They can also be costly and require frequent maintenance.

Metal Roofing

Metal roofing can be a durable, long-lasting form of roofing that can withstand Alberta’s harshest temperature shifts. It can tolerate rain, strong winds, heavy snowfall, ice, or intense heat, all while being fire resistant. 

However, due to the high initial cost, contractors typically use them on commercial buildings. The look of metal roofs is not often what someone thinks of for their home.

This type of roofing is not common in Alberta primarily due to the initial cost.  Otherwise, it is a great, long-lasting option.

Recommended Residential Roof type in Alberta

When considering what type of roof system or shingles to use in Alberta, one must consider a few factors:

  • Price
  • Longevity/Durability
  • Ease of installation and maintenance

At Dwights Roofing in Edmonton, we most commonly recommend architectural asphalt shingles. Other options still can be great choices in Alberta but most commonly and the most effective roofing system is asphalt architectural shingles.


The cost of the initial installation of architectural shingles is among the lowest of any roofing system that can withstand Alberta’s winters. Depending on the material used, they typically cost between $3 and $6 per square foot.


Top-end architectural shingles are Malarkey (class 4) rated shingles. Class 4 is an impact and wind resistance rating for which insurance companies offer a discount since they rarely get damaged due to hail.

They are durable and flexible, making them withstand difficult climate conditions found every year in Alberta.

Newer technology utilizing fibreglass has made these architectural asphalt shingles last longer and meet their projected lifespan targets even in harsh conditions.

Architectural shingles should last between 25 and 30 years.

Ease of Installation and maintenance

One of the best features of architectural shingles is their ease of installation. They are one of the most straightforward roofing systems to install and one of the easiest ones to maintain.

That makes them the go-to shingle for most new builds in Alberta.  Homebuyers save stress and money due to these shingles’ cost, maintenance, and effectiveness.

Final Thoughts

If you are looking for an expert roofer with decades of experience work on your home, please contact Dwights Roofing for a free estimate today!

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