The Best Cedar Shakes for Canadian Homes

Canadian Roofing

Although many think Canada is constantly cold, that is not the case.

Like most places, the weather in Canada varies depending on the season, and homes—especially their roofs—need to withstand the different seasonal weather.

Cedar shakes and shingles are a popular roofing option in Canada, with good reason, though they are not without their flaws.

To better understand, you need to understand the weather in Canada and how it affects roofing needs, particularly when it comes to finding the best cedar shake for Canada homes.

Types Of Weather In Canada

Each season brings new concerns for your home's roof, especially winter and summer, which is why it’s important to understand how weather can affect a roof.

Canadian winters can bring hail, ice, and snow, causing its own forms of damage. Regardless of size, hail can damage shingles and other critical areas of the roof's infrastructure, like the gutters, vents, and flashing. Ice forms because of poorly insulated attic spaces and can cause water buildup on your roof, which can leak into your home. Snow is also heavier than most assume, and when it accumulates it can lead to numerous problems, including ice dams and potential roof collapse.

Summer weather can bring high humidity levels, which can cause moisture to get between the shingles and roof bed, which leads to mold growth. There is also the sunlight, which can cause shingles to curl, become brittle over time, and even bleach them. Varying temperatures during the day and night can cause your roof to experience thermal shock by expanding and contracting, which creates cracks that can lead to leaks.

Summer storms can also happen in areas of Canada like Toronto, with wind and hail or falling branches–or even an entire tree–damaging or destroying your roof.

Wind can be the more significant challenge; it can leave, tear, and rip shingles off entirely and leave the underlayment susceptible to water damage and mold. Wind can send debris flying, as mentioned before, which can cause various types of damage.

Canadian Roofing Needs

When choosing a roofing material, you need to consider several factors:


You need to choose a roofing material that offers the most durability possible; it should withstand the weather conditions Canada can experience throughout the year with minimal to no damage.


Roofs are an investment; you don't want to choose something that will need to be replaced after only a few years. The longer the lifespan, the longer your home will be protected against the elements.

Wind Resistance

Any roofing material you choose should be able to withstand storm-force winds without curling, tearing, or being ripped away.

Maintenance Requirements

You should choose a material that doesn't require too much maintenance. Options like cedar shakes are sometimes associated with requiring a great deal of maintenance, which can be time-consuming and costly.


Options like slate and cedar shakes are heavy, and roofs require extra structural support to handle the weight. When the weight of snow is added, it can be too much and potentially lead the roof to collapse in on the house.

Energy Efficiency

Roofing materials can have a significant impact on the energy efficiency of your home. To save money, it is essential to choose the right material.

Canadian Home And Roof Trends

For many Canadians, gray is the new black, with many homeowners opting for gray roofing, a timeless choice that complements various home designs. There is also a deeper interest in creating a balanced exterior, using either a monochromatic color scheme or a combination of black, brown, and gray.

Regarding roofing materials, durability has taken precedence, and homeowners have taken a stronger interest in eco-friendly materials, like solar panels, cool roofs, and recycled shingles, which help reduce the carbon footprint and help with energy savings.

The cedar shingles in Canada are historically known for being a very popular roofing option as they are readily available, aesthetically pleasing, and can last for many years with proper installation and maintenance.

Other common roofing materials include metal, slate, tile, and clay roofing.

For eco-friendly, synthetic or rubber singles made from recycled materials are often favored.

What Are Synthetic Cedar Shakes?

What Are Synthetic Cedar Shakes?

Synthetic roofing is an environmentally-friendly alternative to natural products like cedar shakes. They are made using recycled materials in a process that replicates the look of the real material, which creates a realistic product without the same limitations.

Synthetic Vs. Natural Wood Shakes: Pros And Cons

When considering the two options, it is vital to understand the advantages and disadvantages of natural cedar shakes vs. synthetic cedar shakes.

Advantages Of Natural Shakes

As mentioned before, one of the benefits of natural cedar shakes is that they are readily available and aesthetically pleasing. They are also incredibly durable and fairly resistant to strong winds and rain damage. This means they are less prone to mold and rotting compared to regular wood shakes. As a result, the cedar shakes that Canadians favor have better longevity compared to other wood roofing.

Disadvantages Of Natural Shakes


Despite being readily available, cedar shakes are expensive, especially when you include installation and maintenance costs. You cannot just hire any roofing company for this job; it has to be one with experience installing cedar shakes and shingles.


While less prone to mold and rot than regular wood, they are still susceptible to damage, especially if water pockets develop. To protect them from this damage and from other forms of damage, they require regular maintenance, which a professional must do.


Some areas of Canada have bans on cedar shakes due to wildfire concerns.

Temperature Concerns

Extreme temperatures can cause cedar shakes to deteriorate more rapidly, as wood naturally expands and contracts with changes in temperature and humidity. This can cause them to lose their integrity.

Advantages Of Synthetic Cedar Shakes

Advantages Of Synthetic Cedar Roof Shakes

As mentioned, synthetic cedar shakes provide the benefits of their traditional counterpart and more without any disadvantages. The advantages of synthetic cedar shakes in Canada include:

  • Class A Fire rating, the highest rating possible

  • Class 4 Impact Rating, the highest impact rating materials can receive

  • Available in a range of colors, including cool roof colors

  • Less expensive to install

  • A low maintenance option

  • They don't absorb water, so they are resistant to mold and rot

  • Can withstand extreme cold and heat cycles without suffering damage

  • Available in varying thicknesses which adds to the realistic appearance

  • Can be safely walked on without damage

  • Color will not fade

Considering Canada's extreme weather is vital when choosing between natural and synthetic cedar shakes. For example, in the country's northern parts, snow lasts longer and can sit on roofs for weeks. It can lead to water damage to traditional shakes, which wouldn't be a concern for their synthetic counterparts.

Brava Roofing Tile Shakes Up The Roofing Industry

Many synthetic roof material companies offer products that lack the realism of their replicating material. Brava does things differently; these synthetic cedar shakes are manufactured in a way that creates an almost perfect replica of the cedar shingles in Canada. They are available in various widths and thicknesses which adds to the realism. Whether you want a grey, brown, black, or even red roof, Brava gives you the option, with 14 different color options. The colors penetrate through the entire shingle, so they will never fade, and will remain vibrant for the entire life of the roof.

The other benefits that come with Brava Roof Tiles, besides those listed above, include:

  • A standard 50-year limited warranty

  • Can be recycled which keeps them out of landfills

  • Can be installed with a nail gun, even in the cold

  • You can get free samples to see what color you like best.

You can learn more about Brava's synthetic shakes on our website, with videos and resources that explain the our synthetic roofing products and show you the various options available. You can also contact our professional customer service staff by phone at 844-290-4196.

Contact us today to learn more about our products, get free samples, and learn why homeowners throughout Canada have turned to us for roofing needs!