Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Looking Up

Our house renovations have been progressing at a snail's pace, read, not progressing at all.  The time has come to make some changes on that front and get some new energy on this project!  On the bright side,,things are looking up, at least on the outside.  We were lucky to enjoy some warm autumn temps throughout November and we managed to get a new roof installed.  Selecting the actual roof shingles was something I angsted over for weeks and even though I was pretty discouraged by the options available to chose from, I'm completely thrilled with our final choice.

I've always considered a cedar shake roof the dream roof choice, its natural texture and patina are my idea of the quintessential roofing material especially for an East Coast character home.  Is there anything more classic and timeless?  I didn't however, consider a cedar shake roof as a viable option for our house for several reasons, but I did want to find something that evoked that same character.  After viewing what was available at the local building centres and spending weeks driving around looking up at roofs everywhere I went, I realized that finding a shingle I liked (other than cedar shake) wasn't going to be easy, or fun.

There are some amazing alternate and eco friendly shake alternatives that I found but they proved to be more than 3X the upfront cost of an architectural asphalt shingle.  Needless to say, with an entire interior reno still ahead of me, furniture, landscaping,,,,and a future barn conversion I wasn't compelled to splurge and bust the budget on this very first reno decision.  The roof is one of, if not the most important protective element of the home and a prominent aesthetic feature so its certainly not where I wanted to scimp either.  I was determined though not to pick something simply because I hated it the least but at one point it was looking that way....

Have you shopped for roof shingles lately? Around these parts these are predominantly what you'll find in the architectural asphalt shingle category (above) and they just weren't appealing to me.  I'm not fond of the high contrasting multi-tones which look very 'patchwork' and unnatural to me and I really wasn't a fan of the heavy black line that was common on many - meant to simulate shadow lines and create the illusion of depth but I felt it just looked very faux even from a distance.

This is an example of the patchwork effect I felt many of the architectural shingles looked like. : /   Often you may not realize by looking at the display board how multi-coloured and contrasting the overall effect will be.  I drove around and looked at local installations of specific shingles so I could see the effect in person and it was always surprising how much different they looked from the sample and how much their appearance changed depending on the slope of the roof, time of day and colour of the house itself.

I was looking for a very warm medium dark grey with subtle tone variations, easier said than found. Until I came across this one (above) on line which looked like it ticked all the boxes so we headed to Halifax to check them out in person.  Of course the display sample looked quite different from the current stock on the shelves (common) so we bought several sheets and brought them home...something I highly recommend doing.

We tried them out on the back of the house, and looked at them at different times of the day....

And we tried them out on the front of the house.  Decison made.  Timberline's HD Canadian Driftwood was our pick.

Early on in the installation, our first glimpse of what a larger area of these shingles would look like....

The front of the house now complete and we were really happy with the texture and colour.  It doesn't look "patchworky", the subtle tones of grey look more as if they are naturally weathered as opposed to multi-coloured or simulated.

As the sun was setting you can see how the sunlight effects the colour and shadows at various times of the day.....

You can really see the textural effect the architectural shingles add to the roof.  Its certainly not a substitute for cedar shake but I think the tones and dimension of these have that natural look to them that I was seeking.

And dusted with an early morning frost,,,if you squint your eyes,,they almost, almost might be mistaken for cedar shake.  ; )  Good choice.

But the best part of all is,  NOW we can move forward with the rest of the house renos!!!

All Photos by:  Carol Reed


  1. now that's a roof.
    Santa will be proud to land there.

  2. O.K. when I first took a look I thought immediately that they were cedar shakes. I wish I'd known about these 2 years ago when I got my roof done. Problem I've found is roofers, tilers etc. often just want to use the product they have an association with and don't want to work with anything else. Spose 'cause they get a discount on said product. The roof and house in general is spectacular. I'm very jealous of your new life adventure. Very jealous indeed. ~ karen!

  3. Hi Karen,,,Well thanks so much!! It IS an adventure! With roofs I find they look different at every moment of the day, unless its just single flat colour, then not so much variance. These ones look like cedar shake sometimes more than others but even when they don't i still like them! Except for the fact they happen to be the colour I was looking for, (which I couldn't find anywhere else) they really are nothing extra special or out of the ordinary in general, they're from Home Depot. But there isn't a HD in the town closest to us nor any of the nearby towns so it was an "out of the box" choice for our area. Roofers and homeowners tend to use product that is locally available so often that's what dictates the selection. (Also suppliers will carry product lines that are suitable for their geographic area and contractors will have accounts with local suppliers too which can mean better pricing). Its refreshing to work with any contractor who is open using new products!! These days with online shopping you can get anything shipped/delivered no matter where you are. Its just a pain if you run out and need more, which happened to us, so there was a two day delay waiting for more. ~ C

  4. love it...great choice! oh, it makes me want to see more!! Happy Christmas Carol!! hugs...M

  5. Wonderful look...Happy New Year to you both.

  6. Happy New Year Carol!
    I love the new roof shingles.....looking good!

  7. Fantastic job, looks like you got it done relatively stress free!

    -Keystone Contracting Corp.

  8. So glad you put the pictures up. We had ordered this shingle, and then went it to HD to see the actual shingle, and were surprised with the variation. GAF has no pictures of this installed! Looking at your pictures we feel more comfortable with the choice now. Thanks!

  9. Hi Glenn, I can tell you after almost 1 year to the date the singles were installed,,,and after seeing it thru every season and every type of lighting and weather conditions I am still completely thrilled with the choice. Not a single regret based on all the other options. ~ C

  10. Thank you for the very helpful post, Carol. I agree. Some of the shingled roofs out there are pretty wild, perhaps understandable if one were to live in a home with a stucco exterior. Since I have multi-colored brick to contend with, I too, have been in the vortex of shingledom, looking for a reasonably good quality product in a QUIET color. Fortunately, GAF's Timberline HD - Cdn Driftwood is available to me locally.

  11. CarolReedInteriorDesignJune 21, 2014 at 12:08 PM

    Pretty wild - yes! I found most options to be just too busy and the colours too un-natrual looking particularly if your home is in a rural natural setting. Hope your new shingle search is a success. ~ C


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