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