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Case Study: A 1978 DECRA Tile Roof Passes the Test of Time

Trevor Underwood • October 19, 2020

Case Study: A 1978 DECRA Tile Roof Passes the Test of Time


In 1978, building owner and master roofer Charles Lortle converted an Ottawa apartment building into an upscale condominium complex. Lortie chose DECRA Tile for the roof upgrade, and the weather extremes of Ottawa, Canada provided us with the perfect field test for proving the durability of DECRA’s stone-coated steel roofing products.  

Typical weather conditions in Ottawa include:

  • Temperature extremes down to -13° F
  • 34.2” rainfall per year
  • 6-month snow season (October - April)
  • 69” of snowfall per year


But enduring the Canadian elements was just one of many roofing project challenges for DECRA on this unique building.

DECRA Tile For Mansards, Turrets, and Replicating Classic Architecture

Architectural style was just as important as durability for this upscale condominium project.

The building features many of the classic elements of Mediterranean revival architecture, with the steep-sloped mansard roof popularized by French architect, Francois Mansart. This classical theme includes a turret and cupola, prominent dormers, and decorative skylights -- each an individual roofing challenge, especially when the period design requires an elegant clay tile roofing profile.

Ruling Out Conventional Roofing Materials

As a master roofer himself, Lortie knew that an authentic clay tile roof in the frigid Ottawa winters would be highly impractical. Clay tile fractures easily after repeated freeze/thaw cycles and would require ongoing maintenance that would be both costly and disruptive to the residents in the upscale condos below. 

The original composition shingle roof lacked the authentic Baroque Period aesthetic appeal and would require repeated replacement every decade or so after exposure to the Canadian weather.  

With 3,000 square feet of total roofing area to protect, Lortie was looking for a roofing product that could eliminate all the future costs of re-roofing without compromising on style, color, form, or beauty. 

He found it all with DECRA Metal Roofing. 

5 Decades of Protection Against the Harsh Canadian Weather

With the steep slopes of the mansard roof, secure roof fastening is mandatory for withstanding high winds, wind-driven snow, and sleet. Further, 10 major snowstorms per year are typical in Ottawa and severe blizzards occur every decade. 

DECRA Tile replicated the elegance of clay tile with strength and durability to withstand the Canadian elements. DECRA roofs use a proprietary interlocking panel technique that provides unmatched wind uplift resistance and are warrantied up to 120 mph. DECRA tests for wind uplift at twice that velocity to ensure a 100% safety margin. All DECRA products are freeze/thaw resistant and carry the highest UL Class 4 impact rating for hail damage and storm debris. 

At 42 years, the prominent DECRA Tile roof on Lortie’s distinctive condominium building has withstood the test of time and is still under warranty for the lifetime of the building.

Ageless DECRA Beauty Backed By The Industry’s Best Roofing Warranty

All DECRA metal roofing profiles have unmatched performance in every roofing material comparison category. High-grade, zinc-aluminum alloyed steel and our acrylic-bonded stone-coatings combine to provide ageless beauty and lifetime durability. 

The outstanding performance of DECRA’s time-tested metal roofing products give us the capability and confidence to offer the industry’s most comprehensive Lifetime Limited Warranty

Curious how your home or building will look with a new DECRA roof? Check out our "Design My Roof" app