Finding the best shingles can be an overwhelming and exhausting task when it comes time to shingle or re-shingle your roof.

  • How do you know you are getting the best value for your money?
  • What type of shingle is environmentally friendly?
  • What are the best roof shingle colors?
  • What type of roofing shingles will last the longest?

If you find yourself asking these questions, you’re in the right place.

Whether you are building a new home and looking for the perfect shingles, or you just received a roof inspection and need to replace your current shingles, understanding the pros and cons of the various types of shingles will put you at ease when it’s time to make your final decision.

The six different types of roof shingles discussed below are asphalt, architectural, clay tile, metal, composite, and wood.

Each type of shingle has distinct benefits and drawbacks, knowing the variance between the different roofing shingles will help you make an informed shingle purchase.

Asphalt Shingles

asphalt shingles
Asphalt shingles are the most commonly used shingles in the United States, and for good reason. These shingles have a lifespan of 15 to 30 years and cost roughly $2 per square foot, making them a durable and affordable roofing option.

Not only do asphalt shingles protect your roof from outside elements, but it also acts as an insulator keeping the cool air inside in the summertime and outside in the winter months.

While asphalt shingles are a durable and affordable shingle option, they can become susceptible to wear and tear if not properly maintained.

Even though maintenance is easy, they require some maintenance if you wish to utilize asphalt shingles for their entire lifespan.

If your asphalt shingles do not hold up to their potential, warranty options are available when making the initial shingle purchase that will warranty your shingles for 20 or even 25 years. This means that you have the opportunity to get a warranty for your shingles’ entire lifespan.

The lightweight material is made of composite material, cement fibers, organic materials, and asphalt. Durability and affordability paired with the easy installation process make asphalt shingles the leading choice in individuals looking to protect their roofs from pests to nature’s elements.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Affordable
  • Easy installation
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to maintain
  • Warranty options

Cons

  • Susceptible to wear and tear
  • Requires some maintenance

Architectural Shingles

Architectural shingles

Architectural shingles are essentially an enhanced, premium version of asphalt shingles. However, just like with any other premium product, you are paying the extra price for the premium label.

Upwards of three times as expensive as standard asphalt shingles, architectural shingles have a thicker material providing extensive protection against heavy rainfall, strong winds, and flying debris.

Architectural shingles are a great choice for those looking for a customizable roofing option. Most customizable roofing materials are made of a thicker substance, making the architectural shingles a more budget-friendly option if you are looking for a specifically designed look to your roof exterior.

As with regular asphalt shingles, architectural shingles are easy to maintain and install. The extra durability means these shingles can last up to a decade longer than their standard version making them perfect for those in an area more susceptible to severe weather and extreme temperature conditions.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Extended lifespan
  • Customizable
  • Easy maintenance

Cons

  • Costly

Clay Tile Roof Shingles

types of roof shingles: clay tile roofing

The unique look of clay tile roofing varies from house to house as they come in various shapes, sizes, and colors. Clay tile shingles are common in states where a dryer, desert-like climate is prominent.

Clay tile roof shingles are known for their bright, burnt-orange coloring and require minimal maintenance while offering a durable roofing option. While noted as a durable roofing option once installed, they are more fragile than traditional asphalt shingles.

This means special care is part of the installation process and transporting the clay shingles as they are more prone to chipping or shattering.

Clay tile shingles are expensive, but for good reason. If the 50 to 100-year lifespan is not reassuring enough to use clay shingles, the lifetime warranty may just seal the deal. A lifetime warranty is only available for select brands of clay tiles.

A clay tile roof can become susceptible to cracks and chips if hit by large debris. Clay tile shingles are an elevated option for a home that is not in a wooded area or does not regularly experience severe weather.

Pros

  • Unique
  • Extensive Warranty
  • Durable
  • Long lifespan
  • Extensive Options

Cons

  • Costly
  • Fragile

Metal Roof Shingles

metal roofing

Metal roofing is known as the roof shingling option that gives homeowners the best return on their investment. Metal shingles provide a similar look to asphalt shingles but give more protection while requiring less maintenance.

The durability of metal shingles costs approximately $9 per square foot, practically doubling the standard asphalt shingle cost. However, metal shingles are known to last a lifetime with minimal maintenance.

While maintenance is minimal, the costs can add up when replacing shingles due to dents, cracks, or extreme wear. If metal shingles receive proper care, they can add tremendous value to a home as potential owners will not have to worry about complete roof replacements.

Pros

  • Lasts a lifetime
  • Priced for durability
  • Adds value to the home

Cons

  • Replacement cost
  • Maintenance

Composite Shingles

composite shingles

Composite shingles are made of materials that have been engineered and may even contain recycled rubber and plastic. They are a more eco-friendly shingling option and come in many different shapes and sizes to better replicate wood and asphalt shingles.

Unlike asphalt shingles, composite shingles do not contain granules that often rub or wear off the shingle exposing it to harsh elements. The composite shingles are made of a single layer of engineered materials to keep them from tearing and help them withstand strong winds or severe weather.

Composite shingles come with a higher price tag than traditional asphalt shingles due to their extended durability and a 50-year lifespan.

Pros

  • Durability
  • Easy installation
  • Lifespan

Cons

  • Costly

Wood Shingles

wood shingles

Pine and cedar are the most common type of wood used for wood shingles. The wood is cut into the desired shape and size so it can lay in an overlapping pattern necessary for shingling. Wood shingles offer a natural, elegant look that you cannot accomplish with artificial materials.

While they are natural, wood shingles are costly and require a lot of maintenance to keep them working to protect your roof from leaking or external damage.

We do not recommend wood shingles for areas prone to wildfires or regular hot temperatures. Installation of wood shingles is not recommended as a DIY project and should take place by seasoned professionals.

Wood shingles can last up to 50 years if properly maintained. One way to ensure your wood shingles last their entire lifespan is to repair damage as soon as it occurs and frequently check for debris or wear.

The average cost of wood shingles is $9-$10 per square foot; it’s vital to ensure wood shingles are appropriate for your home and to have regularly scheduled inspections.

Pros

  • Elegant
  • Natural
  • Lifespan

Cons

  • High maintenance
  • Costly
  • Difficult Installation

The Purpose of Durable Shingles

Shingles provide an extra layer of protection to your roof and help keep out natural elements like pests, rain, and hot or cold air.

The overlapping installation of shingles creates a sealed, watertight layer of protection that prevents condensation from seeping through your roof during rain and snowfall. They also protect against heavy winds and, depending on the type of shingle, can last a lifetime if well maintained.

Shingling can change the look of your home drastically. While a shingle’s chief purpose is to protect your roof, it can also add a unique look or feel to your home. Depending on the type of shingle you use, you can give your home a unique look that stands out or a more modern feel that blends in.

Does Your Roof Need to be Replaced?

The leading reason people have their roofs replaced is due to damage incurred by wind or falling debris such as branches. Hail and standing water also pose a threat to your roof and can cause severe damage if not treated properly and efficiently.

An aging roof may also need replacing as sun exposure, leaves, and even lichen cause damage to your roof over time. There are some instances where a roof repair will suffice; however, the general rule of thumb for roof replacements is if any more than 35% of your roof is damaged, a replacement is the best choice.

The cost is in part due to the overall cost associated with a roof repair vs. replacement. A roof replacement is typically more expensive than a repair but is more cost-effective in the long run if your roof has experienced extensive damage.

Repair is only a temporary fix and can be costly if done over a large surface area of the roof. Therefore, repairing your roof is a noble option when your roof receives severe damage because the replacement will last longer and will withstand any future severe weather.

If your roof is experiencing any of the following conditions, it may be time to consider a roof replacement:

  • Shingles are curling – shingles typically begin to curl with age due to the everyday wear they withstand. Curling shingles eventually result in roof leaks and even a rotting roof.
  • Shingles crack or show wear – your shingles act as insulation to your home. When they become cracked or worn-down, they cannot fully protect your home from the outside heat allowing hot air to come inside. Ultimately, this leads to higher electric bills and an additional cost to your home.
  • Leaks are becoming normal – keeping your home dry and insulated is the purpose of roofing shingles. If you repeatedly see leaks coming from your roof, it may be time for a roof replacement; your shingles have likely experienced damage beyond repair.

Another aspect to consider when thinking of repairing your roof is to look at your neighbors’ shingles. Most homes in housing developments are built around the same time, meaning that if your neighbors’ are getting roof replacements, it may be a sign that your home requires one as well.

broken and damaged roof shingles

Shingles are a vital part of the roofing process. Whether you are building a new home or repairing an existing one, the type of shingling selected for your roofing project will heavily depend on the climate and location of the house.

If your home is in a dry climate, you may want to steer clear of wood shingles as they are prone to catch fire. A better choice is clay shingles; they thrive in hot, dry climates and provide heat protection to your home.

In a wet climate that sees heavy rainfall, metal shingles prove a good option as the water easily rolls off the metal material. Metal shingles are also a noble option for homes in cooler climates as they attract heat and can hold it in keeping your home warmer.

If you are going for a more unique, elegant shingling option, wood shingles provide a natural look that you won’t see on every other home. Wood shingles are unique, but they do require a lot of maintenance; that maintenance will pay off with the extended lifespan it secures. If properly maintained, wood shingles can succeed in any climate but do best in colder areas.

Asphalt, architectural, and composite shingles are your more traditional shingling options and will succeed in any climate as long as they are properly maintained. These shingles are UV resistant, watertight, and have extended lifespans depending on the elements they are exposed to.

Selecting the proper shingling for your home doesn’t have to be a time-consuming and stressful decision. Understanding the benefits of each shingle option and what climate they are best suited for is the first step in making that final decision.

Let us help you with any roof problems or concerns by contacting us today!