Types of Shingles

Types of Shingles

If you’re looking to replace your roof, the options are seemingly endless. Technology has improved roofing options, but the tired and true options are still popular. When choosing a shingle material there are several things to consider such as climate, budget, available options, and your vision for your home.

Each type of shingle comes with their own pros and cons. Not every variety will be right for your home and environment. Read on to find out about some of the most common types of shingles as well as their pros and cons.

Asphalt Shingles

Pros: Cost effective, lightweight, a wide range of thicknesses and colors
Cons: Short lifespan, vulnerable to temperature fluctuations

Asphalt shingles are made of fiberglass, wood, or cellulose. These shingles are available in different styles and thicknesses. Asphalt shingles are the least expensive and most common.  Cost is around $90 per square (a roofing measurement equivalent to 100 square feet of material), and will last about 15-30 years.

All asphalt shingles are waterproof, and the fiberglass variety is also fireproof. These shingles are flexible enough to withstand heavy snows and moderate hail storms. ENERGY STAR-qualified asphalt shingles might qualify for a tax credit.

Homes in the Northwest and Northeast are better equipped for asphalt shingles as they are prone to damage from high winds and extreme temperature changes.

Wood Shingles

Pros: Rustic aesthetic, environmentally friendly
Cons: Vulnerability to fire, banned in certain regions due to fire codes

Wood shingles are cut from cedar, spruce, or pine. Offering a natural and rustic look, wood shingles are an environmentally-friendly option that lasts 20 to 25 years. According to HomeAdvisor.com, wood shingles cost around at $350 to $450 per square, making them a pricier option that requires more maintenance. Wood shingles require frequent upkeep including mildew removal and replacement shingles due to chipping and splitting.

These shingles are available in with a Class A fire rating for installation in areas with hot, dry climates. Wet climates are also not ideal for wood shingles as they are prone to mold and mildew.

Metal Shingles

Pros: Longer lifespan than asphalt or wood, reflects sunlight, lightweight
Cons: Higher cost, noise during rain and hail

Metal shingles are made with aluminum, steel, copper, or an alloy and are available in a variety of shapes. Metal shingles are the most energy efficient shingle as they reflect sunlight instead of absorbing sunlight, lowering cooling costs-making these roofs a great option for those in hot climates. Lasting anywhere from 50 to 75 years, metal shingles are a great investment on the higher upfront installation costs.

Homeowners can save money when installing a metal roof by having the new roof installed over old shingles. Rain and hail are much louder on metal roofs than on other types. Also, hail can dent the metal.

Slate Shingles

Pros: Longest lifespan, attractive, natural aesthetic, less likely to experience leaks
Cons: Expensive, many structures can’t support the weight

Slate shingles’ are sleek and durable option that will last from 50 to 100 years. Withstanding heat, moisture, heavy snows, fire and with a low risks of leaks, slate shingles are ideal for homes in the Midwest. This type of roof can run $1,100 to $2,000 per square and often require a specialized contractor for installation. Many structures cannot withstand the weight of slate shingles. If you decide on slate shingles, consult with a structural engineer before installation.

Clay and Concrete Shingles

Pros: Variety of colors, noncombustible, energy efficiency
Cons: Heavy

These shingles provide a distinct look synonymous with the Spanish-style homes in the Southwest Clay is noncombustible and will not fade and concrete reflects sunlight and effectively insulates your home’s interior. 

Concrete tiles are heavier than clay and, roofs made with either type of shingle need a consulting a structural engineer to make sure your home can support the weight. These roofs will often need extra framing during installation to support their weight. Clay and concrete shingles will last about 40 to 50 plus years and cost anywhere from $300 to $1,000 per square, with clay being about 30 to 50% more expensive than concrete.