The Ultimate Guide to the Different Types of Roof Shingles

The roof is one of the most important aspects of your home. Without it, you and your stuff would be exposed to the elements and you’d lose a lot of electronics and other important items when it rains.

If your current roof is showing signs of needing to be replaced, don’t delay. A leaky roof in the middle of a winter snowstorm is not your idea of a good time.

However, investing in a new roof is a big deal. Roofs are expensive. The price varies greatly depending on location, the size of the home, and the materials used. However, you can typically plan to spend between $5,000 and $10,000. Although the price can go up to $30,000 or more on the high end.

The types of roof shingles you decide to use factor a lot into the price of your roof. But beyond budget, some materials are better for your home than others. Each has their own advantages and disadvantages. Climate, timeframe, and the aesthetic you want all play a role in which type is right for your roof.

Let’s take a look at the different types of roof shingles to help you decide which one is right for you.

Asphalt Roof Shingles

Asphalt roof shingles are hands down one of the most common types of roofing materials. And for good reason. These shingles are an affordable, yet effective and extremely functional roofing material.

There are three types of asphalt shingles and each has their own advantages. Let’s break it down.

3-Tab Shingles

The 3-Tab asphalt shingles are the most economical option. However, just because they are economical doesn’t mean that they aren’t a great roofing material.

The base is made of fiberglass that is covered with a coat of mineral granules. This varies the color tones, which is helpful in keeping the roof from looking drab. Each shingle is notched into three sections, hence the name.

The shingles are lightweight, which is great because you don’t have to pay for extra structural engineering to sustain the weight of the roof. However, if you live in a windy area, they may not be the best choice.

Their light weight means that they are prone to being blown off the roof by the wind. This is particularly true if the installer did a poor job or if the roof is getting old.

For being such an economical option, you still get your money’s worth. You can expect these shingles to last around 20 years particularly if you keep up a good maintenance routine.

Architectural Shingles

If you want to take your asphalt shingles to the next level, opt for architectural shingles. You may also hear them referred to as dimensional or laminated shingles.

These shingles have a couple advantages over the basic 3-tab ones.

First, because they are made by layering shingles they are stronger and longer-lasting. You can expect to get around 30 years of solid life out of this roof under the right conditions.

Plus, the layering gives them a multi-dimensional look, hence the name, and makes them a more handsome alternative to 3-tab. They also come in a wide variety of colors, making it easy to match your home and create the aesthetic you want.

For these reasons, this type of shingle is the most popular of the asphalt shingle options. Of course, you’ll pay more for these than the 3-tabs. But for many people, the advantages are worth the extra cost.

Luxury Asphalt Shingles

Top of the line asphalt shingles come in the form of luxury asphalt shingles. These shingles are designed to replicate the appearance of slate or cedar shakes.

Though more expensive than the other asphalt options, they are much more affordable than actual slate or cedar. This is what gives them their appeal.

Because of their structure, these shingles can be nearly twice as heavy as regular 3-tab shingles. This means that some homes may need extra structure to be able to support the weight of this roof.

The upside is that you don’t have to worry about these shingles blowing off in the next big storm. They’re also a great choice if you live in an area prone to hail as they hold up well to the abuse.

Clay Tile Shingles

If you want a roof that will last a long time, clay tile is a great choice. You can expect a well-built and correctly installed tile roof to last for 80 years or more.

Roofing companies are so confident in these roofs that you can find warranties for 75 years on a clay tile roof. If you never want to replace your roof again, this is a great choice.

The natural material is also excellent for energy efficiency. For this reason, you see them more commonly in the Southwestern portion of the US.

The most common image that comes to mind for most people is the wavy Spanish tile style. The basic tiles are the typical red-brown. However, clay tiles are extremely versatile and you can get them in a variety of styles and colors to suit your taste.

Slate Shingles

Slate tile shingles became popular in the Northeastern United States back in the 1800’s. Several large deposits of slate were found in the area, sparking its popularity.

Each deposit of slate comes in a different color. Plus, you can mix and match slate from different deposits to create a wide variety of beautiful, 100% natural styles.

Slate is desirable for several reasons. The material itself is very eco-friendly. Plus, like clay tiles, it is extremely energy efficient. As you can imagine from a roof made of rock, it is fireproof. You don’t have to worry about any stray fireworks landing on your roof and catching it on fire at the 4th of July.

Slate is also extremely durable. Some of the oldest buildings in the US still boast their original slate roofs.

Of course, for all its benefits you’ll pay a pretty penny. But you can rest easy knowing you’ll never have to buy another roof again. (Unless you move, of course).

Wood Shingles

For a particularly sophisticated-looking roof, you can opt for wood shingles. This handsome option is also for the homeowner who is not on a budget as it is an expensive option. But the aesthetic that wood shingles add to a home makes the price well worth it for many homeowners.

But looks aren’t the only reason that wood shingles are a great roofing option. Depending on the type of wood you choose, they can last for a long time. For example, good quality cedar or redwood shingles can last from 30 to 50 years.

The higher upfront cost can pay off in the long run if you plan to live in the house for more than 20 years. However, even if you plan to sell your home wood shingles can give you an advantage. They’re more desirable for their beauty and durability and thus can help fetch a higher sale price for your home.

Wood Shakes

Wood shakes are very similar to wood shingles. The benefits and advantages are basically the same. Some people even use the terms interchangeably.

However, they’re not exactly the same thing.

The difference between shakes and shingles is how they’re made. Shingles are typically sawn on both sides. This creates a smooth, tapered shape that gives a sleek look to the shingles.

Wood shakes, on the other hand, are split rather than sawn. This gives the shakes a rougher texture which makes for a great, rustic appearance. Another way you can tell the difference is that shakes are thicker than shingles.

Metal Shingles

When you think of a metal roof, the first thing that probably comes to mind is a flat panel or corrugated seam roof. You probably don’t think about metal as being shingles.

However, now there are some fantastic options for metal shingles. You can choose from a variety of colors and textures. You can get metal shingles that simulate wood shakes or shingles or even terracotta tiles.

What’s the advantage?

Metal shingles are strong and durable. This is important when you live in an area that is prone to hail. Plus, they won’t blow off during a windstorm. Another advantage is that they are energy efficient and fireproof.

But the main advantage that metal has is the price. Clay and slate offer some of the same benefits, but you have to be willing to pay for it. Metal is a great option for simulating these materials. Of course, it won’t be quite the same but the savings can definitely be worth it.

The Best Types of Roof Shingles

Ultimately, there isn’t one catch-all option that is the best roofing material. Your climate, the style of your home, and your budget have a lot to do with what make the best types of roof shingles for your home. Hopefully, this guide has helped you decide which option would be best for you.

Do you have more questions about roofing styles? Or perhaps you’re ready to start getting quotes. Either way, feel free to contact us today. Our experts can answer all your questions and help you pick out the perfect type of roof shingles for your home.