Get an Estimate

The Different Types of Roof Shingles & What They’re Suited For

If you’re going to get a roof replacement this calendar year, it’s ideal to schedule it between spring and fall.…
Author Image
Jacob Wadding

If you’re going to get a roof replacement this calendar year, it’s ideal to schedule it between spring and fall. And if you plan on getting a shingle roof, you must decide which material and style you want. A lot of factors go into making this decision:

  • Lifespan: How long do you want your roof to last?
  • Climate: What are the needs of your climate region?
  • Affordability: What kinds of financing options are available?
  • Aesthetics: What look do you want for your roof?

Keep reading for a detailed breakdown of the types of roof shingles available for your next roofing project!

1) Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt roofing shingles are one of the most popular roofing materials in the United States. They’re made from a fiberglass mat covered in asphalt and shingle granules that provide UV protection and waterproofing power.

A standard asphalt shingle roof will be quite easy for almost any roofing contractor to install. Many contractors even hold certifications provided by the shingle manufacturing companies to confirm the quality of their workmanship. Plus, working with a contractor with one of these certifications will also qualify you for warranty coverage if something goes amiss during manufacturing or installation.

3-Tab Shingles

3-tab shingles, or strip shingles, are uniform in appearance and lay flat along your roof. Each piece of material has three tabs that make it look like three shingles in one.

These are the most affordable roofing materials on this entire list, but the upfront cost savings do have a tradeoff. 3-tab shingles usually only last around 15-20 years before they need to be replaced. They also don’t hold up well against extreme weather events.

Architectural Shingles

You might hear architectural shingles referred to as dimensional shingles or composite shingles. These shingles are made from several layers of material, and when they’re laid on your roof, they seem to have a dimensional appearance (hence their name). They were initially created to mimic the look of cedar shakes and slate tiles.

The increased thickness of architectural shingles makes them extra durable to wind, rain, and hail, and you can expect this kind of roof to last 30-50 years.

Luxury Asphalt Shingles

Luxury shingles, or premium shingles, are the highest-weight type of shingle, with the best protection from wind and hail damage of the three. These shingles also most closely mimic the look of wood shakes and slate tiles.

The downside to luxury shingles is that they’re quite heavy, so you need to check that your foundation can bear their weight if you’re switching from 3-tab or architectural shingles.

2) Wood Shingles and Shakes

Wood shingles and shakes have been a consistently popular roofing material over the decades, with their visual appeal and general eco-friendliness. Shakes will give your roof a more textured appearance, while shingles tend to be more consistent in nature. Shakes are almost exclusively made from cedar wood, and shingles can be made from pine, cedar, redwood, oak, cypress, and other wood types.

Since wooden shingles are made from organic materials, you’ll need to consistently monitor your roof for signs of decay:

  • Persistent moisture
  • Debris
  • Plan and algae growth
  • Insect and pest infestations

You’ll also need to treat the wood every few years with a weatherproofing treatment, which will help your shingles last for a few decades before they need to be replaced.

3) Clay, Slate, and Concrete Tiles

Popular in coastal and arid regions of the United States, clay, concrete, and slate roofing go well with homes that are Mediterranean and Spanish-inspired in their architecture.

Many homeowners are drawn to this style of shingle because of how little maintenance they require. Under ideal conditions, they can last more than a century.

The downside to using these materials, though, is that they are all incredibly heavy. If your home wasn’t initially built to support their weight, you’ll need to reinforce your foundation before you can begin your roofing project. Be prepared to put a significant financial investment into this work.

4) Metal Shingles

Metal roofing shingles can be made from a variety of materials, including:

  • Steel and stainless steel
  • Zinc
  • Copper
  • Aluminum

Metal roof shingles are incredibly lightweight, but they’re also impact-resistant. Because of the insulating properties of metal roofing, it’ll also help you save money on your monthly energy bill. Barring extreme weather conditions, you won’t have to worry about replacing your metal roof for at least 50 years.

Some metal roofs can be difficult to install because roofers need specialized knowledge to install these systems properly. It’ll also likely take even an experienced roofing team longer to install metal shingles than some of the other materials on this list.

5) Solar Shingles

A new but exciting development in the world of shingle manufacturing is the emerging industry that is solar shingle production. Installing solar shingles on your home can help you save money on your energy bills, lower your carbon footprint, and increase the overall value of your home. You get all the benefits of solar panels without having to give up yard space or risk the wrath of your homeowners’ association!

Solar shingles are by far the most expensive material on this list, but they may pay for themselves over time through the energy savings you receive. The number of solar shingles you’ll need depends on the direction and angle of your roof, but most people don’t cover their whole roofs with solar shingles. Solar shingle manufacturers have developed their products to visually blend in with most popular roofing materials on the market today.

The best-known brands of solar shingles include:

  • CertainTeed
  • Luma
  • Tesla
  • GAF Energy
  • SunTegra

Federal tax incentives for installing home-based solar systems are still in effect, so there’s never been a better time to consider going solar!

Types of Roof Shingles: Let Us Help You Choose!

As you can see, there’s no one-size-fits-all option when it comes to the types of roof shingles available to purchase. Each material has its own costs and benefits, so it’s up to you to make the right choice for your home.

Here at ARCH Exteriors, we want to help you make that choice. Our expert team is ready to help you assess your needs, talk through your options, and get a top-quality roof for your home. Reach out today to learn more!

About the Author
Your home is probably the most expensive thing you own. When you hire somebody to make improvements, you want high-quality work. In addition, you hope they’ll take the same care you would. You want someone with a good reputation, legitimate credentials, well established, using quality materials, and who charges a fair price. For over 11 years, I have worked hard to provide all of those benefits to my clients. One of the major reasons we have been able to do that is our ability to keep highly qualified personnel. Our workers are well trained, properly motivated, and managed professionally. I make certain that I convey measurable systems and procedures that our team understands and can readily follow.

Quit Wasting time and money with
terrible home contractors

Here at ARCH, You Work With The Best