You’ve probably heard how important a strong foundation is to the health of your home. But did you know that your roof is equally important to its long-term well-being? This is why it’s important to consider which roofing materials or brands are best for your roof.
Your roof provides many vital protections to your home, including:
- Keeping away pests and debris
- Preventing moisture from getting into your home
- Blocking mold and mildew growth
If you want your roof to look attractive while it protects your home, you can’t go wrong with a classic roof shingle. Keep reading for a comparison of the four most common types of roof shingles used on residential properties today.
1. Asphalt Shingles
Asphalt shingles are an American favorite, with about three-quarters of residential properties utilizing some form of asphalt shingle covering. They come in three different varieties, each with its own cost, durability, and lifespan.
- 3-tab shingles: Three-tab roof shingles get their name from their design; they’re built with three tabs that make each piece of material look like three shingles in one. These shingles have a flat, uniform look. They’re the cheapest kind of asphalt shingle, but their thinness means that they don’t hold up well against high winds, hail, and debris impact. You can expect your 3-tab shingles to last about 15 years.
- Architectural/composition shingles: Architectural shingles are like 3-tab shingles with a few extra layers of material. This gives them extra durability and weight and makes them have a more dimensional appearance than 3-tab shingles. They’re more expensive than 3-tab shingles, but they also last longer; the average lifespan of architectural shingles is 20–30 years.
- Luxury shingles: The most expensive asphalt shingles on this list, luxury asphalt shingles were designed to mimic the look of cedar shakes and slate tiles without the cost of those natural materials. They’re very hardy, and under ideal conditions, they can last up to 40 years.
All kinds of asphalt roofing shingles come in a variety of colors, so you’re sure to find an option that fits your aesthetic sensibilities.
✅Pros: Most popular roofing material; easily installed by most contractors; versatile in style and color.
❌Cons: Not very environmentally friendly; doesn’t hold up against severe weather as well as some of the other materials on this list.
2. Metal Shingles
When it first came on the market, metal roofing got an extremely bad rap. Homeowners vilified this roofing material, saying it was ugly, prone to rust, and extremely noisy during rain and hailstorms.
We’re glad to say that metal roofing’s reputation has improved greatly since those days, and metal roofing shingles are now a great choice for protecting your home from the elements without adding too much noise indoors.
Metal roof shingles are usually produced in sheets that are bent and styled to look like other roofing materials (cedar shakes, clay or slate tiles, or others). This makes them easy to manufacture and install, and they function the same way as any other standing seam metal roofing system.
Metal roofs can be made from a variety of materials:
- Aluminum (can be either new or recycled materials)
- Stainless steel
- Galvanized steel
Depending on the type of metal you use, you can expect this kind of roof to last 50–100+ years. Once installed, most metal roofing materials require minimal maintenance, although you will need to keep an eye out for dents, tears, and loose fasteners.
✅Pros: Eco-friendly material; easier to recycle than asphalt shingles; lasts decades, if not centuries; durable against severe weather.
❌Cons: Susceptible to corrosion in coastal areas; some types of metals are quite expensive; fasteners will likely need to be replaced before the metal panels themselves.
3. Clay Tiles
Another eco-friendly roofing option, clay tiles hold old-world appeal with all the longevity you expect from a modern roof. While the individual tiles can be brittle, they stand up well against wind, rain, fire, and hail once installed. If you’re switching from another roof type to clay tiles, you’ll need to check that your roof can hold the weight; if not, you’ll need to reinforce it before you proceed with your roofing project.
While they tend to come in only a single color (that terra-cotta reddish-brown we all know and love), clay tiles come in a variety of styles:
When maintained properly, clay tile roofing lasts 75–100 years. Expect to pay about four times the amount you would for a similarly sized roof made of asphalt shingles.
✅Pros: Incredibly hardy once installed; suitable for use in basically any climate zone; lasts a lifetime.
❌Cons: Requires specialty knowledge to install; prone to breakage during installation; heavy; has specific underlayment requirements if installed in a snow-prone climate.
4. Slate Tiles
Slate tile roofing has been used to protect structures for literally thousands of years. It’s made from compressed rock that is mined and cut into shape. It’s easily the most durable roofing material on this list, and you can anticipate that your slate roof will last 50–150 years.
Slate is also the heaviest material on this list, so it will take your contractor a while to install. Where other types of roofing might be installed in a day or two, expect a slate roof installation to last a week or longer. You’ll also need to verify that your home can hold the weight of this roof and that you have a steep enough roof slope for the material to work.
✅Pros: Can be your forever roof; resistant to pests and all kinds of weather; comes in beautiful, natural colors.
❌Cons: Very heavy and expensive; can be dangerous to walk on when wet; requires slate specialists to install and repair; won’t come with a manufacturer’s warranty since it’s a natural material.
Types of Roof Shingles: Find Your Perfect Match
Whether you’re drawn to tried-and-true slate tiles or the more economical asphalt shingles, there’s something on this list for everyone. Keep in mind the needs of your budget, your building, and your climate, and you’re sure to make the perfect choice for your home.
A great roof starts with finding a great roofing contractor. Here at Tectum Roofing, we aim to be your go-to contractor for all your roofing needs. Reach out today, and let us help you find the best types of roof shingles for your home!