When you go to a restaurant, it’s often easier to choose what you want to order if the menu is smaller. If there’s a huge menu, it can be harder to narrow down what you want. The same idea can be applied to roofing.
That’s right; if there were only one or two options of roofing materials to choose from, your job as a homeowner would be pretty easy! But, as the roofing industry has grown over the years, more and more materials are available.
Since it can be difficult to choose what’s best for your home when you have a lot of options, we’ve outlined the pros and cons of 7 different shingle types.
1) 3-Tab Shingles
3-tab asphalt shingles (sometimes known as strip shingles) are the most commonly used type of roof shingles. They are made from a single layer of asphalt and have a very flat appearance. Since they consist of one layer of asphalt, they are lightweight and cost less than other asphalt shingles.
3-tab shingles are produced in high quantities due to the demand. You probably won’t find a cheaper roofing material that still has a decent lifespan. 3-tab asphalt shingles typically last 15-20 years, which is doable for most homeowners.
Numerous manufacturers produce 3-tab asphalt shingles. You can find a guide to the best brands here.
- Frequently manufactured
- Easy to install
- Don’t last as long as other materials
- Limited aesthetic options
- Potential to blow off in strong winds easier than other shingle types
2) Architectural Shingles
Architectural shingles are a roofing material of many names. You may also see this shingle type named “laminated shingles,” “dimensional shingles,” or any combination like “laminated architectural shingles.”
Architectural shingles are a durable, aesthetics-forward material with at least two layers that create a multi-dimensional appearance. The dimensional colors often boost curb appeal and offer a stunning focal point.
Laminated shingles are right up there with 3-tab shingles in popularity, and many reports indicate that dimensional asphalt shingles are actually the most commonly used roofing material in the country.
Architectural shingles can last up to 25-28 years with proper maintenance and care.
- Eye-catching aesthetics
- Longer durability
- Can be designed to replicate natural slate
- More expensive than 3-tab shingles
- Heavier than 3-tab shingles, so add extra weight to your home
3) Luxury Shingles
The last type of asphalt shingles is called luxury, or premium, shingles. These are the highest quality asphalt shingles available. Essentially, luxury shingles are laminated shingles taken up an extra notch.
They have a striking appearance with multi-dimensional colors, but they’re also heavier and more durable. While the weight (double that of 3-tab shingles) may add extra pressure to your home’s structure, most well-built homes don’t need to worry about that. That extra weight provides additional strength against impact from storms.
- Striking appearance
- Durable (last up to 30+ years)
- Great protection from hail, wind, and other storms
- Twice the price of 3-tab shingles
- Heaviest asphalt shingle (but this can also be a pro!)
4) Metal Shingles
Metal roofing is quickly growing in popularity because it’s no longer the noisy and easily-dented tin roofing of the past. Modern metal roofing is durable and stylish at a price that doesn’t break the bank. (Although the price is higher than most asphalt shingles.)
While standing seam metal panels are the most common type of metal roofing, you can also get metal shingles.
Let’s take a look at two common types of metal shingles: aluminum and copper.
- Aluminum shingles are lightweight, easy to install, and very durable.
- Copper shingles are one of the most durable and stylish materials on the market. You’ll get an incredibly unique look with copper, and it will raise your overall home value.
- Very durable (lasting 40-70+ years)
- Attractive aesthetics
- Naturally resistant to mold and algae growth
- Much more expensive than 3-tab shingles
- Can be noisier
5) Wood Shingles (Cedar Shakes)
Wood shingles and cedar shakes are incredibly similar. The only difference comes down to style: wood shingles are uniform shapes, while cedar shakes are hand split, resulting in a more rustic appearance.
Even though wood shingles offer a unique appearance that many homeowners love, they require a lot of maintenance. Wood shakes are susceptible to rot and mold if regular maintenance gets ignored.
Cedar shakes are usually more expensive than wood shingles, and both come at a higher price point than asphalt shingles. They typically last 30 years on average.
- Unique rustic appearance
- Decent longevity (30 years)
- Require frequent maintenance
- Never advised for wildfire-prone areas
- Susceptible to rot and mold
- More expensive than most asphalt shingles
6) Composite Shingles
Composite shingles are a popular option for homeowners who want the look and feel of natural slate tiles without the hefty price. Composite shingles are a variant of asphalt shingles— they’re manufactured from a blend of materials, such as:
- Recycled paper
- Rubber tires
- Wood shavings
Since they’re made from recycled materials, they are one of the more eco-friendly roofing materials. Additionally, composite roofing shingles have a pretty impressive lifespan— often lasting up to 50 years.
They also hold up impressively well to the elements. Composite shingles rarely split, warp, or crack when exposed to the elements.
- Very durable (lasting up to 50 years)
- Come in a variety of colors, shapes, and designs
- Not easily damaged
- Twice the price of standard 3-tab shingles
- Don’t last as long as the natural materials they imitate (like slate)
7) Solar Shingles
Solar energy is growing in popularity as more and more households want to turn to renewable energy sources and away from producing greenhouse gases. Solar panels are the traditional way to incorporate solar energy into residential homes. However, solar shingles are also an option if you want a more modern style that blends into your existing roofing shingles.
Solar shingles look like a standard roofing material but function just like solar panels to help lower your energy bills. Keep in mind that solar shingles have a black/blue appearance, so you may find that adding them to a gray or tan roof can be distracting. However, they blend in pretty seamlessly with black shingle roofs.
Solar energy has numerous advantages— you may even be eligible for tax rebates through the federal government or local energy companies. One of the biggest downsides is simply the installation cost. Even though you’ll eventually recoup your investment in solar, the upfront cost is quite high. Plus, it can be difficult to find qualified roofing teams that can install solar shingles.
- Sleek appearance
- Easily integrated with asphalt roofing shingles
- Reduce energy costs in the long run
- Help lessen the dependence on non-renewable energy
- Weather-resistant and durable
- Not every solar manufacturer offers shingles
- Not all existing roofs are conducive to solar energy
- Expensive installation
- Limited in styles and colors
Need Help Narrowing Down the Best Shingle for Your Roof?
It can be difficult to narrow down the best shingle type for your roof. From asphalt roofing shingles to metal, wood, composite, and solar, there is no shortage of options for homeowners.
At the end of the day, the best material on the market means nothing without a proper installation. Choosing a reputable and skilled roofing contractor is just as important as choosing a dependable material.
If you need help finding a trustworthy roofing contractor in your area, check out Directorii. Every contractor in this resource has met thorough requirements and expectations, and they’re even backed by a $20,000 guarantee! One of the reputable roofers in the Directorii will be able to help you find the perfect shingle type for your home.