When the time comes to replace the roof on your home, you’ll need to make some key decisions about the type of roofing shingles to use.
Your roofing contractor can offer insight into your options and make recommendations about what may work best for you.
Nevertheless, it’s worth having insight into all of your options before you get started.
What Types of Roofing Materials Are Available?
Take a look at as many types of roofing materials as possible to ensure you have the right options for your home.
You’ll want to consider your budget, but also things like the aesthetics of the roofing material, the availability of it in your area, and the overall installation process.
Also, think about the durability of the product, including any type of long-term warranty provided.
You may also need to think about local building costs and homeowner’s associations that may limit the types of materials you use.
Traditional Asphalt Shingles
Most homes in the U.S. have asphalt shingles.
Though they are not the most energy-efficient option, they are attractive, cost-effective, and easier to install than many other types of products.
You will find a variety of asphalt shingles to choose from, including those that are more durable than others.
There are numerous benefits to asphalt shingles, including:
Some offer a 20 or 30-year warranty, providing a long-term solution for most moderate climates.
Some offer fire protection, minimizing the risk of the roof catching on fire. They cost less than most other products. That’s due to the material itself but also due to the lower labor costs for installation.
Some are more durable than others – high impact shingles can help to provide more protection from hail and falling objects.
Some are stylish, including the 3-tab shingle style.
Others have architectural features built into their design.
There are a few drawbacks, too, including that mold and algae tend to like to grow on these surfaces.
Cheap products have a much shorter lifespan, often lasting just 10 years. They may not be energy efficient enough.
Here are three types of them:
Fiberglass-related Shingles: The most common option, fiberglass shingles, are those that have a fiberglass mat within them. Then, they are covered in asphalt and granules to add texture and coloring. These are lightweight and easy to install. They are resistant to most tearing and damage.
Organic Asphalt Shingles: This type of shingle is made with recycled paper that’s then covered in asphalt and granules. These are heavier and more difficult to install. They do dry out, which can make them less durable and long lasting.
Wood Shingles and Shakes: Wood shingles are an elevated option that adds architectural style to the structure. These are designed to be wood shingles that are machined to create clean lines and a smooth surface. Shakes, a second type, are hand-cut and tend to be thicker.
There are numerous benefits to wood shakes and shingles, such as:
These shingles tend to offer more aesthetics than other products. They look like natural wood, adding to the look of the home.
Some are Class A fire rated, which means they are some of the most fire-resistant products available for your roof.
Many come from salvaged trees rather than trees that are cut down, making them environmentally friendly.
Most are made from cedar or redwood. These types have natural oils that help to make them less at risk for deterioration from pests or moisture.
Most help with insulation to the home, though some are better than others here.
There are some drawbacks to wood shingles and shakes.
The first is cost.
They tend to be more expensive than others, especially hand-cut shakes.
Additionally, choosing the right type is critical.
If you choose untreated wood shakes or shingles, or those with a lower fire classification, you may save money, but you are reducing the level of protection they offer to your home.
The installation is more complex, requiring a professional with more experience to install them. Also, the best products last for about 10 years.
Roof tiles have been modernized over the years to include far more color and sizing options.
This is a type of roof that has been used for centuries with good success.
Most are made of traditional clay tiles, though you will also find concrete tiles available as well.
Concrete tends to be a lighter weight option (depending on what you choose).
Another option is fiber-cement tiles.
These are made of a blend of clay and wood with concrete.
They are stronger but still lightweight enough for easier applications.
Most roof tiles must have a waterproof coating applied to them.
There are some key benefits to using roof tiles:
They are aesthetically appealing, especially in some areas where this is the traditional style of tiling.
Properly installed and selected, some fiber cement varieties can last over 50 years.
They can add value to a home because of their look and ease of caring for them.
They resist fires and do not suffer from pest damage, making them easy to manage.
There are many styles and textures to choose from, including numerous colors to fit most desired looks.
There are some drawbacks to using roof tiles.
For example, they need to be properly installed.
This often starts with a stronger framing support system because these tiles are heavier than most others.
They are more expensive overall than asphalt or wood shingles.
They can break, requiring repair from a professional.
Though less common in the U.S., slate roofing shingles are another option to consider, especially if you want a long-lasting roof.
Two types exist – vinyl slate tiles and composite slate tiles.
These products are available in numerous sizes, colors, and shapes, giving property owners ample options to choose from overall.
However, it is important to look at the specific product to ensure it fits your needs.
For example, natural slate tiles are more durable but are heavier.
The benefits of slate shingles include:
A higher-end, more luxurious look is possible.
They are easy to maintain with no routine work necessary in most cases.
Synthetic slate shingles are lightweight and strong, which can make them easier to install than others.
It is often called a lifetime roof, with some products lasting up to 60 years.
There are some drawbacks to slate roofing tiles, such as a higher cost.
As noted, heavier models will require more structured framing.
Proper installation is critical. If mistakes are made during installation, this can reduce the lifespan of the roof.
Metal roofing is another option for many properties.
Contrary to what many think, this type of roofing does not go up in one large sheet, but in several pieces.
New products are very attractive and offer a variety of colors and textures to them.
Some key benefits to metal roofing shingles include:
New styles are available that make the metal look like slate, tile, traditional shingles, and much more.
Many metal roofs will last 50 to 100 years, though their warranties tend to last about half that time.
Most are fire-resistant, depending on the type selected.
They work well to radiate solar heat away from the building, helping to minimize energy costs.
They are 100 percent recyclable after they are no longer in use.
Cost-wise, they tend to be middle of the road, depending on the type of metal used.
Metal roofs have some disadvantages, including some styles that are more expensive.
They need to be installed properly, generally over a substrate that will help to shield the roof’s noise when it rains.
You also need to consider their durability.
Heavy objects, such as tree branches, can do significant damage to them.
Which roofing type is best for your needs?
It’s worth taking a look at all of these options, examining which offers the best combination of features for you, and which fits your budget.