Dive into Different Types of Roof Shingles: A Detailed Overview

Having a roof over your head is, both metaphorically and literally, a must. While these are complex structures that sit on top of your house, everyone focuses on their outer, or top, layer. We are, of course, talking about the roof shingles.

There are several types of roof shingles on the market, which are distinguished by their form or material. Some of the best roof shingles include asphalt shingles, alongside metal and slate ones.

But, instead of only focusing on the best ones, we decided to cover all the major roof shingle types. So, today, we’ll take an in-depth look at some of the best roofing tiles, as well as what they’re made of. This way, you can make a more informed purchase decision when you want to replace your roof.

Different Types of Roof Shingles

What Are Roof Shingles

Before we dive deeper into the world of shingles, let’s see what they actually are.

Roof shingles are the most common roof type, with asphalt shingles being the most widely used ones. They are flat materials that are layered and nailed on top of the entirety of the roof’s decking.

You’ll only find roofing tiles on pitched roofs, as tar and single-ply membranes are the most common materials used on flat roofs.

What Are Roof Shingles Made Of

Roof shingles are commonly made of asphalt composites, but there are tons of other materials used when manufacturing these. Some of the most prevalent ones, which we’ll also cover below, include:

  • Aluminum
  • Plastic
  • Concrete
  • Slate
  • Clay

All The Types of Roof Shingles

Now that you have some foundational knowledge regarding shingles let us introduce you to some of the most popular ones.

Asphalt Shingles

We’ve already praised these types of roof shingles a lot, but there’s a reason why they’re the most widely used ones. Asphalt shingles can come in a standard 3-tab, as well as the more expensive architectural and luxury ones. Their main selling point is their price, as they are amongst the most inexpensive options at face value.

That does come with a caveat, though. Besides being harmful to the environment and not being the most weather-resistant roofing material, they also require regular maintenance. Plus, their lifetime is about 15-30 years, the least of all other roof shingle types.

Metal Shingles

We love working with metal roofs, hence why we’ve placed metal shingles this high. They come with several benefits; for starters, they have incredible value, as they can last up to 70 years while costing less than similarly durable materials. Also, they come in reflective, colorful designs that will somewhat cut down your electricity bill in the hot SoCal summers.

But, like all other tiles, they come with a couple of drawbacks. The most significant one is the sound amplification, especially during heavy rain or hailstorms. Plus, any repairs needed are quite complex, leading to an increased cost.

Clay Tiles

Elegance meets durability with clay tiles. These are fairly common in the Southwest US, and they look absolutely stunning while also being 100% natural. Their natural composition also makes them very durable, as they aren’t prone to rot and insects, and they’re fire-resistant. That’s part of the reason why these have an extremely long lifespan, at around 50-100 years!

All these features come at a pretty steep cost, though. But, the major setback of clay tiles is their weight, as they can’t be installed on every roof.

Concrete Tiles

Concrete tiles were primarily used in commercial roofing, but they’ve slowly crept into the residential market. That’s happened because of their beautiful appearance, which can resemble much more costly materials at lower prices. On top of that, these have a lifespan of up to 40 years but require very little maintenance.

However, like clay shingles, you’ll need to get ahold of an experienced roofing contractor to get them installed. And they’re quite heavy, so you’ll have to get your house inspected and potentially add more support.

Copper Shingles

An equally attractive roof shingle type to concrete and clay is copper. The natural patina that builds up with these is a hit or miss, but we personally love its look. Additionally, the minimal maintenance required and 70-year (or more) lifetime are pretty neat.

That said, copper tiles are very expensive, and despite lasting for very long, their value isn’t the best. On top of that, you won’t have many color options, as they only come in the natural copper color (excluding the patina that builds up).

Composite Shingles

If you want a roof that looks as good as slate or clay but don’t want to pay the premium that comes with those, look no further than composite (or synthetic) shingles. These are great in terms of durability, as they’re impact and rot-resistant, as well as quite lightweight.

Despite lasting for up to 50 years, they aren’t the most environmentally friendly option. And finding a contractor that’s familiar with their installation is difficult, depending on your area.

Slate Tiles

If you need a roof that’s going to last for generations, slate ones are your best bet. Durability and weather resistance are immaculate with these, and they are great for your house’s curb appeal.

Even though these require minimal maintenance, the initial installation is pretty expensive. Plus, they’re among the heaviest roofing materials, which will require an extra cost for roof trusses.

Solar Shingles

Consider getting a solar roof if environmental friendliness is a priority. These are fairly new, and they act like solar panels while also keeping your house protected from the elements and arguably being much more visually appealing.

Being this new comes with its caveats. They don’t have a set lifespan, and some areas don’t allow for their installation. On top of that, as technology advances, these will eventually become obsolete, which can lead to a big loss in your initial investment.

What Are The Best Roofing Shingles

Finding the best roofing shingles is very subjective. You might love the look of slate tiles, but that doesn’t mean that you can have them installed.

In general, asphalt shingles are the go-to option for most new homeowners. These are closely followed by metal roofs, as they’ve had enough time on the market to be considered a great investment.

Choose Your Roofing Shingles, the Wise Way

Regardless of what type of roofing shingles you end up selecting, you’ll need a reputable roofing contractor to install them and keep them in great shape over the decades. If you’re in Southern California, look no further than us!

At Roofing Wise, we’ve helped new homeowners choose the best roofing shingles for their houses for decades. Contact us now at (833) 315-7663 for a free estimate!

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