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23 Different Types of Roofing Shingles (2023): Pros, Cons and Costs of Each Type

A collage of roofing shingles.

Table of Contents Show

Quicklist: Roofing Shingles

  1. Three-Tab Asphalt
  2. Arhcitectural
  3. Hip and Ridge
  4. Metal Standing Seam
  5. Metal Shake
  6. Sheet Metal
  7. Wood
  8. Ceramic Tile
  9. Metal Tile
  10. Concrete Tile
  11. Bituminous Tile
  12. Polymer-Sand Tile
  13. Copper Tile
  14. Composite Tile
  15. Slate
  16. Rubber
  17. Laminate
  18. Copper Sheet
  19. Living (Green Roof)
  20. Solar Shingles
  21. Impact-Resistant Shingles
  22. Cool Roofing Shingles
  23. PVC Shingles

This might boggle your mind. 30 years ago you chose between asphalt, wood or clay (ceramic) tile roofing shingles. Most people opted for asphalt. From there it was choose a color scheme.

These days, it isn’t so easy. There are many different types of roofing shingles.

With this article, we set out what’s available and in most cases include a photo or two so you can get an idea of what each option looks like.

There are many types of roof styles, and there are just as many, if not more, types of roof shingles, which are made up of a material consisting of individual overlapping components, typically flat or wavy and rectangular in shape. The individual components are laid in sequences often from the lower end of the roof up. Each continuous sequence generally overlaps the joints below them.

This article discusses the different types of shingles, as well as metal roofing and how it compares to shingles. We also provide plenty of photographs from our research to give you an idea as to how the different roofing options look.

Related: Types of Roof Leaks | DIY Roof Repair Options | Hip Roof Photos | Types of Roof Vents| Hip Roof Types | Parts of a Roof | Types of Roofs | Parts of a Roof Truss | Types of Roof Trusses

Roof Shingle Lifespan Chart

Roofing materials lifespan chart aug14

Different Types of Shingles for Residential Roofing

There are different types of roof shingles available for use in roofing and it’s important to consider the pros and cons of each type to guide your selection.

1. Asphalt Shingle

Asphalt shingle roof lifespan graphic and info

Three asphalt shingle styles:

a. 3-Tab

Source: Home Depot

b. Architectural Shingle

Source: Home Depot

c. Hip and Ridge

Source: Home Depot

Asphalt shingles are the most popular choice for residential roofing material. They combine versatility in design, low-cost pricing and ease of installation making them a go-to roofing option for many.

Pros and cons of asphalt shingles


  • As the most common and popular roofing option, it is fairly easy to find a roofer who can make repairs.
  • They are very easy to install and remove, decreasing the amount of time that you will have people working on your roof.
  • They can be installed on top of themselves in some circumstances, further speeding up the process of roof installation.
  • Will help to deflect UV rays, cooling your home and protecting the roof from damage.


  • Only last for about 20 years, depending on weather, before they will need to be replaced.
  • Bad hail or high winds can easily damage the granules and shingles, resulting in the need for repair.
  • Any impact from trees, heavy limbs or large hail can break the shingles and this can easily cause a leak.

Asphalt shingles are fairly inexpensive. They cost between $80 and $100 per square foot, and a professional installation fee of $1,700 – $8,400. When coated, these architectural roofing shingles meet the standards for a cool roof as set out by the Energy Star, and this can earn you a rebate. They however need to be used in fairly temperate climates that do not experience very extreme weather changes. Compared to the more premium roofing materials like cedar shakes, metal, slate and clay tiles, asphalt shingles tend to be less durable with a relatively short life span of 20 to 30 years.

There are different types of asphalt roof shingles: three-tab shingles, fiberglass and organic shingles. On average, three-tab asphalt shingles cost between $2,300 – $5,300 to install, which is fairly inexpensive. They have cutouts that run along their bottom edge and gives one shingle the look of three different shingles when they are installed.

Fiberglass asphalt shingles cost slightly more than three-tab asphalt shingles to install, at $3,800 – $8,000. They are made from a base mat of fiberglass and are layered with some waterproof coating. Fiberglass shingles are fire-resistant, resistant to UV rays, lightweight and durable, with a longer warranty compared to other forms of asphalt shingles.

Organic asphalt shingles on the other hand are made from wood chips, felt, recycled cardboard or paper soaked in asphalt. The asphalt-soaked organic material is coated with an additional thick layer of asphalt, followed by another layer of ceramic granules, making them waterproof.

Though they are not as long lasting as fiberglass, organic asphalt shingles are inexpensive and preferred by many builders for their aesthetic features.

2. Metal Roofing Shingles

Metal roofing lifespan chart graphic

Because metal roofs actually come in shingles now, we include the three main types of metal roofs in our grand total of 15 types of roofing shingles.

Metals are quite a strong and enduring roofing option. They are often the better option for rooflines that are flat or steep. They can also be quite affordable depending on the type of metal used.

Average costs of roofing metals range from $100 to $1,000 depending on the metal type. Installation fees will equally depend on the roofing design and cost anywhere between $2,000 and $15,000.

Pros and cons of metal roofing


  • The roofs are very durable and are built to withstand the hot sun, damaging winds and even hail storms. Unless a large branch or tree is able to stab into the roof, they are almost impossible to damage.
  • The roofs will last for about 50 years before they need to be replaced.
  • The seams are all raised above the roof, making this a strong option that is not prone to leaking.


  • It can be difficult to find a roofer that is able to install a metal roof as many aren’t comfortable with the work.
  • They cost more than asphalt roofs, making them difficult for some homeowners to afford.
  • It’s impossible to layer a metal roof on top of any other roof style so all previous materials will need to be completely removed. This increases the cost of installation.
  • Your roof has to have a certain rise to be able to support a metal roof.

Metal roofing can last up to 50 or more years if well taken care of. Though infrequent, metal roofs will also require repairs in case of loose nails, rust patches, leaks or holes, and curled-up seams and/or edges.

Different types of roof shingles may offer different value for your home. However, depending on your location, some shingles types may be more suitable than others. Be sure to consult with your roofing contractor to determine which type will work best for your roofing design and home in general.

3 Main Types of Metal Roofs

The big decision you must make when installing a metal roof is what type of metal roof you will get. There are three main types:

  1. Standing Seam Panels:  This is the best type, but also most expensive. The reason this is best is because there are no exposed fasteners on the roof. Fasteners are the weak spots and when a metal roof goes, it’s because of rusting or weakness in and around the fasteners. Here’s a diagram illustrating several types of standing seam roofs:Diagram showing the different metal roof seam options
  2. Metal roofs in traditional shake, shingle, tile and slate design:  These days, you can get metal roofs to mimic the look of shakes, shingles, tile and slate shingles (called metal shake systems). While that’s pretty cool, the standing seam is still the best option.
  3. Sheet roofing:  Less expensive option that can come painted or not painted. The various panel types of sheet roofing include:
    1. CF Panel
    2. AP Panel
    3. U-Panel
    4. R-Panel
    5. Corrugated (less expensive variety used on barns and sheds, not the type you’d get for your home)

Read this excellent article that explains the differences of these types of metal roofs with diagrams.

Metal Roof Materials

Since metal roofs are growing in popularity, there are several types of materials used for metal roofs. They include:

  • Steel
  • Stainless Steel
  • Aluminum
  • Copper
  • Zinc Alloys

Metal Roof Styles

These days, you can order a metal roof style to match any architectural style of home.

See the pros and cons below under “what is the best type of roof for a house?”

3. Wood Shingles

Wood shake roof lifespan graphic

Most homeowners find wood shingles more appealing than the other types of shingles because they tend to look and feel natural. They are made from suitable hardwoods and cost more than asphalt. Their prices range between $400 and $700 per square foot installed.

Pros and cons of wood shingles


  • Wood shingles are very easy to install and to repair, making it so any work that you have to have done on your roof won’t be terribly expensive.
  • These roofs tend to last for a very long time with the right maintenance. It’s not unheard of for them to last up to 60 years before homeowners have to have them replaced.
  • Once your roof needs to be replaced, the old shingles or shakes can be recycled into mulch or will simply rot down.


  • To ensure that your roof lasts for as long as possible, you will have to spend a fair amount of time and money maintaining it.
  • Part of maintaining your roof involves regular moss removal to keep the growth from damaging the wood and having your roof resealed every decade.
  • If you need to have new shingles installed to repair an area of your roof, they will probably not match the rest of the shingles or shakes.
  • Unfortunately, wood roofs are flammable even if they have been treated with chemicals to make them fire-resistant.

A natural wood shingle roof can cost anywhere from $6,800 to $20,000. This roofing option is however prone to fire. But you can get better fire protection by going instead for simulated wood shingles. These are made of recycled plastic or rubber and will cost you slightly higher at $12,600 – $18,900.

In exchange for the additional charge, you can enjoy better value with these shingles lasting a minimum of 30 years and can hit 50 years if well installed.

FYI, one roof style I like that looks great with wood shingles is the classic gambrel roof. However, if getting a new home and you don’t mind not being so authentic, you can incorporate metal tiles to mimic the classic wood look… it won’t be perfect, but you do gain the benefits of a metal roof.

Types of wood used for wood shingles

There are four main types of wood used:

  • California Redwood
  • Western Red Cedar
  • Atlantic White Cedar
  • Pine (mostly in Europe)

However, as you’ll note above in the tile section and below in the metal roof section, you can get wood tile roofs that really look similar to wood shingles. Seriously, watch the composite tile video above; you’ll be amazed how much they can look like real wood shingles.

4. Tile Shingles

Tile roof lifespan graphic and info

These are some of the most expensive shingles with prices ranging from $300 to $700 per suqare foot on average. They are not only costly to buy but to install as well. Tile installation fees fall between $10,000 and $14,000. This price may significantly rise and cost anywhere from $17,000 to $60,000 in case of customization.

Tile shingles are however worth the cost as they are some of the most durable of all shingles and will typically last for up to 80 years or more. They are also fairly easy to replace in case of damage.

So while you’ll feel the burden of installing a tiled roof at the beginning, this roofing material becomes a worthy lifelong investment. You can incur less recurrent costs as there will likely be few repairs needed so you save more in the long run.

While the red ceramic tiles are well known, there are actually seven different types of tile shingles:

a. Ceramic tile

b. Metal Tile

c. Concrete Tile

d. Bituminous Tile

e. Polymer-Sand Tile

This type of roof is sand bound with a polymer.

f. Copper Tile

g. Composite Tile

5. Slate Shingles

Slate roofing lifespan graphic and info

These are shingles made from a certain type of stone naturally pulled from the earth and worked into shingles. Slate shingles are waterproof, fireproof and incredibly durable. They can last for up to 50 years.

Pros and cons of slate shingles


  • When cared for properly, slate roofs will last for a long time. They are so durable that it is not unheard of for them to last up to 150 years.
  • Because they are made of natural stone, the roofs are very attractive. Homeowners love the natural color variations.
  • This is a very environmentally friendly roof. There is no pollution during the manufacturing and they can even be recycled if the homeowner decides they want a different style roof.
  • Slate does a great job at keeping the home a consistent temperature, which will lower monthly heating and cooling bills.


  • Unfortunately, this roof is very expensive to have installed, making it out of reach and budget for some homeowners.
  • Slate roofs are very heavy and most homes are not strong enough to support this weight. Many homes have to be reinforced with a stronger roof deck to be able to have a slate roof installed.
  • While these roofs will usually last for a long time, if a part does break, it can be very hard to find a tile that will fit because the natural stone can vary so much.
  • Not all roofers have experience installing or working on slate tiles, which involves understanding their thickness and how to correctly install them.

These architectural shingles are a popular roofing material in the Northeastern part of the U.S. since the material is quarried there. With their strength, slate shingles experience few leaks even at old age. Roofs covered in slate shingles tend to retain the original shingles throughout their lifetime.

They, however, tend to be costly and less affordable for builders on a budget, with average costs ranging from $200 to $650. A slate shingle roof will cost between $5,000 and $23,000 to install. You can still get the same appearance more affordably by going for synthetic slate shingles.

6. Rubber Roofing Shingles

Rubber roofing lifespan graphic and info

7. Laminate Shingles

Gray roof with architectural shingles.

Also known as laminate shingles or dimensional shingles, this option is often designed to resemble cedar or slate. This means that you can enjoy a different appearance on your roof while still appreciating the durability and reliability of asphalt shingles.

Pros and cons of laminate shingles


  • They bring more interest and texture to a roof, which will increase curb appeal.
  • Due to the layers of shingles, the roof will appear more substantial than one made with a single layer of shingles and these roofs are a great way to hide any imperfections in the boards of the roof.
  • They are less likely to crack and curl due to the heat and time.
  • These shingles will generally last a lot longer than asphalt shingles do and it’s not unheard of for roofs to last up to 30 years.


  • They cost substantially more than asphalt shingles do, and weigh more, so homeowners have to make sure that their houses can support the extra weight.
  • While they can stand up to the sun better than asphalt shingles, they are still impacted by hail and other weather elements in the same way.

8. Copper Shingles

Copper roof with detailed structure.

This type of roof is often found on historic buildings or on homes that homeowners want to make to look older than they actually are. Because copper can last for hundreds of years, it can be a great option.

Pros and cons of a copper roof


  • This is the longest-lasting roof available on the market. It’s not unheard of for them to last hundreds of years.
  • Copper roofs are extremely light and available in a number of styles, allowing homeowners to customize the look of their homes.
  • This type of roof requires hardly any maintenance and will continue to look amazing.
  • They will patina over time, creating a beautiful finish on your roof, depending on where you live. 


  • Unfortunately, copper roofs are very expensive and are often outside of the budget for the average homeowner.
  • It can be difficult to find large enough quantities of copper to cover extremely large roofs and getting the right roofer that feels comfortable with this material is often just as difficult.
  • Copper roofs do not patina evenly or quickly and can appear streaky and uneven for the first few years that you have it installed on your home, which can actually lower curb appeal in the short term.
  • Because the roofer you hire will likely be a specialist and one of the few in your area that will work with copper, you will probably have to pay a large fee for them to install your new roof.

9. Green Roof Shingles

New house with grass roof

I think a green roof is a great idea especially if you live in a place where the climate fosters such a roof (i.e. gets sufficient rain). Here are the pros and cons of a grass roof.

Pros and cons of a grass roof


  • These often include other plants, such as flowers, herbs, and bushes, creating a unique and beautiful roof that will improve the appearance of your property.
  • Grass – or green – roofs help keep the home very comfortable during extreme shifts in the weather. Instead of worrying about your home being cold during the winter and hot during the summer, the roof acts as a natural insulator.
  • Because they offer natural insulation, you will spend less to heat and cool your home during the year.
  • While there is no roof that can completely soundproof your home, grass roofs do the best job at keeping out noise from the environment.
  • This is a great way to have a garden even if you do not have a very large piece of property.
  • Having so many plants right at your home will improve the air quality.


  • Grass roofs take a lot of time and effort to ensure that they continue to look their best. Just as with a regular garden, you have to make sure that you are constantly watering your roof.
  • There’s a fine line between not enough water and too much and you don’t want to cause water damage to your roof by accident.
  • These roofs can be very expensive to install as they need a special foundation, the right soil, and then the plants themselves.

10. Solar Shingles

Solar Shingles on house.

Solar shingles are a relatively new invention, but they have the potential to save you a lot of money. These shingles are actually small solar panels made to look like shingles that attach to the roof.

The shingles act like regular solar panels, absorbing the sun’s rays and converting them into electricity for the house. The power can be used directly or stored in a battery. The shingles themselves are typically at least as durable as asphalt shingles.

Odds are you heard about them when the company Tesla first introduced them to the market several years ago. Since then, there are a number of competing brands that have sprung up, including CertainTeed, Suntegra, Forward, and Luma. A typical solar shingle roof will run between $20,000 and $70,000.

Keep in mind that the high cost of these roofs is directly tied to the quality of the solar power system. Tesla systems tend to be the most expensive, largely due to the Tesla wall batteries that are installed.

Other companies offer solar shingles in a wide variety of colors and styles for much cheaper prices. For now, solar shingles are generally only available in large cities.

11. Impact-Resistant Shingles

Impact-Resistant Shingles on house.

Impact resistant shingles can be an ideal choice for homeowners who are living in an area prone to severe storms. The most popular brands offering these shingles are Certainteed and Owens-Corning.

Impact-resistant shingles are designed to be more durable and resistant to impacts from flying debris. This does not mean that the roof is infallable, but it does mean that it is much less likely to be damaged during a storm event.

Impact-resistant shingles are priced according to their durability. Essentially, more durable shingles will cost more. Most impact-resistant tiles are rated by the wind shear or wind speed that they can withstand.

While these ratings can give you a good idea of what type of storm they can withstand, it’s important to realize that these ratings do not mean that the shingles are guaranteed to withstand storms of this strength.

If you’re considering these shingles, be sure to contact your home owners insurance company. There are often significant discounts offered for houses and businesses that have impact resistant shingles.

This discount can help to offset the cost of these shingles; prices tend to run around twice to three times the cost of a “standard” asphalt shingle roof.

12. Cool Roofing Shingles

Cool Roofing Shingles on house.

COOL Roofing, or solar-reflective shingles, are shingles that are typically a very light color that are designed to reflect sunlight away from a home or business. Depending on the area where they are installed, they can reduce cooling sets by up to 30%.

The best brands of these shingles are usually made with special granules that are designed to reflect light rather than absorb it. Nearly every company that manufacturers asphalt shingles will claim that they make a line of “COOL” products (the acronym refers to a California program that encourages the use of these products).

Be aware, however, that some COOL shingles are simply shingles that are a very light color. Without the granules, these light shingles will only reduce cooling costs by about 15% or less.

Fortunately, these shingles don’t cost much more than regular asphalt shingles, and many of the brands that do not have reflective granules cost the same amount as other asphalt shingles. Because there is no difference in these shingles versus “regular” asphalt shingles, they can be installed by just about any roofing company.

13. PVC Shingles

PVC Shingles on house.

PVC shingles or roofing systems are usually made from recycled plastic. While that is good for the environment, these roofs tend to be a little pricier than asphalt roofs, with costs running around $25,000 to $45,000.

These roofs are very easy to install, making them good choices for big projects. The PVC can come in just about any color, and many people choose lighter colored roofs because it can help to defray cooling costs.

The roofs are durable (many last 30 years or more), but be aware that if the PVC panels crack, the entire panel of shingles has to be replaced.

Roofing Shingles Top Brands

Here are the biggest brands that are consistently ranked by inspectors, homeowners, and contractors as being among the best roofing product brands available.

1. Atlas – Asphalt Shingles

Atlas – Asphalt Shingles.

Atlas has wares that are both high-quality and affordable. In addition to being an industry leader in asphalt shingles, the company also offers excellent warranties.

Atlas is a leading manufacturer of premium roofing and building products. Asphalt shingles come in several styles, including 3-tab, architectural, and luxury options. You can customize the look of your roof by choosing from among five distinct categories of architectural shingles ready in many patterns and colors.

Atlas’s scotch guard treatment, a trademarked procedure, is what sets apart a few of their shingles from the competition.

Atlas has been dedicated to the roofing industry for over 30 years, providing homeowners, contractors, builders, and distributors with superior roofing products, unparalleled assistance, and unwavering dedication.

2. CertainTeed – Fiberglass & More

CertainTeed – Fiberglass & More.

Ceilings, gypsum, inspiration, trim, railing, decking, fence, siding, and roofing are just a few of CertainTeed’s many specialties, but the company also offers a wide variety of other external and interior building goods.

In addition to the three basic varieties of asphalt shingles, they also provide a large selection of both color and style for roofing systems.

CertainTeed has got you covered no matter what style or color you’re going for. You may get the trendy slate effect with the Grand Manor luxury shingle, which comes in eight different hues.

When getting an entire roof system installed with luxury or architectural shingles, you can get CertainTeed’s non-prorated enhanced lifetime guarantee if you select a CertainTeed-certified roofing contractor.

A new era of asphalt shingle production began at General Roofing. The firm reorganized, went public, and became known as Certain-teed Products Corporation in 1917. In 1923, CertainTeed started making gypsum wallboards and entered the gypsum plaster business.

3. Tamko – Asphalt

Tamko – Asphalt.

TAMKO provides 3-tab shingles, architectural shingles, and premium asphalt shingles for residential roofs.
MetalWorks is a series of steel shingles that give a distinct alternative to the standard asphalt shingle options available from the other brands mentioned below.

Slate, tile, and AstonWood Cedar Shake are all part of the StoneCrest brand. The line of StoneCrest steel shingles has the same high-end looks as competing companies, but they’re made of metal rather than asphalt.

When purchasing a complete roof system, you can upgrade the guarantee on the Heritage Vintage, Heritage Premium, and Heritage Woodgate lines of shingles just like you do with the other major shingle manufacturers.

Since its founding in 1944, T.A.M.K.O. has become an instantly recognizable brand name in the construction business.

4. Owens Corning – Asphalt

Roofing Shingles (Gray 3-Tab)

Owens Corning is a leading producer of fiberglass composite products, insulation for buildings of all types, and roofing materials. Asphalt shingles come in a variety of luxury, architectural, and 3-tab style options.

Owens Corning offers luxury shingles that look like slate, but their selection is more limited than CertainTeed’s. Their dimensional shingle lines make up for the fact that they don’t provide luxury shingles.

Whether you’re looking for a traditional or contemporary style, Owen Corning has you covered with its five distinct lines of architectural asphalt shingles. In 1935, Corning Glass Works and Owens-Illinois joined forces to form this company.

5. IKO – Asphalt

IKO – Asphalt.

The asphalt roofing shingles made by IKO are of the highest quality and feature substantial dimensional profiles. They use heavy-duty roofing materials to create these replicas of classic slate tiles and wood shakes.

At a low cost, they offer a fashionable look. IKO asphalt shingles feature inbuilt resilience to algae and UV rays and are available with a limited SuperWind Resistance warranty that covers winds of up to 130 miles per hour.

Homeowners can get a break on their insurance costs thanks to this asphalt shingle’s Class A fire classification and Class 4 impact rating.

IKO started in 1951 with the inception of this company. It started out making construction paper and later branched out into coated roll roofing. In 1954, they produced their first asphalt shingle.

6. Tesla – Solar & Steel Roofing

Tesla – Solar & Steel Roofing.

Solar Roof combines the use of steel roofing tiles with glass solar tiles. Solar tiles made of glass generate electricity, and tiles made of architectural steel last longer and resist corrosion.

Both are sturdy, well-made, and designed to withstand any climate. Solar Roof is guaranteed to generate clean energy and shield your property from the elements for the next 25 years.

The solar energy generated by Tesla’s solar roof can be used to offset the cost of the system. Solar Roof is an all-inclusive solution that allows you to increase your solar output and get command of your electricity costs.

In late 2016, Elon Musk showed off his Solar Roof for the first time and announced a revised edition of the roof tiles in October 2019 to facilitate a quick installation.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best type of roof for a house?

If you can afford it, a metal roof is best for the following reasons (benefits set out by State Farm insurance):

  1. Durable:  this roofing material can last 50 years or longer. They are also capable of withstanding inclement weather, especially high winds.
  2. Customizable:  you can get metal roofs that fit in with pretty much any architectural style of home. Moreover, you can get many colors too, which is cool.
  3. Not flammable:  They are not flammable, unlike wood shingles.
  4. Save money on cooling costs: Because they reflect the sun, they reduce home cooling costs which is a big plus in hot climates.
  5. Recyclable:  Not only are metal roofs made of recycled materials, but when replaced, they are 100% recyclable.

While metal roofs have many benefits, they are not cheap costing up to three times the amount of traditional shingles. Moreover, they ain’t quiet in the rain (ping, ping ping).

Who invented modern-day roof shingles? When?

Before roof shingles were invented, roofers would usually cover the roof with a durable fabric or heavy paper and coat it with tar for protection. Then they would sprinkle the tar with sand to make it last longer. And eventually, roofing manufacturers began making pre-made rolls of paper with tar and sand already applied.

Henry Reynolds holds the dubious honor of inventing roof shingles. He was a roofer who, in 1903, came up with the idea of cutting the rolls of treated tar and sand into smaller pieces. The first shingles were hand-cut and smaller than the ones that we see today.

What materials are used to make different types of roof shingles?

There are a few different materials that are effectively used for shingles.

  • Asphalt is the most common type of material. Standard shingles made with asphalt can be either conventional three-tab roof shingles or more decorative architectural shingles.
  • Metal is also used as for roofs. Typically, coated steel, stainless steel, or aluminum roofs are usually seen on commercial properties, although you will see copper, zinc alloys, or other metals used for homes.
  • Tile or terracotta clay shingles are also commonly used, more often in warmer climates because they absorb less heat than asphalt.
  • Wood shingles and wood shakes are also used on many homes. Commonly made of cedar, they’re great insulators and the wood grain can add a distinctive flair to a rooftop.
  • Slate is also used to make shingles. Made out of thin slats of stone, slate is extremely durable. It’s also fireproof. And it’s eco-friendly since there’s no manufacturing process needed to produce it.
  • Concrete can also be used as a roofing material. It’s very durable, but is extremely heavy.
  • Composite shingles are also available. They’re synthetically manufactured to look like just about any roof material.
  • Rubber is even used for roofs. Typically manufactured to look like asphalt, slate. or tile, rubber is attractive and very resistant to adverse weather.
  • Solar roof shingles are also becoming more popular. Not only will they reduce your utility bills, but they’ll also help you reduce your carbon footprint on the planet by not using other natural resources for energy.

Can roof shingles be recycled?

Just about all of the materials used in roof shingles can be recycled. Asphalt can always be ground up and used again. Metal roofs can be melted and reused. Tile, slate, concrete, composite, and rubber roof shingles are all non-toxic and can be recycled. Even the glass and wires used in solar roofing is recyclable.

Wood roof shingles are where you will need to be careful. If they’ve been treated with chemicals, they cannot be recycled or even burned. If the wood can’t be reused, it will often end up in a landfill.

How long do roof shingles last?

Damaged roof shingles

That depends on the type of material they’re made of, how well they were installed, and how much of a beating they take from Mother Nature.

  • Composite shingles will last about 20 years.
  • Asphalt can last from 20 to 50 years, depending on its quality.
  • Rubber roofing materials will last about 30 years.
  • Wood will last 30 to 40 years.
  • You should get about 50 years out of metal roofs.
  • Tile and concrete shingles can last 100 years or longer.
  • Slate is the most durable, lasting 125 years to practically forever under the right circumstances.
  • Solar roofing will have a warranty up to 25 years, but their true longevity has yet to be discovered.

Are roof shingles waterproof?

Without a doubt, they are designed to be waterproof. Shingles are also installed with a second waterproof barrier between them and the roof’s frame. Typically, tar paper or roofing felt will offer the most effective protection under the shingles.

Can you paint roof shingles?

Technically you can paint anything, right? But it’s not always the best idea to paint some things. Roof shingles would probably fall into that category.

They’re designed to take a lot of abuse. And the final finish is incorporated into that design. The idea is for them to maintain both their integrity and their beauty throughout their lifespan.

Painting a roof either because it’s fading in places or just to change the color can be done. But a painted surface won’t be able to withstand the weather extremes for very long.

Are roof shingles slippery when wet?

Not only are they slippery when wet, but most of them are on a slant, making them even slicker. You should always be wearing the right shoes or boots when walking on a rooftop, and if possible you should avoid being on a wet roof unless you have the right safety precautions in place.

Are roof shingles nailed down?

Each type of shingle would be secured in its own way. Asphalt, composite, wood, tile, rubber, and metal shingles would be nailed down. But there is a certain way to drive the nails for each material. Concrete and solar shingles would use their own specific types of adhesives. And, slate uses nails for support, instead of being nailed down.

Can roof shingles be reused?

Most old roofs are replaced because they have reached their limits of endurance. But sometimes shingles can be reused, especially if a roof is being replaced for aesthetic reasons. If the shingles are still in good shape and waterproof, they can be reused to reconstruct a roof.

Can roof shingles be cleaned?

Not only can they be cleaned, but they should be cleaned on a regular basis. Most people have their gutters cleaned at least twice a year. And that’s the perfect time to take care of the roof as well.

Leaving wet leaves, twigs, and other debris on your roof shingles can cause a lot of problems, creating wet spots that can make the shingles begin to prematurely decompose. And those wet areas are ideal breeding grounds for insects and mold.

Can roof shingles be stained?

There are a few different things that can cause stains on a roof.

  • Sometimes in areas where the air is overly humid, the moisture can cause some roofing materials to cling to dirt and other particles in the air, creating stains.
  • Algae and moss are also common problems in some areas, leaving a variety of colored streaks.
  • Mold and mildew will create stains.
  • Tree limbs hanging over rooftops can also drop sap, causing unsightly streaks on roofs.
  • Metal roofs can sometimes show stains caused by rust.
  • Soot from fireplaces can collect on certain areas of the roof, causing dark stains.

Can roof shingles be pressure washed?

The most effective way to clean a roof is to have it professionally pressure washed, especially if you are trying to get rid of stains. While you can always rent your own power washer and attempt it yourself, it’s really in your best interests to have someone cleaning it that knows what they’re doing.

Not only are you thinking about your safety, but you are also protecting the structural performance of your roof. Too much pressure from a power washer can cause damage to some roof surfaces.

Some roofs can be successfully cleaned with a pressure washer, removing any stains and bringing them back to life. Unfortunately, some issues can’t be remedied by cleaning, meaning it would be time for new shingles.

How are roof shingles made?

The main ingredient in the most common shingles is asphalt. It is mixed with powder made with crushed limestone. This becomes the filled coating. The fiberglass mat is the backing of the shingle. The filled coating is applied to both sides of the fiberglass at temperatures of 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Next, a machine presses sand and shingle granules to the base sheet. It is then covered with a strip of sealant. The shingles are then cut into the appropriate size, placed on palettes, and shipped off to warehouses. 

What size nails for roof shingles?

Typically for architectural shingles and 3/8-inch-thick sheathing, you will use 1-inch nails. However, if your code requires you to have thicker sheathing, you will need a 1 ¼-inch nail. The thicker the shingles are means you will need longer nails.

How many roof shingles are in a bundle?

A bundle is a term commonly used for a package of shingles. Each bundle contains about 15 to 29 shingles. Therefore, you can expect a bundle to cover about 33 square feet regardless of the type of shingle.

How much does a bundle of roof shingles weigh?

A bundle of typical architectural shingles is going to weigh somewhere between 60 pounds and 80 pounds.

How many roof shingles do I need?

A roofing square covers about 100 square feet of the roof. Therefore, you need to know the square footage of your roof to determine how many shingles you need. For example, if your roof is 2400 square feet, then you divide 2400 by 100 to get 224. That means you need 24 shingle squares to cover your roof.

Do I need a permit to replace roof shingles?

Typically, you only need a permit if it is a significant roofing project. Roofing repairs do not usually require a permit, but it depends on how large the job is.

Can you put salt on roof shingles?

No, salt is corrosive and will damage your roof. 

Will vinegar hurt roof shingles?

No, vinegar is not harmful to roofs. On the contrary, it is the best way to clean your shingles. 

Is calcium chloride safe for roof shingles?

Not exactly. Calcium chloride will cause damage to your roof over time and extensive use. 

How long does it take for roof shingles to settle?

Most manufacturers of asphalt shingles say it takes a minimum of two full days of temperatures over 40 degrees Fahrenheit for the shingles to bond together.

Why do roof shingles get blown off, buckle, curl up, and get black streaks?

Moisture, algae, and rotted wood are the culprits for causing many problems with your roof. Black streaks are caused by blue-green algae that creates a hard and dark outer coating. 

Your roof absorbs moisture which causes the decking to shift and the buckling of the shingles. When the roof decking begins to rot, the nails pop out, which allows the shingles to blow off.

Why does moss grow on roof shingles?

Moss grows on the roof as a result of moisture and organic debris. The more water and debris on the roof means, the greater the chance of moss growing. When your roof gets a lot of shade, it creates the perfect environment for moss to grow.

Are roof shingles flammable?

Roof shingles are created with a fiberglass core that is flame-retardant. Therefore, they will not burn easily. However, if they are exposed to direct flame for extended periods, they will catch on fire. 

How hot do roof shingles get?

Dark roof shingles usually get 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit over the temperature. So on a 100-degree day, your roof shingles could get as hot as 150 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Shingles vs. Metal Roof  — what’s better?

Pros (shingles vs. metal roof)

When it comes to building a house: cost, curb appeal and quality are the three main factors everyone cares about. For many people the answer to this puzzle lies with a single word in the residential roofing industry: shingles.

Good quality shingles can be great insulators keeping your home properly insulated against extreme thermal changes. That means the right quality of shingles can help you save on the cost of air conditioning as the temperatures in your home are often well regulated requiring little or no extra regulation.

Roofing shingles also provide a rich selection of roofing design options to choose from. You can also pick a suitable color from the rich variety of roof shingles colors that will effectively add aesthetic appeal to your home.

Most importantly, shingles tend to cost less than other roofing materials such as metals. This means you can save quite a bit if you go with shingles for your roofing design.

All you need is to know a bit about the shingle options available for your specific roofing needs and you can be sure to find an effective and affordable way to cover your house.

Cons (shingles vs. metal roof)

Some shingles such as asphalt may not measure up to metal roofing when it comes to durability and strength. This is the main disadvantage of using shingles as a roofing material.

Shingles also tend to be considerably vulnerable to extreme weather conditions. Extreme heating from the sun may cause shingles to age quickly. In addition, a good roofing design with shingles requires a great deal of expertise and workmanship. Otherwise, the shingles can experience punctures or blow-offs.

Wrapping it up 

Choice is good and bad. We’re fortunate to have so many great roofing options, yet it’s difficult to make a decision sometimes when faced with so many options. Interesting tidbit I read recently is that Costco found that they increased sales when they carry fewer brands of a particular product line. What this illustrates is that we have a psychological tendency to prefer having to choose from fewer items than many even if logically we think more choice is better.

Graphics source: Skywalker Roofing

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