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What Are the Most Popular Types of Shingles?

types of roof shingles

When assembling or replacing a roof, one of the most important decisions you’ll need to make concerns the shingles. There is a variety of shingle materials that meet the needs of different homes, from weather-proofing to insulation.

Another thing you’ll need to consider is what style you’d like your roof to have. If you want a unique color or style option, you may need to use a specific type of shingle.

Wood

Wood shingles are typically made from cedar, pine, or spruce and are a great eco-friendly shingle option. They’re also aesthetically pleasing — wood shingles have a beautiful, historic look that many homeowners find appealing.

These shingles usually last for 20 years or more, which might surprise homeowners. However, they are a riskier pick in climates with heavy rain. They also tend to be more expensive than the popular picks of asphalt shingles, so buyers have to decide where they want to invest their renovation funds.

Once installed, the shingles are easy to clean, but you should clean them carefully, as you can’t repair wood shingles if they’re damaged and can be hard to replace on your own. Power washing is definitely not an option for longevity.

You’ll want to be sure your shingles have a proper fire-resistant treatment depending on your area’s climate to ensure a few sparks won’t make your roof go up in flames.

Clay and Concrete

Both clay and concrete shingles are molded into scalloped, barrel-shaped, or flat roof tiles.

Clay shingles will cost a bit more than concrete but come with the benefit of not combusting or fading. Concrete shingles help insulate your home, saving you money on heating and cooling costs. Concrete shingles are also heavier than clay.

For concrete or clay shingles, you’ll want to consult with a contractor to determine whether or not your house can withstand getting the shingles installed. You may need extra framing to support the weight of the new shingles.

If damaged, you can repair the shingles with roofing cement, but replacing them is difficult. On the bright side, clay and concrete shingles can last over 100 years, which makes them a good long-term selection if the style and maintenance requirements are a good fit for your household. 

Asphalt

This is, no doubt, the most popular shingle on the market today. Why? Asphalt shingles are popular for their affordability, numerous color options, and durability. 

These shingles are reinforced by fiberglass or organic materials. You’ll find them in different sizes: as a single layer, a three-tab variety, or a multi-layer dimensional variety. Dimensional shingles are more affordable than the three-tab shingles, costing around $3-$6 per square foot.

These shingles are also weather-resistant, with waterproof and fireproof qualities beneficial for areas with different seasons or extreme conditions. Asphalt shingles typically last for around 20 years.

Metal

Metal shingles can be made from steel, copper, aluminum, or a stamped alloy and are one of the most energy-efficient shingle options. The shingles reflect sunlight and can lower cooling costs.

These shingles can last up to 70 years and are resistant to rain, wind, fire, hail, and rotting. You will hear more rain on a metal roof than on other shingles. While hail is unlikely to pierce them, it could dent the shingles.

Metal shingles are more expensive than wood or asphalt but are easy to repair and replace. You may even be able to save money by installing these shingles over your existing roof, so long as your current shingles are in good shape.

Metal roofs are still compatible with many more historic homes, given that galvanized roofs were incredibly popular in the 1800s. Today, metal roofs can take on a variety of styles while helping homeowners reduce energy costs and maintenance costs over time.

Composite

Composite shingles are made of plastic, rubber, or polymer and mimic the feel of natural materials.

These shingles can last for over 50 years and are heat- and impact-resistant. Some composite shingles have defenses against moss and ultraviolet (UV) rays as well. Beware of low-quality composite materials that may not be as weather-resistant and will require more seasonal maintenance to stay in good condition.

Choosing the Right Roof Shingles

When choosing a roof shingle, one of the biggest concerns needs to be where your home is situated. Your climate can affect what features your shingles will require. 

You’ll also want to pick shingles that suit your home, whether it’s by size, style, or color. The right shingle can keep your home attractive and protected for years to come.

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