Did you know that 30 years ago you had the choice of clay, wood, asphalt, or tile types of roof shingles and that was it? Most people choose to go with asphalt as the material. Once they picked out a material, they had to decide on a color scheme. Today, you have many different types of roof shingles to choose from, and this makes narrowing down your choices a much more time-consuming process.
The different types of roof shingles you can choose involves deciding if you want overlapping or individual components, wavy or flat shapes, and more. The individual components get laid in sequences from the lower end of the roof up, and each continuous sequence overlaps the joints on the row below them.
This article will go over the types of roof shingles you can choose when you shop. In turn, you can narrow down your choices to pick out the perfect type of roof shingle for your home that is going to last for years.
What are Roof Shingles?
Each type of roof has its own shape with drawbacks and benefits attached to it. Roof shingles are individual overlapping components that get laid out on the roof starting from the bottom and going up. The purpose of this part of the roof is to protect your home from pests, rain, snow, and ice. When it rains, water runs down the shingles on your roof and drips into your gutter system instead of leaking into the leaves and causing damage.
The Importance of Roof Shingles
Roof shingles are very important, no matter which types of roof shingles you decide to go with. However, getting the correct shingles has several benefits, and they include but are not limited to:
- Energy Efficient – Your roof shingles can insulate your attic and regulate the temperature. How well this works depends on the color and material you pick out.A lighter type of roof shingle reflects heat, but it depends on your location.
- Impact Your Home’s Lifespan – The roofing materials you pick out will affect your home’s overall lifespan. This is why you shouldn’t go for cheap shingles because the roof won’t be the only part of the home that will deteriorate over time.
- Improve the Curb Appeal – The type of roof shingles you pick out will affect the style and look of your home. It also depends on the roofing budget and your end goal, so you have to make sure you choose wisely because you can’t go back once you have the singles on the roof.
- Increase the Resale Value – The roof type you have and the quality will impact your home’s resale value. So, it’s best to choose high-quality shingles that will last for many years.
- Water Barrier – Shingles can prevent water from leaking into your home, and this can help prevent rot or mold.
How to Choose the Best Type of Roof Shingle
To pick out the best types of roof shingles for your home, you’ll want to compare various types, materials, and styles. You have to keep in mind:
- Budget – Your budget will go a long way to narrowing down the style and type. You can choose everything from budget shingles to more expensive luxury options.
- Climate – Different styles and materials will do better in some climates than others.
- Design – You’ll want to pick a type of roof shingle that will match your home’s style and blend in well with the surrounding home styles. It’s possible to find some composite shingles that look like tile, slate, or metal. There are also metal shingles that look like composites and asphalt.
- Roof Structure – Composite, asphalt, and metal roof shingles are more lightweight. They’re suitable for almost any roof, depending on the roof’s slope. Clay and slate tiles are much heavier, and you should consult a professional before you pick these types.
- Temperatures – Slate and metal do very well in areas that get heavy snowfall and are in generally colder planting zones. Fiberglass shingles will survive a range of temperatures.
- Wind – If you live in a space that gets higher winds, like mountain states or hurricane regions, you’ll want to consult a professional company. This will tell you if you need to invest in Class F or Class G wind-rated types of shingles.
1. 3 Tab Shingles
The first type of shingle on the list is the standard shingle that is most commonly used throughout the United States. The shingles hit the market for the first time in 1930, and other countries quickly adopted them. Even though these shingles have been around for decades, the design process is the same. The only aspect that has changed over the years is the installation and materials used to create them. They can be made out of asphalt, fiberglass, adhesives, and stone to lock the layers in place.
The average cost for this type of roof shingle ranges from $4,300 to $6,400 to cover a 1,800 square foot house. The total replacement costs can vary with the roof’s pitch, slope, and size. For the asphalt materials alone, you’ll spend between $0.85 to $1.50 a square foot. For a square of this type of shingle, it’ll cost between $85.00 to $150.
2. Architectural Shingles
Architectural shingles are a much more stylish version of 3-tab shingles. They can have different widths, and they come in a huge range of colors, shapes, and designs. This type of roof shingle has a unique appearance that makes it a great option if you have a higher budget for this project.
Architectural shingles get made from the exact same components as 3-tab roof shingles, but they have much thicker asphalt layers on them. They feature triple fiberglass layers with a much stronger adhesive. They are more expensive and heavier, but they’re also a lot more interesting to look at and a lot tougher than other types of roof shingles on the list. You will need to hire skilled roofers to install them.
They are also much more durable than asphalt shingle options on the market. They allow for a sculpted look and they come with an additional laminate layer that helps to contour them to look slightly more designed and stylish. They also cost a small amount more to install at $1.50 to $5.50 a square foot or $150 to $550 for every square. You can get more luxurious styles if you prefer with this category, and they can mimic the look of wood shake designs.
They can last up to two times longer than other types of roof shingles, and this can help you justify the cost. These shingles can last between 30 and 50 years if you maintain them correctly. Some homeowners choose to attempt a DIY job with these shingles, but we recommend a professional.
3. Asphalt Composite Shingles
Asphalt composite shingles are one of the most popular types of roof shingles in the United States. They feature a fiberglass base with mineral and asphalt granules over the top, and the three-tab shingles are an all-around great choice for most roofing needs in your home. They usually have a 20 to 30-year warranty on them, and this warranty includes replacing individual shingles that are damaged.
Almost every roofing company is familiar with these shingles. Composite singles also excel at adapting and flexing with the roof’s movements due to contraction and expansion. The costs will range from $1.50 to $4.50 a square foot, and this includes installation. Depending on the environment and the shingle quality, your roof can last between 12 and 30 years.
4. Built-Up Roofing (BUR)
This is one of the oldest types of roof shingles for flat roofs or roofs that come with a very low pitch to them. These systems get constructed with layers of roofing felt that is stuffed with asphalt and applied hot. The felt gets applied in overlapping layers to create a two to four-layer thick barrier before they apply a layer of finely crushed stone into the hot tar layer. This creates a very impenetrable and durable roof, and it can cost between $2.50 adn $5.00 a square foot, including installation. This roof can easily last between 20 and 30 years.
5. Cement Tile Shingles
Many people don’t think of cement when they think of a roof replacement cost, but you can pick out cement types of roof shingles that look very close to clay shingles. These shingles are reminiscent of ancient stonework in South American ruins, but the concrete tiles won’t crumble like clay. This is due to the fact that these shingles feature a mixture of water, cement, and sand that gets molded under very high heat. Once the tile is created, you can paint the surface.
Cement shingles can lock water out to prevent leaking and damage. This is due to the fact that the shingles come with interlocking ribs on the edges that allow the water to flow out from your roof. You can get this type of roof shingle that mimics the look of wood, clay, or stone. They can also be smooth or textured with ragged or uniform edges.
6. Clay Tile Shingles
Clay tile shingles are made out of earthen clays that get molded into interlocking or rolled shapes and fired to improve the hardness levels. You can leave them unglazed with the orangish-red coloring, or you can glaze and then fire them to create ceramic roofing tiles. Clay tile is a decent roofing material to have in hot climates or where you have salt air. This is why it’s common in desert regions or southern coastal regions.
Clay tile is a more expensive roofing material, and you’ll pay anywhere from $10.00 to $18.00 a square foot, including installation. They can get up to $30.00 a square foot on the high end. It’s a very durable roofing material that can last upwards of a century.
7. Composite Shingles
Composite types of roof shingles usually feature recycled plastic materials for the design. They allow companies to get more out of plastic and other materials that would normally end up in landfills, so this is an environmentally-friendly option to consider. You can pay between $4.00 and $6.00 a square foot for composite shingles, or $400 to $500 per square when you install them on a standard single story home. You can get these shingles designed to look like wood shakes or stone.
This type of roof shingle is much lighter than slate or other roofing materials, and this makes them easier to install. Even though they’re very affordable, they won’t last as long as other types. Plastic roofing will last between 7 and 20 years, depending on the plastic you want to install.
8. Concrete Tile Shingles
Concrete tile is a type of roof shingle that is very similar to clay tile. It also has a similar installation technique and advantages. These tiles get molded from a standard sand-mix concrete that is colored to whatever hue you want. You can choose from several different profiles, including ones that mimic the look of clay tiles or ones that are low-profile and look like wood shakes.
You can finish this tile with a decorative coating, and it’s a very heavy roofing material that is also popular in foundations. It’s popular in high-wind regions due to its weight. It’ll typically cost between $10.00 and $15.00 a square foot, and it can last up to 50 years.
9. Eco-Friendly Green Roof
When you find moss around your roof, this is usually a bad sign. However, when you plan for it properly, moss and living materials can give you an effective roofing material that gives back to the earth. This is an unorthodox type of roof shingle, but it has several benefits. It can provide thermal insulation from the house, remove pollutants from the air, absorb rainwater, and allow you to grow plants.
To create this roof, you’ll want to install a layer of waterproof membrane and make sure it has great drainage. A green roof can be intensive, and it can support large plants or people, or it can be extensive. This means that it is thinner and only suited for moss or light growing.
Costs of this roof will vary widely, but it’s a nice choice for anyone who is willing to spend the money to make an eco-friendly statement. You also have to have regular maintenance to keep them lasting and in good condition.
10. Fiberglass Shingles
Fiberglass is actually a subtype of asphalt types of roof shingles. It gets processed using several fiberglass layers woven together before getting reinforcements in the form of a coat of asphalt to make it waterproof. You can then top it with ceramic particles to help protect your roof from UV rays. It’s also a very non-porous material that is very resilient, and this makes it fantastic for roof installation. They also won’t dry out or change shape in hotter temperatures.
11. Membrane Roofing
Any low-pitched or flat roof can use this type of roof shingles to get adequate coverage and seal out the water. There are many membranes you can choose from, including:
- Chlorinated polyethylene and chlorosulfonated polyethylene sheets
- EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer)
- Neoprene (polychloroprene)
- Polymer-modified bitumens
- PVC (polyvinyl chloride)
One of the best options is EPDM, and it’s a synthetic roofing material that you may hear called rubber roofing. It’s very similar to rolled asphalt roofing in the fact that you apply it in sheets that limit the number of seams where the water can come in. Costs for this option range from $4.00 to $8.00 a square foot, including installation. When you maintain it correctly, it can last between 20 and 35 years.
12. Metal Shingles or Shakes
For homeowners who don’t like the look of a more traditional standing seam metal roof but want the durability that comes with metal types of roof shingles, this can be a nice option. You can choose from aluminum or steel shakes or shingles. They feature stamped metal that is finished with mineral granules or a high-quality baked-on coating.
You can get metal shingles fabricated to look like wooden shakes, traditional asphalt shingles, and clay or slate tiles. If appearance is a critical concern, they are an excellent choice. They usually cost between $7.00 and $10.00 a square foot, and they can last between 30 and 50 years.
13. Rolled Roofing
Rolled roofing is a mainstay in residential roofs with low slopes, and you can find it used on out buildings like sheds, shops, or utilitarian structures. Rolled roofing has long rolls of asphalt filled and mineral filled material that gets topped with mineral granulas. Each roll is roughly 100 square feet long and three feet wide.
These big strips of roofing material offer a convenient, fast, and budget-friendly way to cover a building with a sloped roof where you’re not worried about the appearance. You can apply it with roofing nails or using the torch-down method. This is a relatively inexpensive type of roof shingle that will run between $1.50 and $2.50 a square foot. It’ll last a decade before you have to replace it.
14. Slate Shingles
A slate type of roof shingle can form one of the most beautiful roofs there is, and it’s popular with people who have a higher budget. There are functioning slate roofs today that are over 100 years old. It uses authentic, thin sheets of real stone in the design. Because slate can cleave off in thinner sheets, it’s very easy to quarry. Installing it requires a high level of skill, so you will have to factor professional installation in. They cost roughly $9.00 to $12.00 a square foot, not including installation. It can last between 75 and 200 years.
15. Solar Shingles
Solar types of roof shingles are one of the most modern types you can get and install on your roof. They are more expensive when you compare them to other roofing options, but they don’t work to keep water out of the home. Instead, they come designed to generate electricity to power your house. The installation process ranges from $21.00 to $25.00 a square foot or $2,100 to $2,500 per square.
Solar shingles are pleasing to look at, but you don’t need to install them over the whole roof. You can decide which type of roof shingles you want to install in tandem with these options. They work the best on the south side of your roof, and this is where you should install them if possible. Western and eastern exposures are possible too, but they’re not nearly as efficient. These shingles can last between 20 to 25 years.
16. Standing Seam Metal Roofing
The most common metal roof type you can have is a standing seam roof, and it gets the name because the steel or aluminum roofing panels meet to form a raised seam that interlocks to keep the rain out. Metal roofs of all types are increasing in popularity in areas that see heavy snow or where there is an increased risk of fires or wind since it’s 100% fireproof.
Metal roofs are 100% recyclable and long-lived. However, the installation process requires a special skill set that not every roofing company can handle, so this drives up the total price. It typically costs between $6.00 and $12.00 a square foot, and it can last between 30 and 50 years.
17. Synthetic Slate Tile
Synthetic slate types of roof shingles are a very convincing stand-in for natural slate, but it features engineered polymers combined with rubber and recycled plastic. From the ground looking up, it can be impossible to tell between natural slate and engineered roofing. Synthetic slate is lightweight,and this makes it a viable option for any house that can’t support how heavy natural slate is. Generally speaking, it will cost between $3.00 and $6.00, not counting installation costs. It’s not as durable as actual stone, but it can last up to 50 years.
18. Rubber Roof Shingles
Rubber roof shingles are exactly what they sound like, and they’re very similar to asphalt shingles that you find on many homes. Rubber shingles are very simple to install, and they don’t require you to do a lot of maintenance. However, it’s slightly more expensive than asphalt shingles. Rubber roof shingles will cost between $4.00 and $8.00 a square foot or $400 to $800 a square. They can last between 15 and 25 years after you install them, and they can save you money on your yearly utility costs. The rubber membrane type you install also impacts your costs, and you have a few options.
19. Wood Shingle or Shakes
Wooden roofs are very attractive, but they also have limitations and are quite expensive. They also don’t last a long time, and they are a poor choice if you live in an area that gets a lot of moisture or where you have wildfires. They are still amongst the most attractive of any type of roof shingle, and this makes them a nice choice for luxury homes.
Although wood shakes or shingles are made out of natural wood like cedar or redwood, there is a difference between shingles and shakes. Shingles are usually very thin with a wedge shape to them, and you create them by precise sawing. Shakes get made by splitting wood, and they have a rougher texture with a thicker build.
Shingles can cost between $4.50 and $9.00 a square foot, including installation. Shakes cost between $6.50 and $14.00 a square foot with installation. The longevity depends on your circumstances and the maintenance you do on it. In dry climates, this roof can last up to 60 years, but you’ll get 20 to 30 years out of this roof style in wet environments.
We’ve outlined 19 popular types of roof shingles that you can install on your home when you replace or add your roof. You want to pick out one that is going to last for decades, be functional, and look nice with your decor style.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.