Time to get a new roof? Then you may have noticed that there seem to be hundreds of different types of roof shingles to choose from! That’s a good thing: with so many types of roof shingles, you can create just about any look you want for your home. We’ve put together a simple primer to help you understand all the options so you can choose wisely.
When you think about how you want your new roof to look, you’re probably going to decide on a style first, whether that’s a rustic cedar shake look or a more modern metal design. At this point, you might say, “Great, I’ll just look for wood or metal shingles.”
But that’s where things get interesting, because lots of different materials can match the look you’re going for! For example, asphalt roof shingles can be designed to look like slate, rubber roof shingles can give the appearance of wood shake, and composite roof shingles can mimic real clay tile. That means that if the type of roof shingle you really want is beyond your budget, you can still get the same look with a different material.
#1. Asphalt roof shingles are the most popular type of roof shingle, gracing the rooftops of four out of every five American homes. They’re a common choice because they’re durable, fairly inexpensive, and come in a variety of colors and styles. They’re also easy to install and remove, are waterproof and fire resistant, and will last you anywhere from two to three decades depending on the style. Asphalt shingles come in many different designs, from affordable and lightweight three-tab shingles to dimensional shingles that give your roof visual depth and architectural interest. Look for “cool roof shingles” that reflect heat to keep your home cool and lower your energy bills.
#2. Slate roof shingles are made from natural stone and can be a beautiful, environmentally-friendly option for your home. They are waterproof, fireproof, and will last a lifetime—anywhere from 50 to 150 years! Of course, all of those features make it a more expensive option compared to other types of roof shingles. Slate shingles are also very heavy, and most homes can’t support their weight! If you love the look of slate shingles but want something lighter on your home and on your wallet, try synthetic slate shingles. They have a similar look and feel, though they’re also a bit less durable.
#3. Tile roof shingles are an attractive but expensive type of roof shingle. You’ll pay more for both the materials and the installation work, but you’ll also have a roof that lasts 80+ years and can be fixed easily in case of damage. Tile is a great option for hotter climates because of its energy efficiency. While ceramic tile is one of the more traditional choices, you can get the tile shingle look from a variety of materials, including copper tile, composite tile, metal tile, polymer-sand tile, and more.
#4. Wood roof shingles and wood shakes give your home a natural, traditional look. They’re made from hardwoods like cedar, pine, and redwood, and will last you a long time. However, you’ll have to maintain them properly over the years, which can mean removing moss or resealing the wood every now and then. Wood shingles and shakes are easy to install and repair, and offer better insulation than asphalt. However, even after they’re treated to be fire-resistant, wood shingles are still flammable (unlike some other types of roof shingles). If you’re looking for a less expensive material that offers better fire protection, consider using simulated shingles made from rubber.
#5. Metal roof shingles are reasonably priced and will last about 50 years before they need to be replaced. They’re incredibly durable and can withstand high winds, hail, and heat. They’re unlikely to leak and aren’t flammable like wood shingles. Metal roof shingles also reduce your cooling costs because they reflect heat away from your home. Metal shingles come in many different colors, and can be made out of steel, stainless steel, aluminum, copper, and various zinc alloys.
#6. Copper roof shingles are a type of metal shingle, but they deserve a special mention because of a very unique property: the valuable patina they acquire with age. Over many years, copper shingles will transition from their warm metallic hue to a beautiful turquoise color. Not only can they give your home a sense of elegance and history, but they last hundreds of years with barely any maintenance. Understandably, they are expensive, and you may have trouble finding roofers who have experience installing it.
#7. Rubber roof shingles are reasonably priced and can be made to look like different materials, including asphalt, slate, and wood shake. Compared to other types of roof shingles, they can be a very sustainable option as they’re often made from recycled tires!
#8. Solar roof shingles power your home while protecting it from elements like high winds and hail. They’re made of thin photovoltaic cells that can match the look of materials like tile, slate, and asphalt, and can be integrated with them on the rooftop. Solar roof shingles can also earn you a nice tax credit! Learn more about solar shingles made by RGS Energy.
#9. Composite roof shingles are made from a blend of plastic polymers, resins, and fibers. They’re designed to look like premium materials but come with an affordable price tag. That means you can have the look of wood shake, clay tile, or slate types of roof shingles at a fraction of the cost.