If you’re replacing your roof, it’s essential you take some time to pick the right materials. There are so many different options you can choose from when selecting roofing shingles. There is a huge variety of materials, all of which have different compositions, strengths, and functions. It’s essential you weigh up the pros and cons of each, and arm yourself with all the available information to help you make an informed decision.

You want your roof to protect your home from the weather, ensuring it is waterproof, heat-resistant, and will withstand the force of falling branches and flying debris. But you also need to consider the aesthetics, and your personal renovation budget.

The following guide takes a look at the many different types of roofing shingles, considering the advantages and drawbacks of each to help you come to the right conclusion. Read on to learn more.


Picking the right roofing shingles for your home is a big decision. Learn the pros and cons of each shingle material to help you make the right choice.

The Different Types of Roofing Shingles

1. Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt is one of the most common materials for roofing shingles, and for good reason. Asphalt shingles are durable, relatively easy to install, and offer excellent value for money. Asphalt shingles are generally composites, made up of several components including asphalt (a solid form of petroleum), fiberglass, granules, sealants, and release film. These ingredients serve to make the material durable and water-resistant.

There are various types of asphalt shingle you can buy, each of which has their own advantages. You can buy 3-tab asphalt shingles, which are made from a single layer of asphalt and cut into strips. They are lightweight and affordable, but not as durable or aesthetically pleasing as other options.

There are also dimensional asphalt shingles, which are layered to give a more pleasant-looking, multidimensional appearance. Although more durable, they are heavier so add more weight to your roof, which is an important consideration in the planning process.

Finally, those with a higher budget can opt for luxury asphalt shingles, or premium shingles, which are laminated to give optimum protection against the elements while also serving as an attractive design feature of your home. They come in several different options and can be designed to give the appearance of wood or slate. They are much heavier than other asphalt options, but they do offer superior durability and weather resistance, as well as a far greater lifespan.

It’s important to note that asphalt shingles are not always suitable in certain environments, as they can buckle and warp in severe temperature fluctuations.

The Pros:

  • Several different options to choose from
  • Good value for money and options suitable for all budgets
  • Lightweight and easy to install

The Cons:

  • Cheaper options are not the most aesthetically pleasing shingles
  • Premium options are heavy and add a lot of weight to your roof
  • May not withstand major temperature fluctuations

2. Aluminum Shingles

Metal roofing has become an increasingly popular option in recent years, with aluminum shingles taking the lead as frontrunner. The reason for their growing popularity is that they look stylish and are highly durable, as well as giving homeowners more options in terms of design and color. They are lightweight and easy to install, so are a good option if you have an older home that may not be able to take too much weight.

One of the key benefits of an aluminum shingle is that it has energy-saving properties, as they reflect heat rather than absorb it. This means if you live in a hot climate, you won’t have to spend as much money cooling your home in summer. However, if you live in an area with a lot of precipitation, you may notice that the noise of rain falling on your metal roof can be quite loud.

It is true that metal shingles cost a lot more than asphalt and other materials, but they will protect your home against all weathers and have a long lifespan. The long-term cost savings can outweigh the immediate expense.

The Pros:

  • Extremely durable with a long lifespan
  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Will reflect sunlight and save you money on energy bills
  • Lightweight and easy to install

The Cons:

  • More expensive than many other materials
  • Noise

3. Standing Seam Metal Shingles

Standing seam metal shingles are similar to traditional metal shingles, although very different in aesthetic. They are designed to look more like asphalt or slate shingles, as the metal panels have raised seams. This allows your home to have all the modern benefits of a metal roof while still retaining a classic, attractive look.

They are just as durable and energy-efficient as other metal shingles, but they do come at a higher price. It’s also important to note that standing seam metal shingles are not appropriate for roofs with a low slope as they can retain water.

The Pros:

  • Attractive, classic aesthetic
  • Durable
  • Reflect sunlight and save on cooling costs
  • Lightweight and easy to install

The Cons:

  • More expensive than other shingle types
  • Can only be used on certain roof aspects

4. Corrugated Steel Shingles

Corrugated steel is made from metal sheets that have been roll-formed into wavy panels. This style of roofing is commonly seen on commercial, agricultural, and industrial buildings, but it can still be used to protect your home.

The popularity of corrugated steel is largely due to its low cost and durability. It offers superior protection against rain and other elements, and the corrugation process gives the steel an impressive strength to weight ratio, ensuring it holds up well over time. Another great feature is that rainfall runs off quickly due to the roof’s unique shape, reducing the risk of water damage.

The Pros:

  • Durable, with a long life span
  • Low cost and good value for money
  • High strength to weight ratio
  • Allows rainfall to run off and offers good protection against weather
  • Energy efficient

The Cons:

  • Not the most attractive type of shingle

5. Copper Shingles

Copper roofs are most commonly installed as panels, although more and more homeowners are having copper shingles added to their roofs. There are so many advantages to choosing copper shingles over other materials, as they are one of the most durable and long-lasting roofing types on the market. It is resistant to all kinds of weather, and is far less likely to succumb to rust, mold, algae or other weathering than other metals.

Some homeowners may feel that copper shingles are out of their budget, since it is one of the most valuable metals, and therefore more expensive than other materials. However, it’s important to consider the long term savings. With a copper roof, you are unlikely to need a replacement for several years since it is so hard wearing and strong. And having copper shingles installed can actually increase the value of your home. They are fire-resistant, weather resistant and offer so much protection that they can even lower your insurance rates.

The Pros:

  • Extremely strong and durable
  • Offer superior protection against, fire, algae, mold, water, rust, and weather
  • They improve the curb appeal of your home
  • They can increase your property’s value and lower your insurance rates

The Cons:

  • Much more expensive than many of the alternatives

6. Clay Tile Shingles

Clay tiles are a very popular choice amongst homeowners as they create a very unique and desirable aesthetic. Bright orange-red shingles are the most common, as they give a home an exotic appearance, but they can also come in a variety of different colors including white, brown, or yellow. 

As with all clay, these shingles are forged in heat, and the strength of these depends on the temperature and the length of the process. In general, clay tiles are extremely durable and long-lasting, as well as being eco-friendly, and low maintenance. They are incredibly resistant to mold and rot, and give your home a distinctive curb appeal.

On the downside, clay roofs carry a lot more weight, and so you need to be sure your home has sufficient structural integrity to bear them. They are around three times as expensive as asphalt and a lot more difficult to install. Although they are strong, clay shingles are brittle and therefore will break easily if mishandled.

The Pros:

  • One of the most attractive shingle types, with multiple colors and designs available
  • Clay tiles will boost the curb appeal of your home
  • Extremely durable and will last a very long time
  • Resistant to mold and rot

The Cons:

  • Premium cost – clay shingles are three times more expensive than asphalt shingles
  • Heavy and can only be placed on a roof strong enough to support them
  • Brittle
  • Difficult to install

7. Slate Tile Shingles

Slate is a metamorphic rock that is often chosen for roofing shingles because of its distinctive and alluring appearance. But although it looks great, it is not always the most practical option. The geological process by which slate is formed means that the rock tends to contain separate layers, and the bond between them can be weak. As a result, slate tiles are prone to cracking.

Nevertheless, if the shingles are created and installed by a skilled hand, your slate roof can last a long time. In fact, a full slate roof can last up to 50 years without needing a replacement.

The Pros:

  • If made and installed well, a slate roof can last several decades
  • They look distinctive and can boost curb appeal

The Cons:

  • Individual tiles can be prone to cracking and may need to be fixed or replaced

8. Concrete Tile Shingles

If you want tiles for your roof, but are on a tight budget, concrete tile shingles may be more appropriate than slate or clay. Concrete can give your home the appearance of a clay tile roof, as well as the durability, but without the premium cost.

Much like slate, concrete tile shingles have a lifespan of around 50 years and offer great protection against fire, extreme weather, rot, algae, and mold. They are heavy and can be difficult to install, but once fitted they are very low maintenance and won’t need to be replaced for a long time. Be aware that they are not always suitable for all roof slopes and their color can fade over time, especially in bright sunlight,

The Pros:

  • Give your home the appearance of clay tiles at a lower cost
  • Durable and extremely resistant to weathering
  • Offer superior protection against rain, fire and strong winds
  • Low maintenance

The Cons:

  • Heavy and not suitable for all roof slopes
  • Colors can fade over time
  • Not as attractive as slate or clay

9. Wood Shingles

For a natural, rustic aesthetic and an eco-friendly option, wood shingles are the perfect choice. As the name suggests, they are made from wood – usually cedar, spruce, or pine – and machine-cut into uniform shapes. If good quality, they can last between 20 and 25 years.

Wood shingles tend to cost less than clay and concrete tiles but more than asphalt, putting them at a relatively economical price point. It’s essential you make sure wood shingles are suitable for the climate in which you live, as they are not fit for extremely hot, dry, or wet climates. This is because wood is vulnerable to mold, rot, and termites. Fire is also a great risk, so make sure you choose wood shingles with a Class A fire rating to reduce the danger.

The Pros:

  • Reasonable value for money
  • An eco-friendly option
  • A rustic, natural aesthetic that gives your home a unique appearance

The Cons:

  • Less durable than other materials, with a shorter lifespan
  • Sensitive to extreme climates and vulnerable to fire, rot, and termites

10. Impact-Resistant Shingles

One of the biggest risk factors for roof damage is debris caused by high winds, falling branches, or even hail. These can destroy your roofing and necessitate a costly replacement, One way to mitigate this risk is to opt for impact-resistant shingles. These come in a variety of material types, including copper, resin, plastic, or aluminum, and are specifically designed to minimize this kind of damage.

An impact-resistant shingle must pass certain tests to ensure it is up to standard. It is guaranteed to be durable, and is perfect if you live in an area with a lot of storms, tree cover, or high winds. 

The Pros:

  • Will protect your high from debris and other impact-related damage
  • Perfect if you live in a high risk area for storms and strong winds

The Cons:

  • Are likely to be more expensive than the alternatives
  • Less variety in terms of materials, designs, and colors

11. Solar Panel Shingles

Your roof can actually generate energy for your home if it is composed of solar panel shingles. While these appear from the outside like conventional roofing materials, they are actually absorbing energy from the sun and helping to power your home. 

This is an eco-friendly option that can save you a great deal of money in the long run, but it’s important to note that the cost of installation is usually high. And it can also be difficult to find a roofer who is skilled in  installing this specific type of shingle.

The Pros:

  • Energy efficient
  • Eco-friendly
  • Can save you money over several years

The Cons:

  • High cost of installation
  • Fewer roofing companies to choose from

12. Rubber Shingles

Rubber roof shingles are a relatively recent development, and they are generally made up of around 95% recycled materials. These components include recycled rubber, plastic, and slate dust. This makes it an incredibly eco-friendly option and also more affordable than most materials. They can even be melted down and recycled once they are no longer being used for your roof.

The rubber shingles are durable and resistant to all weathers, and they can last around 50 years if installed properly, requiring little maintenance over the course of their lifespan. Rubber is rarely affected by mold and mildew and are even suitable for roofs with low slopes.

On the downside, they are not very aesthetically pleasing and can sometimes emit an unpleasant odor, which will fade over time.

The Pros:

  • One of the most eco-friendly roofing options
  • Fully recyclable
  • Durable and weather resistant

The Cons:

  • Less attractive
  • Unpleasant odor

Conclusion: Which is Best?

In summary, there are so many different types of roofing shingles with their own unique benefits and disadvantages. There is no right or wrong answer to the best material to choose, as it all depends on your own needs and preferences. You need to ensure the shingles you choose are affordable under your budget, as well as checking that your current home can support the weight of the material you select. Other factors to consider include your personal design preferences, and the weather conditions of the area in which you live.

If you need to replace your roof and are unsure which type of roofing shingles to choose, get in touch with Ready Roof today. Based in Long Island, New York, we can help you to decide which roofing material is most suitable for your home. Find out how you can protect your most valuable asset.






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