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Different shingle types?

Knowing could make a big difference in the long run

When it comes to replacing your roof, there are quite a few factors to take into consideration before making any sort of decision. Things like cost, both for the materials and labour, aesthetics, weight of the material you decide to go with, installation, both difficulty and length of time to get it done, and lastly, maintenance. Making an informed decision comes from knowing what different shingle types there are, and how a particular one will best suit your needs. Many homeowners, don’t realize how many different shingle types there are, and usually settle for what they think is most popular. Here’s a guide on all the characteristics of different shingle types, and what you should know.

Asphalt Shingles:


Widely known as the most popular choice for roofing shingles, asphalt is usually chosen due to its durability and lower price point. Benefits of the asphalt shingle include a wide variety of colour choices and styles, making them incredibly versatile when it comes to matching with almost any type of house. Homeowners can customize the look of their homes to suit their taste, a preferred characteristic. Out of the different shingle types available on the market, asphalt shingles are very easy to install, requiring minimum skill, and they are also suitable for a large range of temperatures, making them popular across the board. Additionally, asphalt shingles are reliable barriers against water damage, having an average life span of 20 years.


Despite asphalt shingles lasting a good 20 or so years, they do have a lower life expectancy than many of the other different shingle types available on the market, and this is due to their lighter weight. If walked on, the shingles will last even less time. Another caveat with asphalt shingles is their tendency to fade, as well as inconsistencies in their colour. If you live in a very sunny climate, asphalt may not be the best choice to go with, as your roof will look washed out and old sooner rather than later.

Slate and Tile Shingles:


Slate is probably oen of the most sophisticated of the different shingle types available. It has been used as a roofing material for hundreds of years, and it truly does last the test of time, making it extremely durable. Providing a beautiful, traditional and elegant look, slate is fire and water-resistant. Its natural appearance gives it a timeless appeal, and many homeowners prefer it over something that might need to be replaced more frequently. There are many colours and styles to choose from, allowing for personalization.


The biggest concern with slate shingles is the weight. Being quite heavy, this type of shingle isn’t always suitable for all homes, limiting its reach. Additionally, slate is quite expensive – both the cost of the materials and the labour. Since slate shingles are more complex, they require a higher degree of skill to install, driving up the overall cost. Lastly, if slate is walked on, it can easily break, making rooftop and gutter cleaning precarious.

When it comes to ceramic tile shingles, they are generally quite durable and aesthetically appealing. These types of shingles are fire-resistant and can last 50-70 years when installed correctly.

Downsides to ceramic tile shingles is their limitation in ranging weather and temperatures. Often seen in southern and sunny climates, these tiles don’t fare well in northern atmospheres. Prone to erosion, they will easily break under fluctuating weather. Additionally, ceramic tile shingles are difficult to install, pricey, and very heavy, making them unsuitable for a range of homes.

Metal Roofing:


A newer material in the roof world, metal is quickly catching on when it comes to making a decision between different shingle types. With high water and wind resistance, these roofs are fireproof, easy to install, and unlikely to rot or erode. Materials such as aluminum, steel, copper, copper-and-asphalt, and lead are all available, and durable, options. The options for metal roofing are available in shingle type panels, or larger vertical lengths of metal joined together with solder. The life expectancy of metal roofing is very long, meaning you won't need to replace them or your roof very often. 


The cost of materials when it comes to metal roofing is higher than most other shingle types. However, despite the initial cost, you will save when it come to the long term, as maintenance and replacement costs are very low. The only other downside to metal shingles is that hail stones and debris from unpredictable weather can dent the metal, making this material unsuitable for those living in areas with highly fluctuating weather.

Cedar Shingles:


The green choice of roofing materials, cedar wood shingles are manufactured from naturally renewable resources, making them the most environmentally-friendly option on the market. With its natural fibres, this material doesn’t contaminate water, making it have a low impact on water runoff. Cedar shingles were the main choice used in roofing for centuries, giving off a very rustic and charming appeal. With a life expectancy of around 25-30 years, these shingles are a durable option.


Some downsides to wood shingles are the fact that they can potentially be illegal in certain areas, especially those prone to wildfires. Checking with your areas coding laws will be necessary before installation. Additionally, cedar shingles are much more expensive to install than asphalt, but last around the same amount of time. Also, be aware of the change in colours that will occur, as natural materials tend to fade or discolour with exposure to the elements.

Cement Shingles:


A more uncommon type of roofing material is cement. Out of all the different shingle types, cement is one of the most durable. Often used in unusual designs for its customization, cement will be long lasting.


This type of shingle is extremely heavy, making it quite unsuitable for many homes. Additionally, it requires a high degree of experience to install, making labour costs and overall pricing quite high. 

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