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What Kind of Shingles Should I Get on My Roof

Updated: Jul 18, 2023

Shingles are perhaps the most essential roofing materials that protect you and your family from the elements. Built to be installed in an overlapping row pattern, shingles guide water toward the roof slope to keep your home dry. They are available in various colors, materials, and shapes.

Because the roof is a visible part of your home, you’ll want to buy shingles that showcase your design and aesthetic tastes. However, you must also consider cost, climate, utility, and durability factors.

These factors make selecting the best shingles for your roof more complicated than simply selecting a nice color and design. While you might be overwhelmed by the options available to you, we’ll help you understand different types of shingles and provide you with the criteria for choosing the right shingles for your roof.

Factors to Consider When Selecting Roofing Shingles

Here are the factors to take into account when choosing the best shingles for your unique roof:

Climate: Different shingle styles and materials perform better in varying environments. If your home area tends to have high winds, like some mountain hurricane-prone states and regions, you’ll need the advice of a professional to help you decide whether you need Class G or F wind-rated shingles.

Cost: Your budget will help you narrow down the style and type of shingle you want. You can select from low-cost to luxury shingles.

Design: When shopping for shingles, you should get something that matches the style of your home and blends in perfectly with your neighborhood’s design. The good news is that you can choose composite shingles that resemble tile, metal, or slate. In addition, there are metal shingles on the market that resemble composites and asphalt.

Type: Metal, composite, and asphalt roof shingles are pretty lightweight, and they’re perfect for almost any kind of roof, based on its slope. In contrast, clay and slate tiles are quite heavy. Make sure to consult a professional before going for any type.

Color: Shingles are available in a range of colors that’ll suit any decor. There are whites, blues, greens, reds, and bespoke colors out there. The darker the hue, the more heat your roof will absorb and retain. A lighter-colored roof creates a much cooler attic, so it might be better if you’ve got usable attic space.

Warranty: As a general rule, the costlier the shingle, the more durable it will be. However, this varies with architectural shingles. These designer shingles will cost more, but they might not last long.

The reputation of a shingle manufacturer determines the quality of a warranty. Stick with a well-known manufacturer rather than a fly-by-knight start-up company that may promise you the world but not stay in business long enough to fulfill it.

Common Shingle Roofing Materials

Roofing shingles come in many different designs and materials to select from. In the following section, you’ll learn about the various options available out there to help you make the right decision.

Asphalt Shingles

These are the most common residential roofing shingles in North America. They’re designed to last decades with minimal maintenance. They’re the best option for building professionals and homeowners as they’re affordable to buy and install and are available in various styles and colors to match just about any taste.

Asphalt shingles are available in three primary grades: luxury, dimensional, and 3-tab. Top asphalt shingles have a combination of a high-impact and high-wind rating, 5—year warranty, and class A fire rating.


  • There are many different styles, colors, and sizes to pick from

  • Many options are Energy Star-rated, helping you lower your energy bills

  • Many options resemble wood, tile, or slate shingles


  • Aren’t as durable as other materials

  • It can be used only on pitched roofs

  • Not environmentally-friendly

Wood Shingles

Wood shingles have always been made out of split wood pieces, and that old-fashioned look is still the favorite of many people. Cedar is one of the most common materials used to make wooden shingles. However, wood shingles are costly to buy and install and need more maintenance than just about any other material.


  • Energy-efficient

  • Durable and can even last 50 years

  • More environmentally friendly than other shingles


  • Susceptible to termites and mold

  • Installation and maintenance is hard work

  • Fire hazards can drive up insurance rates

Metal Shingles

Metal shingles are the best option for steep or flat rooflines. Made with either solid or constructed metal, metal shingles are durable as well as enduring. They are very affordable when made out of a low-galvanized metal. Install metal shingles include tin, aluminum, zinc, and copper.


  • Great for windy areas

  • It can last up to 50 years

  • Its shelf life can be extended by coating it with rubber


  • Requires regular maintenance and inspection

  • Noisy in rain or hail

Clay Tile Shingles

The mention of clay tile shingles evokes images of attractive Spanish colonial properties that are popular all over Texas and California. This type of roofing is not only beneficial for keeping your home cool through the dry, hot summers, but it’s also fire-resistant.

Traditional clay roof shingles are made from locally-sourced resources such as terracotta, while modern clay roof shingles are made out of various materials designed to be durable. Clay is also expensive to maintain and install, very heavy, as well as breakable.


  • One of the most aesthetically appealing and durable options (lasts for approximately 80 years)

  • Provides excellent insulation in areas with a hot climate

  • Very environmentally-friendly

  • Usually raises a home’s value


  • Not ideal for cold climates

  • Heavier than most types of roof

  • Costly to install and take care of

  • Holes or tiny cracks can result in roof leaks

Slate Shingles

Slate roof shingles are almost the same as clay tile shingles. They are commonly seen in areas with a lot of natural slate, though you’ll also find them all over North America. While they’re visually appealing, slate shingles are fragile, difficult to install, and expensive.


  • Provides the best damage and water resistance properties

  • Lasts for 80-100 years

  • Available in various color choices, including red, green, black, or gray


  • Costlier than other roofing shingles

  • Expensive to maintain as they aren’t many manufacturers that make slate shingles

  • Very heavy and may be unsuitable for homes that can’t easily support the weight

Solar Shingles

Solar shingles are becoming more and more popular with many homeowners. They are integrated into your current roof, creating a smoother, flatter look.

Solar shingles are twice as costly as installing standard asphalt shingles that come with solar panels installed. As technology continues to improve, this drives down their price. While solar panels are a costlier option, they’re a more cost-effective and environmentally-friendly choice than a roof with solar panels.


  • Very environmentally-friendly

  • Resemble luxury slate tiles

  • Pay for themselves eventually


  • Extremely expensive to install

  • Requires professional installation

  • Work well only in sunny southern climates

Composite Shingles

Composite shingles are slightly costlier than asphalt, made from a combination of new and recycled wood, plastic, paper, fiberglass, and asphalt, and composite shingles are slightly costlier than asphalt shingles but typically perform a bit better and last longer.


  • Usually made out of recycled materials

  • Made to resemble all kinds of roofing shingles

  • Lighter than asphalt

  • Long warranty


  • Slightly costlier than asphalt shingles

  • Don’t perform well in cold climates like other materials

Where to Buy Roof Shingles

The price of roofing shingles is determined by square feet. Deciding where to buy shingles and whether to hire a professional to install them or do it yourself is crucial.

Home improvement store: Roofing shingles are typically available at home improvement stores, and you can buy yours at your local store or well-known stores like Lowes, Home Depot, or Menards.

Professional roofing contractors: The best option is to buy your shingles from a professional roofing contractor. If you’ve hired a roofer to install your shingles, they’ll work out how much is needed, buy your shingles and bring them to your home. They can even get you discounts thanks to their relationships with manufacturers.

FAQs About What Kind of Shingles Should I Get on My Roof?

What Are the Best Roofing Shingles Out There?

Asphalt shingles are the best roofing material for most homes. They’re inexpensive, lightweight, and easy to set up. They are available in sheets that you can lay on your roof to create the look of costlier single shingles, like slate and cedar, which are installed one at a time.

What Are the Best Roofing Shingles to Layer on Your Roof?

The best roofing shingles to install on your roof include:

  • IKO Cambridge 3-tab

  • Atlas GlassMaster

  • Malarkey 3-Tab Shingles

  • TAMKO Heritage 3-tab

  • TAMKO Vintage

  • GAF Timberline Cool Series

  • CertainTeed Landmark Solaris

  • Owens Corning Oakridge

  • Tamko Elite Glass-Seal

  • Tamko Heritage

  • GAF Timberline HDZ

  • Atlas StormMaster Slate

  • IKO Cambridge

  • GAF Glenwood

How Are Architectural Shingles Different from 3-tab Shingles?

Also called dimensional shingles, architectural shingles give your roof a more dimensional appearance. In contrast, 3-tab shingles have one tab size and shape, and they’re flat.

How Are Architectural Shingles Different from Asphalt Shingles?

Architectural shingles are designed to look like slate or wood shingles, so rather than lie flat like classic asphalt shingles, they feature some shingles comprising a pair of layers laminated together to build a more contoured look.

Which Shingles Are Better: Owens Corning or GAF?

Regarding product quality, Owens Corning and GAF both have quality shingles. However, GAF shingles are better as they offer added protection from hail and wind.


Your roof shields your home from high winds, cold, heat, moisture, and other severe weather elements. That’s why it’s important to choose the right roofing shingles for your home based on your location, climate, favorite style, favorite color, and budget.

Ultimately, the right roofing shingles for your house are ones that will best meet your specific needs. Be sure to consult a professional roofing contractor with the expertise and experience to install the best shingles on your roof.

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