Trying to find the best types of roof shingles to consider for your home?

You can’t cut corners when it comes to protecting your home (and family) from harsh, often unpredictable elements in the outside world. While modern roofing materials are made to last a lifetime, it can still be difficult to decide which roof shingles will actually work best for your home in the long run.

With that said, we looked at ten different types of roof shingles and roofing materials so that you didn’t have to, in order to determine the most accurate pros and cons of each based on a range of factors, including:

  • Durability ????
  • Lifespan ⏳
  • Cost ????
  • Aesthetics ✨
  • Ease of installation ????
  • Existing roofing ????
  • Maintenance requirements ????

Are you overwhelmed by all your roofing options? Keep reading our easy-to-follow guide below for an in-depth comparison of ten common shingle types before choosing the best types of roof shingles for your next roof replacement.

roof replacement

Comparing the Top 10 Most Common Types of Roof Shingles

From your standard asphalt shingles and classic wood shakes to custom copper roofing and specialized stone-coated steel shingles, materials for roofing your home are in no shortage these days.

See the pros and cons of ten different types of roof shingles below before choosing the one that’s right for you:

1) 3-Tab Asphalt Shingles

As America’s most popular roofing material, you can’t go wrong with a 3-tab asphalt roof (although other asphalt shingles are more durable).

Pros ✅

  • Affordable and easy to install
  • Suitable for a range of roof slopes
  • Various shingle colors offered
  • Decent durability for the price
  • Fair fire and wind ratings
  • Simple to repair and maintain
  • Matches many aesthetics
  • Moderate weight

???? Cons ????

  • Shorter life expectancy than other roofing materials
  • Less durable roofing material than other shingle types
  • Moss and algae growth is expected in humid climates
  • Not eco-friendly (asphalt shingles are made from a byproduct of crude oil refining)
  • Flat in appearance as opposed to more dimensional shingles

2) Architectural Asphalt Shingles/Luxury Asphalt Shingles

Some other asphalt shingle options are luxury asphalt shingles or architectural shingles, which have a similar price range to regular asphalt but offer a few more benefits.

Pros ✅

  • Heavier and thicker than 3-tab asphalt shingles
  • Higher endurance and durability than a new asphalt shingle roof
  • Impressive wind resistance (rated up to 130 mph vs. asphalt shingles’ 60 mph rating)
  • Greater impact resistance for damage from hail and fallen debris
  • Moderately longer lifespan than standard asphalt shingles
  • Improves home value and curb appeal
  • Typically comes with a decent warranty
  • Many unique styles of architectural shingles available
  • Creates interesting dimension, texture, and color contrast

???? Cons ????

  • Costlier than traditional asphalt shingles
  • Heavier weight means you’ll need a solid sub-surface (might require repairs first)
  • Still may need replacing after only 20 to 30 years
  • Also asphalt-based, so not necessarily a sustainable shingle

Still confused? Calculate your asphalt roof cost with this helpful cost estimator.

3) Wood Shingles & Wood Shakes

If you’re a homeowner prepared for the highest levels of maintenance and regular home improvement projects each year, consider wood shingles or shakes made from cedar trees. While both wood shakes and shingles may require intense upkeep, they can also boost curb appeal tenfold when tended to properly.

types of shingles wood

Pros ✅

  • Huge boost to home value and curb appeal when installed as residential roofing
  • High levels of wind resistance (170 to 245 mph depending on shingle size, shape, and cut)
  • Impressive Class 4 impact resistance rating
  • Acts as a natural home insulator to help lower energy bills
  • Eco-friendly roofing option

???? Cons ????

  • Significantly lower resistance to rot, water damage, pest infestation, fire, and other weather conditions
  • Intense annual maintenance requirements
  • More costly installation, repairs, and upkeep than other options
  • Requires specialized, expert installation
  • Lower lifespan than tile roof shingles (roof replacement required every 20-40 years)

4) Metal Shingles & Standing Seam Metal Roofs

Moving away from your more typical materials like asphalt and wood shingles, we’re seeing a bigger influx of metal roofing installations across the US. Between affordable tin and aluminum options for barns or garages, the beautiful, quaint copper roofs we see today, and your standard steel shingles for storefronts, you have a wide variety of metal roofing styles to select from.

Pros ✅

  • Lightweight roofing material
  • Recyclable roofing material
  • Lower heat absorption than asphalt shingles
  • Many feel metal roofing offers sleek aesthetics
  • Bright colors available
  • Durable in severe weather
  • Impressive fire resistance
  • Low maintenance
  • Long lifespan

???? Cons ????

  • Higher initial cost than asphalt shingles
  • Longer installation times (can’t be installed over your old shingled roof)
  • Difficult to repair individual pieces using an exact, color-matched shingle or panel
  • May show rust or green patina (copper roofing) with age
  • A metal roof may get noisy during hail storms
  • More easily scratched or scuffed during maintenance, repairs, or installation
  • Costlier and heavier material than other roofing options
  • Rusting around nails and seams may become evident over time

5) Rubber Roof Shingles

Many homeowners are choosing to move away from these less sustainable shingles, using greener options like rubber roof shingles instead.

Pros ✅

  • High impact resistance, waterproofing, and wind ratings (160 mph)
  • Mimics the look of a natural stone roofing material at a lower price
  • Making the roofing industry more sustainable, as it looks like asphalt shingle roofing but doesn’t require fossil fuels to manufacture and is made from many recycled materials
  • Good insulator to help improve home energy efficiency
  • Can be shaped to look like slate tiles, asphalt shingles, or wood shake
  • Effective for noise reduction

???? Cons ????

  • Requires a specialized and certified roofer to install
  • Higher cost than composite shingles or classic asphalt shingles, and pricing can be unpredictable
  • Shorter lifespan than other options like slate roofs
  • More maintenance required compared to slate and clay tiles or even asphalt roofing shingles

6) Composite Shingles

Although they’re not quite as eco-friendly as rubber roof shingles, composition shingles can still be quite cost-effective and sustainable compared to the other more typical types of asphalt shingles.

Pros ✅

  • Highly customizable in terms of color, shape, size, and application
  • Durable and resistant to rot or algae growth
  • Accessible, mid-range pricing per square foot
  • Impressive warranty offerings
  • Composite shingles can last up to 50 years
  • Mimics slate roofing and other high-end asphalt shingle types

???? Cons ????

  • Installation costs can be higher compared to an asphalt shingle roof
  • Less sustainable than other roofing shingles
  • Low fire rating

7) Slate Shingles

Luxury shingles made from asphalt can move aside when you choose slate shingles instead. This top-notch material will make you look younger than ever when it outlasts your own lifespan.

Pros ✅

  • Beautiful and durable roof shingle
  • Lasts a lifetime (100+ years)
  • Biggest impact on curb appeal and property value
  • Extremely low maintenance

???? Cons ????

  • Highest initial installation or roof replacement cost in comparison to other roof shingle options
  • Most expensive types of roof shingles per square foot
  • Requires extremely sturdy and durable frame or base due to the weight of slate tiles
  • Hard to find a roofing contractor who can install slate tiles correctly

8) Concrete & Clay Tiles

Depending on where you live, you might want to consider concrete tiles or clay tiles for your new roof; here’s why:

Pros ✅

  • Strong hail, wind, and fire resistance
  • Long lifespans upwards of 50+ years
  • Pest resistant and low-maintenance
  • Suits many specific regional styles and design aesthetics (i.e., Florida, Southwest, coastal California, countryside villa)
  • Adds immense value to your home
  • Help reduce energy consumption and costs
  • Several color options available

???? Cons ????

  • Clay and concrete tiles are heavy, so a solid base should already be installed underneath for support
  • Both can break with enough force or physical contact
  • Difficult and time-consuming installation processes
  • Two of the more costly types of shingles
  • Algae growth is common on all kinds of tiles

9) Solar Panels

Solar shingles are gaining traction compared to metal roof shingles and other roofing styles, despite the higher cost per square foot. However, the benefits of solar panels mounted on your home might outweigh the drawbacks. See below:

Pros ✅

  • Significant return on investment (ROI) with energy savings over time
  • Typically boosts home value these days, depending on the buyer
  • Reduces your family’s carbon footprint
  • You may be eligible for special government tax incentives
  • Minimal maintenance requirements and decent relative lifespan (20 years)

???? Cons ????

  • Initial installation can be extremely lengthy and relatively costly ($4-10 per square foot)
  • You’ll need to hire a roofer specializing in solar shingles
  • Can’t be installed just anywhere due to HOA rules, local building codes, space limitations, and even house location or orientation to the sun
  • Some prospective home buyers think they lower curb appeal (although others consider it a huge plus)
  • Only primarily available in one standard style, but various models are offered from some of the best roof shingle brands like CertainTeed, GAF, and Luna
  • Shorter warranties than other roofing options

10) Flat Roofing

Our last option on the list of best roofing shingles is a flat roof, which doesn’t even feature roofing shingles if we’re being technical. Instead, these roof shingles are better made for commercial, industrial, and retail structures. Flat roofs are made from a broad scope of materials, such as:

  • Thermoplastic membrane (PVC or TPO)
  • Built-up roofing (BUR)
  • Rubber membrane (EPDM)
  • Modified bitumen
  • Spray-on polyurethane
  • Concrete and metal roofing shingles or panels

See the pros and cons of a flat roof here:

Pros ✅

  • Cheaper than pitched roofing
  • Fast and noninvasive installation process
  • Easy to maintain
  • Best for commercial buildings, businesses, and multi-unit housing
  • Good base to install solar panels and HVAC systems
  • Leaves extra space for other functions (patios, bike storage, utility equipment, rooftop gardens, etc.)

???? Cons ????

  • Lacks style or visual appeal for residential roofing
  • Prone to drainage issues over time (and without proper maintenance)
  • Less durable and stable than sloped roofing systems
  • Not every roofing contractor has the bandwidth or knowledge to install them, so you may need to hire a specialized company

Average Cost of a New Roof

Are you still unsure about the best type of roofing for your home or business because of your budget constraints? Explore this breakdown based on costs to make a better decision according to your home, budget, and needs:

Installing the Best Roofing Shingles for Your Home

Now that you know the ins and outs of every roof shingle and material out there, you’re more than equipped to make an educated decision about what’s best for your home. While the material you choose is important, the contractor your choose to install it will make all the difference in the long run. That’s why it’s crucial to do your research and pick a trusted local roofing company.

If you happen to be located near Indianapolis, make sure to contact the friendly and professional crew at The Heartland Builders. Call us today to begin your next roof replacement with a stylish and long-lasting shingle roof!