Types of Roof Shingles

By HomeAdvisor

Updated January 20, 2021

aerial view of residential house roof

You know you want shingles, but you’re not sure what material or style to choose. This guide helps you narrow down the best shingles. We’ll compare shingles of varying materials, including asphalt, metal, tile, stone, wood and composites. We’ll also cover every style, including architectural, Victorian, modern, contemporary and classic wooden shake.

Quality shingles act as a protective barrier to your property, help keep your home adequately insulated and potentially increase your home’s overall value. Knowing a bit about your shingle options enables you to find an affordable and effective way to cover your home.

On This Page:

  1. How to Choose the Best Shingle Styles
    1. How to Buy Roof Shingles
  2. Types of Shingles Materials
    1. Asphalt
    2. Clay Tile
    3. Wood
    4. Metal
    5. Slate
    6. Composite
    7. Solar
  3. Best Roof Shingles Comparison
    1. Best Quality
    2. Longest Lasting
    3. Quietist
    4. Most Lightweight
    5. Most Durable
    6. Most Expensive Shingles
  4. Metal vs. Asphalt Shingles
  5. Best Roof Shingle Brands

How to Choose the Best Shingle Styles

To choose the best shingle for your home, you’ll want to compare the various materials, types and styles. You’ll also want to consider:

  • Budget: Your budget goes a long way to narrowing down the type and style. You can choose from expensive luxury to budget shingles.
  • Climate: Different materials and styles fair better in different environments.
    • Wind: If you live in an area of the country with high winds, like hurricane regions and some mountain states, you’ll want to consult a professional. They will help you determine if you need Class F or Class G wind-rated shingles.
    • Temperatures: Metal and slate both do extremely well in areas with heavy snowfall and extremely cold temperatures. Fiberglass asphalt shingles do well across a wide range of temperatures.
  • Roof structure: Asphalt, composite and metal roof shingles don’t weigh much. They’re suitable for just about any roof, depending on the slope. On the other hand, slate and clay tiles are heavy. Consult a pro before choosing either type.
  • Design: You’ll want to choose something that matches both your home’s style and blends in well with neighborhood design. Luckily, you can find composite shingles that look like metal, slate or tile. You can also find metal shingles that look like asphalt and composites.

How to Buy Roof Shingles

Roof shingles are priced by the square foot, but you’ll purchase them by the square. Choosing where to buy, and whether to do it yourself or hire a pro, is an important decision.

  • Professional Roofers: The best way to buy roof shingles is through your pro. If you’re having a roofer do your installation, they’ll calculate how much you’ll need, purchase it on your behalf and bring it to the site. They may even be able to provide product discounts through their manufacturer relationships.
  • Home Improvement Store: You can buy them yourself at a home improvement store like Home Depot, Lowes and Menards, or a roofing supply house like ABC Supply Co.
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Types of Shingles Materials

There are quite a few shingle materials to choose from, each with pros and cons. No single option is best for every home, just what works best for your home.

Shingle installation costs $3,600 to $120,000, including materials. That wide range of prices reflects a wide range of choices. Not only will you want to compare the prices, but also what you get for that . Consider the durability, warranty, impact resistance, fire rating and wind ratings.

Material Cost Per Square Foot
Asphalt $3 – $6
Clay Tile $8 – $25
Wood $4 – $7
Metal $7 – $14
Slate $10 – $20
Composite/Recycled $3 – $16
Solar $21 – $25

1. Asphalt Shingles

asphalt roof shingles

Asphalt shingles come in three primary grades: 3-tab, dimensional and luxury. The best asphalt shingles come with some combination of a 50-year warranty, class A fire rating, a high wind rating and a high impact rating.


  • Can mimic wood, slate or tile
  • There are several different sizes, colors and styles to choose from.
  • Many of them meet Energy Star standards, which allows you to save on energy bills.


  • Doesn’t last as long as other materials
  • Not environmentally friendly
  • Can only be used on pitched roofs.

Asphalt shingles cost $300 to $600 per square. Examples of color and style options include:

  • Weathered wood
  • Barkwood
  • Slate
  • Charcoal

2. Clay Tile Shingles

clay roofing tiles

If it’s style you’re going for, you may find the perfect match in tile shingles. Tile shingles can be molded in several different shapes and are often made in lighter colors, which keeps them cool. They are often seen on properties that have a colonial Spanish or Mediterranean style.


  • Excellent for the environment
  • Excellent insulation in hot climates
  • Usually increases a home’s value
  • Some of the most visually appealing and enduring (lasting for roughly 80 years)


  • Expensive to install and maintain
  • Heavier than most roofs
  • Not great for cold climates
  • Can cause roof leaks from small cracks or holes in broken tiles

Tile roofs cost $800 to $2,500 per square. Tile shingles may be too heavy to be placed on your roof, especially if you had asphalt shingles before. Be sure to have your home’s structure thoroughly examined by a trusted and experienced roofing contractor.

3. Wood Shingles

wood shake shingles

Wood shake shingles are unique and give your home a classic look. While timeless in look, they’re not always allowed nor recommended due to fire hazards and building codes. They require quite a bit of upkeep and are not easy to install.


  • More environmentally friendly than other types of shingles
  • Durable and lasts up to 50 years
  • Energy-efficient


  • Fire hazard that may raise insurance rates
  • Difficult to install and maintain
  • Susceptible to mold and termites

Wood shake and shingles cost $400 to $700 per square. The price of falls right between affordable asphalt shingles and more expensive tile shingles.

4. Metal Shingle Roofing

red metal roof

If the roofline of your home is steep or flat, you may want to opt for a metal roof. Made with either constructed or solid metal, this type of roof is both durable and enduring. Metal roofing is very affordable when constructed from a low-galvanized metal. Other types of metal to install include copper, tin, zinc and aluminum.


  • Last you for as many as 50 years
  • Great for high wind areas
  • Can be coated with a rubber roof to extend life


  • Noisy in hail or rain
  • Requires regular inspections and maintenance

Metal roofs cost $700 to $1,400 per square. You can purchase metal shingles or sheet metal roofing.

5. Slate Shingles

slate tile shingles

When you own a slate shingle roof, you will need to deal with repairs like flashing replacement, replacing tiles because of weather conditions or fixing fasteners. In most cases you will need to rely on a slate shingle professional for these repairs. Because these materials are so heavy to deal with, there is serious risk of personal injury if you try to DIY repairs.


  • Last anywhere from 80-100 years
  • Best water and damage resistance properties
  • Can come in several color options like green, black, gray or red


  • Pricey when compared with other types
  • Expensive to repair, because there aren’t very many companies that specialize in this particular type of material
  • Quite heavy and may not be an ideal match if your home can’t easily handle the weight

Slate roofs cost $1,000 to $2,000 per square to install. It costs more than most types of roofing, besides maybe clay tile, but it’ll last 2 to 4 times longer than most. Many current “slate” offerings are composite shingles, which look like slate but at a much lower price and much lighter weight.

6. Composite Shingles

composite wood-like shingles

Composite shingles, a mixture of new and often recycled plastics, wood, paper, asphalt and fiberglass. They’re slightly more expensive than asphalt, but they usually last longer and perform a little better.


  • Long warranty
  • Made to mimic all types of roofing shingles
  • Often made from recycled materials
  • Lighter than asphalt


  • Do not perform as well as other options in cold climates
  • Slightly more expensive than asphalt

Composite shingles cost $300 to $1,600 per square. You’ll want to have a professional install these.

7. Solar Shingles

solar shingles

Solar shingles cost almost twice as much as installing a typical asphalt roof with solar panels mounted to it. The price continually drops as technology improves. Even though they’re more expensive, they’re a more environmentally responsible option than a roof plus solar panels.


  • Pay for themselves over time
  • Look like high-end slate
  • Extremely environmentally responsible


  • Extremely expensive installation
  • Requires a professional installer
  • Only work well in sunny southern climates

Solar shingles cost $2,100 to $2,500 per square. However, they will likely make back what you spent on them over their lifetime, depending on how much solar energy you get.

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Best Roof Shingles Comparison

Best for: Material
Environmental Responsibility Recycled Composite, Clay or Wood, Solar
Extreme Cold Slate or Metal
All-around Asphalt
Extreme Heat Clay Tile
Extreme Wind Clay Tile, Slate and Metal
Long-Life Clay and Slate
Quietest Asphalt and Clay
Durability Slate and Metal
Lightest Wood, Composite and Metal
Quality All have good quality offerings

Best Quality Roof Shingles

Almost all brands and styles have offerings that range from low priced economical choices to high-quality designer and luxury options. Most often, the larger your budget, the higher quality and longer lasting roofing material you ‘ll get.

Long Lasting Roof Shingles

Clay tiles and slate have been known to last well over 100 years. Some real slate roofs, with proper maintenance last 200 or more years.

Quietest Roof Shingles

The quietest roof shingles you ‘ll find are asphalt, composite and clay. The softer and thicker materials help insulate from rain and hail, but also from city sounds and wind. Metal has a reputation for being noisy, but you can get granular coated metal shingles that dampen the sound.

Lightweight Roof Shingles

Composite, wood and metal shingles produce the lightest weight you ‘ll find. Most tiny homes on wheels and any other mobile style home uses metal or composite to save on weight. However, some coated metal shingles that mimic dimensional asphalt come in about the same weight as asphalt.

Most Durable Shingles

Slate and metal shingles withstand incredible impacts, wind and extreme temperatures. However, many wood and asphalt products make similar claims.

Most Expensive Roofing Shingles

Solar shingles are the most expensive to purchase and install given the special nature of the installation. The cost of materials as well as the need for skilled labor makes slate shingles the most expensive, traditional roofing material.

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Metal Roof vs. Asphalt Shingles

Comparing metal vs. asphalt shingles requires understanding all the pros and cons of the two. Metal roofs often invoke images of corrugated sheet metal in greens, blues and greys. But you can also find metal shingles coated with granules that look and act just like asphalt. You ‘ll also find an eclectic mix of copper, Victorian and ultra-modern styles. It ‘s not just sheet metal anymore.

Best Roof Shingle Brands

There are dozens of brands and manufacturers of roofing materials. While that creates a lot of choices, the competition also creates constant innovation and better roofs. That ‘s a win for homeowners. But, with new technologies and shingles produced so often, it ‘s hard to declare a winner. Your local installer can best point you towards the brands they ‘ve had the best results with. Some of those brands include:

  • Pabco
  • Malarkey
  • IKO
  • Owens Corning
  • Tamko
  • Atlas
  • Certainteed
  • GAF
  • Brava

Top Rated Roofing Shingles

Finding the top-rated roofing shingles starts with the research you just did. Now that you have a better idea of the material and style you want on your home, find a top rated local roofing installer. They ‘ll help you narrow down the exact brand and style that best fits your homes design, location and budget.

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  1. Karan Paulson, October 28:

    I used to hear that shingles should be installed when weather is warm. Is this still true or can the fiberglass shingles be installed in cool-weather(fall temperatures.)

  2. Jason, October 29:

    Yes, shingles should be installed when it’s not too hot or too cold. Reason is so that the grit on the shingles isn’t too brittle (cold) or soft (hot).

  3. anne coons, March 3:

    what is the best thickness, length and width for wood shingles for a log cabin?

  4. Corey Fellis, March 9:

    I really enjoyed the roofing style homes I saw in the west coast. I always said they were called stucko but not really sure. The tile shingles appear to have the most benefits. Definitely not a DIY job. Thanks for this post.

  5. Daisy Butterfield, June 19:

    There are different types of shingles available for use in roofing. They differ from one type to the other. That is why it is important to know about each type to guide your selection of the type that’s most suited for your roofing design. It’s great that you have shared this types of shingles here.

  6. Dennis, June 30:

    are both safeguard30 hybrid underlayment and atlas slipsheet fr10 used together?
    Is it recommended?

  7. Bill, August 27:

    Just bought a house with 5yr old shingled roof,shallow slope. Is there any way I can tell what class of shingles were used? The former owners plead ignorance

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