There is a multitude of residential roofing materials that can be used in homes today. Below we walk through each major type and describe the advantages and disadvantages.
This shingle type is the most common material as well as the most economical material a homeowner can choose. Asphalt shingles are the thinnest type of material and their lifespan is approximately 25 years. The asphalt shingles are a manufactured product of either organic materials or fiberglass. The fiberglass asphalt varieties are light in weight and fire retardant with built-in UV ray protection. Organic asphalt shingles are manufactured using recycled wood chips, paper, cardboard, and cloth. This type of asphalt shingle is much heavier vs. fiberglass. These organic shingles may also be called mat asphalt shingles. Organic shingles can have problems in humid climates as the moisture and freezing can shorten their lifespan. Even though there are some kinds that can be purchased that are thicker they will still have a similarly shorter lifespan. Both asphalt shingle varieties are available in a wide verity of colors to accent or contrast your home's color.
Architectural shingles are asphalt shingles that are made to be thicker than normal ones. There are additional differences, to include textural appearance. Architectural shingles are often called dimensional shingles. They are made of a heavy fiberglass mat with ceramic-coated grounds. Given the composite nature of these shingles and their weight, they have a longer lifespan of 30 years.
Wood shingles are obviously a natural product and are much more expensive than traditional asphalt materials; however, they do offer an attractive roofline appeal. Wood shingles are available in several wood varieties to include redwood, cedar, and an aged wood composite color shingle. Wood shingles are a very durable material that can have a lifespan of 35 to 50 years. Again, the one downside is the cost.
Slate tile shingles are very common and popular with certain styles of residential home and are highly wear-resistant because they are a hard natural material. They typically have a lifespan of up to 100 years. These tiles are commonly seen in Mediterranean and European style homes.
Solar shingles are a manufactured integrated photovoltaic roof material. Consequently, they generate electricity from solar light. Solar shingles - they are also solar tiles or just tiles - are manufactured from unique electronic materials that naturally generate electricity when in the presence of sunlight.
How to Make a Decision about Shingles
When you need to choose what shingles are right for your home and application, as you can see there are a number of variables to consider. These factors include budget, lifespan, warranty, style, and color. Additionally, the location of your house as well as what part of the country you live in will also be factors. Climate and the amount of yearly sunshine you home receives will further help you narrow (or expanded) your choices. While most homeowners go with an asphalt variety of shingle due to cost and plethora of style/color options, in today’s roofing materials market, your options are much more varied. Slate, wood, and even solar are now popular options and should be considered if budget is less of an issue.