Advantages and Disadvantages of Various Shingle Types

Choosing your roof’s shingles can be a big task. Your roof is one of the most aspects of your home. Not only does it provide protection, but it creates curb appeal for your home. While you probably want shingles that match what everyone around you has, there are many types of shingles to choose from, each with different pros and cons.


Top Types of Asphalt Shingles

We’ve narrowed down the top types of asphalt shingles here with pros and cons for each to help you choose.

Asphalt shingles are the most popular types of shingles because they are the most affordable. Over 80% of homes have asphalt shingles on their home. They are available in many shapes and sizes to help you get the look you want. 

They help keep your home cool or warm, resist algae when treated, and protect it from hail damage.

Here are the top types of asphalt shingles.

3-Tab Shingles

Among the various shingle types, 3-tab shingles are the most prevalent. They offer an economical and fundamental roofing solution. These shingles are essentially thin strips of asphalt that appear flat when installed on your roof. Their lightweight nature stems from their single-strip construction, and they typically have a lifespan of 18 to 20 years.


  • The most affordable option
  • It can last up to 20 years with proper inspections


  • It can look basic
  • It may not withstand extreme temperatures


Luxury Shingles

Luxury or premium shingles, as the name implies, offer a higher standard of quality and come with a heftier price tag. These laminated asphalt shingles not only enhance your home’s appearance but also provide superior protection against inclement weather.

These dimensional shingles can replicate the aesthetics of wood shake or slate roofs, giving your home a luxurious look. Moreover, they excel in high winds, including severe weather conditions like tornadoes and hurricanes.


  • Available in a large number of colors
  • It can last up to 30 years


  • Higher cost
  • Heavyweight


Architectural Shingles

Architectural shingles represent an upgrade from standard 3-tab shingles, boasting two layers that create a multi-dimensional, textured look for your roof. These shingles are designed to mimic the appearance of other premium roofing materials like slate or wood shake, significantly enhancing your home’s curb appeal.

One of the advantages of architectural shingles is their ability to add depth to your roof without the need for additional structural support, making them a versatile and cost-effective choice. They typically have a lifespan of around 30 years, providing long-lasting protection for your home while also increasing its overall value and visual appeal.


  • High wind and snow load resistance
  • Customizable to mimic most looks


  • More expensive than 3-tab shingles
  • Heavier than 3-tab shingles


Wood Shingles

Wood shingles are obviously made of wood. The design is the same from roof to roof, and they provide a rustic look. They are weather resistant, but only in the right temperatures. If you live in an area that’s too wet, they could be prone to rotting or mod.


  • Depending on the type of wood, they can last up to 50 years
  • Provides dimension


  • Must be treated to prevent rotting or mold
  • There isn’t a lot of customization available


Aluminum Shingles

Metal roofing is gaining popularity thanks to its remarkable durability. Metal roofs are known for their longevity, and aluminum shingles, in particular, stand out for their flexibility compared to other metal roofing options. Notably, aluminum shingles do not demand extensive structural support, making them a suitable choice for older homes that may lack the necessary support for heavier roofing materials.


  • It can last up to 100 years
  • Offers many options for color and design


  • Much higher cost
  • Noisy in rain and other weather elements


Wood Shake Shingles

Wood shake shingles, akin to wood shingles, distinguish themselves by being hand sawed or split rather than uniformly cut. Their rustic appearance, characterized by the absence of uniformity, appeals to many homeowners seeking a distinctive look.

However, due to their wood composition, wood shake shingles are suitable for specific regions. In areas with excessive moisture, there’s a risk of the roof succumbing to rapid rot and mold growth.


  • Provides a unique look
  • It can last up to 40 years when treated properly


  • More expensive than wood shingles
  • Can rot or mold easily


Slate Tile

Slate tile, a metamorphic stone, is a sought-after choice in custom home construction. Its unique architectural design sets it apart from other roofing materials, and it boasts exceptional resistance to various weather elements, including strong winds.

Notably, slate roofs are fireproof, an appealing feature for many homeowners. Furthermore, their enduring beauty and durability often enhance a home’s overall value, making them a valuable investment for your property.


  • It can last as long as 75 years
  • Low maintenance


  • Much more expensive than other options
  • A very heavy material


Clay Tiles

Clay roof tiles are ceramic roofing materials that can be molded into various shapes and styles to match your roof’s design preferences. While they are frequently seen in the classic red terra cotta color, they are created by baking individual tiles. To enhance their durability and extend their lifespan, clay roof tiles often incorporate additional materials.


  • Requires little maintenance
  • Lasts as long as 100 years


  • Made from a heavy material
  • One of the most expensive types of shingles


Standing Seam Metal

Standing seam metal roofs feature hidden fasteners that remain unseen, enhancing the roof’s aesthetic appeal. With a lifespan of 40 years or more, they prove to be a wise investment for your home. Moreover, these roofs offer homeowners a plethora of options with a variety of colors and styles to choose from, allowing for customization to suit individual preferences.


  • It’s a maintenance-free option
  • Has incredible curb appeal


  • One of the most expensive options for shingled roofs
  • It can be noisy in bad weather


Corrugated Steel

Corrugated steel roofs are constructed from steel sheets that are formed into roofing panels with distinct ridges and grooves. While they may not be a prevalent choice for residential homes, they are frequently employed for roofing purposes on structures like barns and other sections of residential properties.


  • Reflects the sun away, keeping the area cool
  • It may last up to 45 years


  • Fasteners may be exposed, which isn’t aesthetically pleasing
  • The final appearance isn’t great for curb appeal on a residential home


Composite Plastic Shingles

Composite plastic shingles are crafted from recycled materials, primarily plastic. They have the remarkable ability to replicate the appearance of various roof styles and are known for being a lightweight roofing option, making them well-suited for a wide range of homes. However, it’s important to note that due to their plastic composition, their lifespan tends to be shorter compared to other roofing alternatives.


  • An eco-friendly option
  • Inexpensive


  • Short lifespan
  • Not good in extreme weather conditions


Copper Shingles

Copper shingles stand as one of the most enduring roofing choices available. They are installed in panels rather than traditional shingles. Thanks to their impressive fire resistance, opting for copper shingles can potentially lead to reduced home insurance costs. Additionally, these shingles boast resistance to mold and algae, setting them apart from many other shingle options.


  • Long-lasting
  • It may increase your home’s value


  • Loud in bad weather (rain, etc.)
  • Much higher cost than most options


Rubber Roof Shingles

Rubber roof shingles replicate the appearance of traditional asphalt shingles, but they are crafted from rubber materials. These shingles offer the advantage of minimal maintenance, making them an attractive option for homeowners. However, it’s worth noting that they tend to be pricier due to the materials involved. Rubber roof shingles are typically composed of recycled rubber and other components, including plastic.


  • Mold and mildew resistant
  • Low maintenance


  • It can have an unpleasant odor
  • Can be costly




What is the most common type of shingle?

Asphalt shingles are found on most homes. They are the most affordable and the most flexible for home types. You can find asphalt shingles in various colors and designs to create the look you desire on your home.


What shingles last the longest?

Luxury shingles last the longest asphalt shingle because of their dimension. They are comprised of layers rather than a single layer like 3-tab shingles. They can withstand bad weather because they are thicker and require less maintenance.

If you’re looking for a different material, clay and copper shingles last the longest but are much more expensive than asphalt shingles.


What is the best type of shingle for roofing?

There isn’t a single best shingle for roofing. The best shingle for your home depends on the weather and temperature in your area, the lifespan you desire, and the amount of maintenance you can handle.


Final Thoughts

When it comes to choosing the ideal shingles for your roof, it’s essential to clarify your specific preferences and requirements. Consider what you expect from your roof:

  • Are you seeking a particular aesthetic style?
  • Do you desire a roof with a lifespan of 40 years or more?
  • Are concerns such as noise reduction, weather resistance, or fire resistance important to you?

Engaging in a conversation with your roofing contractor is a valuable step. They can provide insights into the most popular shingle options in your region and help you evaluate how each option aligns with your budget and priorities. Collaboratively, you can determine the optimal shingle type for your home.