What Are The Different Types of Roof Shingles?

Asphalt Shingles Photo. Close Up View On Asphalt Roofing Shingle

With so many shingles on the market it can get overwhelming as to what each one does. Or which is the best to fit your needs. Today we talk about the different types of roof shingles and their properties to help guide you to the best decision for your roof.

3 Tab Asphalt Shingles

3 tab asphalt are the most common and affordable shingles used on roof replacements or new homes. There are three main types of asphalt shingles: architectural style asphalt shingles, fiberglass asphalt, and 3-tab asphalt. 3 tab are the most affordable but they are thinner and have an organic mat base which leads to them wearing out faster than the other two options. 

Fiberglass Asphalt Shingles

Fiberglass asphalt cost more than traditional asphalt. But they are lightweight meaning they cost less to install. Since they use less asphalt, it makes them more environmentally friendly. Plus they are more fire resistant. The downside is since they are thinner they don’t last as long so your roof will need to be replaced more often. They are also not suited to colder climates because they provide less insulation and tend to crack at cold temperatures. 

Architectural Shingles

Architectural shingles are more durable than 3 tab. They have a more sculpted look that many homeowners love. But aside from looking prettier they have an extra laminate layer. Which contours them to look more designed but also helps them last longer. These can last for 30  to 50 years with proper maintenance.

Metal Shingles

We got in depth into metal roofs here but the highlights are; these are not only durable but lightweight. So if your roof can’t withstand a lot of weight this may be your best option. They install much faster than asphalt shingles. And they can last between 40 to 70 years. You are also not limited style wise. There are lots of different metals, finishes, and colors for metal shingles. 

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Wood Shingles 

Wood roof shingles are made from several different types of wood that are split into thin sections. There are two major style options; shingles where the wood is cut into perfect shapes like you’d see with something like asphalt. The other option is wood shakes sawn off and hand split giving them a more rustic feeling. These can last between 15 to 50 years. Their lifespan is dependent on what type of wood was used and how that wood was treated prior to installation.

Solar Shingles

Solar shingles are significantly more expensive than the previously mentioned options since they generate electricity. Luckily you probably won’t need to install them all over your roof so you can mix them with a more affordable option. The reason for this is they work best on the south side of a roof. It is possible to do eastern and western exposures but they don’t function as well and that is wholly dependent on your location and roof. Their lifespan is also shorter at 20 to 25 years but hopefully by that point you have saved enough on electricity to cover the higher initial cost.

Slate Shingles

Slate shingles are a stone roofing material. While they are cut into thin layers they can get heavy once they are all together and installed. Many homeowners do this for the overall look of slate since color and style options are limited to mostly the look of the natural stone. But despite their higher price tag and weight, when installed properly they can last between 60 to 150 years.

Rubber Shingles

Rubber shingles in their final form may look a lot like asphalt shingles. While they do cost more than asphalt they require less maintenance. They can also save money on energy costs. And those savings should offset the higher cost over their 15 to 25 year lifespan. The type of rubber you use also factors in TPO and PVC are more affordable. EPDM is probably the most expensive option.

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Compostable Plastic Shingles

Compostable plastic are a debatably more environmentally friendly option to asphalt shingles. They are produced from lightweight plastic materials getting more life out of used plastic products. They come in a variety of style options that can even mimic stone slate tiles or wood shakes. But they are more lightweight than either of these two options which is a great solution if your roof cannot handle a heavier option. The downside is they only last 7 to 20 years depending on your choice of plastic. This means you’ll need to replace your roof more frequently than many other options. Replacing your roof more frequently means more waste overall. This is a major drawback to consider given their environmentally friendly intentions. 

Tile Shingles

Tile roofing shingles are one of the most durable you can install. Depending on what type you choose the cost of the materials themselves isn’t terribly expensive but you will pay a premium on labor to install them. If tile shingles are placed on a mortar bed they have a habit of slipping off after a decade or so. You also may need to have your roof straightened to hold the extra weight of the tile. With all that being said, with proper installation, they can last up to 100 years. 


There you have it, a basic rundown of the most popular types of shingles on the market. What is right for you will depend heavily on your home itself, location, lifestyle, preferences, and lets not forget HOA regulations. You should consult with a professional roofer to get a better gauge on your needs but this gives you a starting point on what your options may be and questions to consider.


If you want to know more about shingles give us a call today at (636) 699-0449 or request your free inspection today. You can also follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter. If you’re in the St. Charles County area and looking for an experienced roofing and siding contractor, we are bringing forth over 20 years of experience in the roofing industry. That’s something you can trust and especially if we’re in your neck of the woods.