Compare Roofing Shingles

Jan 01, 2011

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Shingles before installation

There are many kinds of roofing shingles available for your home. Usually, the main factor when you compare roofing shingles is budget. The cost varies enormously between a 3-tab asphalt shingle and a slate shingle. Other considerations include climate, architectural style of your home and the environmental impact of the product. Here we compare roofing shingles through a quick rundown of what’s available, from least expensive to most expensive.

Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles, which are the most common kind of shingle, come in many styles and price points. They are appropriate for any climate, are wind-resistant and easy to maintain. The basic asphalt shingle is a 3-tab shingle; it’s available in many colors, but offers no textural interest.

Architectural shingles are laminated asphalt, which brings depth of color and texture for a more natural appearance. You can compare roofing shingles that mimic natural elements such as stone and wood among the laminated asphalt types. Most homeowners choose an architectural shingle for the look and the low cost difference between it and the 3-tab shingle.

When you compare roofing shingles made of asphalt, you can differentiate between those reinforced with organic materials and those reinforced with fiberglass materials. Organic shingles consist of a felt base covered with asphalt and colored mineral granules. Fiberglass shingles have a fiberglass mat between layers of asphalt and mineral granules. Fiberglass shingles have the better fire rating. Consumers looking for eco-friendly choices can choose an asphalt shingle that has reflective granules to reduce heat transfer from the roof to the attic. Some of these are made using recycled materials.

Synthetic Shingles

Synthetic shingles are pricier than asphalt shingles. They are made to look like other roofing materials like slate, wood shakes and tile. They are available in many colors and styles and are good for any climate. Since they are new to the market, the durability of material and color is still being determined. Many synthetic shingles are produced with recycled materials and may be recycled after use.

Metal Shingles

Metal isn’t just for commercial buildings anymore. It is available as a panel or shingle for residential applications. Shingles are made to look like other materials and panels offer clean lines which look equally appropriate on a farmhouse and on urban applications. Metal roofing offers durability and is ideal in harsh weather conditions. It is resistant to fire, hail, moisture and fungal growth and is low-maintenance. It’s also one of the more expensive roofing materials, which is worth noting in a roof shingle comparison. Metal roofing is fully recyclable and can be made of recycled materials.

Wood Shingles

Wood shingles are a choice for high-end applications, but a high-end budget is in order. They are certainly beautiful, but also high-maintenance. They are susceptible to rot and to insect damage. Typically, the fire rating is poor, though this depends on how they have been pretreated. Plus, wood shingles are expensive. If after your roof shingle comparison you decide that nothing but a wood shingle or shake will do, look for one that is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council to guarantee that the wood is from a well-managed forest.

Slate Shingles

Slate is elegant, whether in a new home or a historic home. It’s durable, withstands just about any weather, lasts for a long time and is low-maintenance. If you are reroofing, chances are that you would have to reinforce your roof trusses to accommodate the weight of slate. Slate is expensive. It is a natural – though non-renewable – resource and can be recycled. It leaves a large environmental footprint when the energy expended to get it from quarry to roof is considered.

When you compare roofing shingles, whether you are reroofing or building, you’ll probably choose an architectural asphalt shingle, but explore all of your options to find the best fit for your home.

Author Anne Burkley is a writer from central Pennsylvania. She specializes in marketing writing and feature articles on health and home improvement. Want to ask Anne something about her article? Send her a message.

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