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Types of Roof Shingles

Over the years, Ja-Mar has dealt with many different types of roof shingles. Each shingle serves the same function of protecting your home from the elements. However, they do it in vastly different ways. Here are just a few of the types we have seen while in the field.


Metal roof shingles are made of copper, steel, or most likely aluminum. Many metal roofs use recycled material. Also, metal roofs boast a longer lifespan than many other materials.

These types of shingles can emulate the look of other shingle types. By placing the metal into a mold, it can evoke the look of wood, tile, and more. Metal can even look like asphalt by coating small granules on the top of it.

Working with metal can be harder than working with any other materials. Walking on metal roofs can be difficult without the right knowledge. Installation costs on metal shingles can be higher than other types of roofing as well.


Solar shingles are a strong, economical way to protect your home from bad weather. They can even look like asphalt and metal shingles when needed.

The benefit of solar shingles lies in their energy generation. While other types of shingles will let energy escape, solar shingles generate energy. This can offset any installation costs in the long-run as long as the solar power is going to the right places.


Asphalt is the most common shingle material on the market. These shingles are easy to manufacture, sturdy against weather, and affordable for homeowners. Also, the standard asphalt shingle delivers a lifespan of 15-30 years. The cost to lifespan ratio is enormous, making it one of the best types of roof shingles for you.

Asphalt shingles often come in two options:


These types of roof shingles are a combination of traditional asphalt and fiberglass. Costs are kept down without compromising the strength of the shingle. Fiberglass also creates a lighter and thinner material, which is easier for roof replacement and repair projects.


Organic asphalt shingles are made of felt paper coated with asphalt. The paper provides the structure of the shingle. These models consist of 40% more asphalt than their fiberglass counterparts. Organic asphalt is a durable, flexible material that stands against the harsh weather. It can also cost more.


This type of shingle is a composite material made of cement and a form of fiberglass. Fiber-cement shingles can often be found under other names such as transite or eternit. The material is sturdy and can withstand an enormous amount of duress.

One of the standout elements of fiber cement shingles is its fireproof qualities. Fiber cement can withstand up to four hours of being in a fire before it starts to fall apart.

Before the 1980s, fiber cement was made with asbestos. After the the connection between asbestos and cancer was established, fiber cement was reformulated. The newer asbestos-free fiber cement is still popular.


Plastic shingles are an affordable option widely used in the roofing field. The plastic is often used to copy other materials such as clay tile, shale, and even wood. Homeowners get the look they want at a much less price.

The plastic found in shingles is often recycled material. When the shingle cannot be used again, it can be reprocessed and made into new shingles.

While plastic shingles can look like other shingles, they may not be perfect. There can be a sheen to the material that can make it look different. To the untrained eye, it may not look any different than normal shingles.


Slate shingles are a heavy-duty material that will last through even the harshest storms. Slate shingles are one of the oldest types of shingles in existence. The material for slate is accessible and has been for thousands of years.

Slate is very waterproof, with a water permeability factor of less than .4%. It is also resistant to frost, and fire. Slate shingles can go for almost 100 years without being replaced.

Slate is also expensive and challenging to work with. It is a heavy material, which makes slate hard for roofers to manage during installation. Labor and management costs make slate an expensive option.

Synthetic slate shingles are a composite option if you want a cheaper alternative. Synthetic slate performs the same functions, but with other materials mixed in. It is an environmentally friendly option that is also much lighter than regular slate.


Tile shingles can last for up to 80 years with the right install. Tiles can stand up against hard winds and weather. When storms get tough, tiles stay put.
Tiles are not shingles in the traditional sense. While they may be applied in a similar manner, they are not as flexible as their asphalt or metal counterparts.

When tiles do get damaged, the cost can be enormous. Much like slate, tile is heavy and awkward to maneuver. Tiles are also hard to walk on, so fixing tiles requires real expertise. This can drive up the cost of tile installation.


Wood shingles are composed in many different ways. There are standard thin wooden shingles, which are applied without much manufacturing. There are also processed shingles, which allow the wood to be molded into squares. While they look incredible, the upkeep on wood shingles can be higher than many other types.

Wood Shingles vs. Wood Shakes

Whereas wood shingles are thinner and more organized, wooden shakes stand apart. Shakes are created from split logs, creating rough material. Shakes can make a home look historic no matter how young it is.

Wooden shakes can be more time intensive than shingles. Shakes are rough-hewn, which means that they don’t adhere to modern building styles. They can be affected by moisture and other weather. To keep their classic look, shakes will need to be maintained a bit more.