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    Home | Our Blog | Types of Roof Shingles: Pros, Cons, and Cost to Install

    Types of Roof Shingles: Pros, Cons, and Cost to Install

    Reviewed by Tomas Kalkys. President.
    Qualifications: More than 20 years of experience in residential and commercial exterior remodeling.
    Founding farther of Legacy Service.
    Written by LegacyUSA Team

    posted on May 14, 2021

    Get Estimates From Roofing Pros

    When the time comes to replace your roof, you’ll have to choose which type you’d like. Maybe you’ve already decided that you want shingles, but have you determined what kind yet?
    If you need help deciding, continue reading our shingle guide! We’ll discuss the most popular types of roof shingles so that you can make an educated decision. If you’d like to schedule a consultation with an expert about roofing installation or replacement, get in touch with our team at 215-798-9790 or

    Average Shingle Roofing Costs

    The cost of roofing shingles can differ depending on a variety of factors. The brand you choose, the size and shape of your roof, and the region where you live can all affect the overall price. On average, however, homeowners can expect to pay about $100 to $150 per square for asphalt shingles. Other types of shingles may differ in price.

    How to Choose the Best Shingles

    When you’re considering roof shingles, it’s all about choosing the best type for you. What influences most homeowners’ decisions is their budget, the design they’re looking for, roofing structure, and the region’s wind and temperature range. In the sections below, we’ll discuss each factor in more detail. Contact us to schedule an appointment with an expert.


    Your budget will help narrow down the type and style of your residential roofing options, including the shingles you choose. Your local contractor will offer anything from affordable shingles to expensive luxury shingles.


    It’s best to choose a design that both matches your home’s exterior and blends in with the style of the neighborhood. Asphalt shingles roofs cover the overwhelming majority of suburban homes in the United States. Experts agree that it’s hard to go wrong with asphalt. Other popular types include composite shingles as well as metal shingles and tiles.

    Roof Structure

    Believe it or not, the structure of your roof can affect the different types of shingles you can use. Since asphalt, metal, and composite shingles are on the lighter side, they’re suitable for almost any structure. Slate and clay tiles, on the other hand, tend to be much heavier. Consult a roofing expert to find out what your roof can handle.

    Wind and Temperature

    Different roofing materials will fare better in different environments. If you live in a region that deals with harsh winds and extreme temperatures throughout the year, consider fiberglass shingles because they tend to be more durable. Asphalt 3-tab shingles are also a good choice for a wide variety of environments.


    Types of Shingles Materials

    Now let’s take a look at the different types of roofing materials. Depending on the company you choose, your options may include aluminum, asphalt 3-tab, asphalt architectural, asphalt fiberglass 3D, cedar wood shakes, clay tiles, concrete tiles, copper roofing, corrugated steel, metal, regular asphalt, slate tiles, solar shingles, standing seam metal, steel shingles, TPO/PVC roofing, and wood shingles. Read more for a residential shingles comparison.


    Aluminum Shingles

    Aluminum shingles are a variation of metal roofing. Although they’ve been commonly used for industrial and agricultural buildings for a while, they’ve just recently started being used for residential homes.


    Aluminum advantages include:

    • This roofing material option is designed to be durable, lightweight, and energy-efficient.
    • They can be made to resemble slate or clay tiles or even cedar shakes.
    • They’re often made of recycled aluminum products and can reduce your annual heating and cooling costs.
    • They’re also fire-resistant, long-lasting, and provide excellent insulation.


    Aluminum disadvantages include:

    • They’re much more expensive than asphalt shingles. Sometimes, they can cost twice as much.
    • Since they’re lightweight, walking on them can cause damage.


    Aluminum is known to be more expensive than asphalt shingles. On average, it can cost about $3.15 per square foot, so homeowners can expect to pay $15,500 to $28,000 depending on the size of their roof.

    Best for

    Aluminum roofing can be used for residential homes, but it’s usually best for industrial and agricultural buildings.


    Asphalt 3-Tab

    Asphalt comes in three main grades: 3-tab, dimensional, and luxury. 3-tab is one of the most common roofing materials for residential homes in the United States. These shingles tend to be one of the most affordable types, but they’re also thinner and can wear out more quickly than architectural or fiberglass.


    The advantages of 3-tab include:

    • This roofing type is one of the most affordable for American homeowners.
    • They come in a wide selection of styles and colors.
    • If they get damaged, they’re simple to repair, and it’ll be easy to find a company that repairs them.


    The disadvantages of 3-tab include:

    • They’re not as durable and resistant to harsh weather as other roofing types.
    • They generally do not increase the value of a home.


    Asphalt 3-tab shingles are considered one of the most affordable types of residential roofing. They typically cost about $0.85 to $1.00 per square foot on average, and homeowners can expect to pay between $5,000 and $12,500 depending on the size of their roof.

    Best for

    Asphalt 3-tab shingles are best for American suburban residential homes.


    Asphalt Architectural

    Asphalt architectural shingles are also known as composition. Their appearance is slightly more sculpted than other types, and they have an extra layer of lamination that helps create a contoured look. They’re one of the best composite roofing materials out there.


    If you’re considering a new roof, consider asphalt architectural shingles. The advantages include:

    • They’re designed to be more durable than 3-tab asphalt.
    • They can have a long lifespan with the proper maintenance, lasting from 30-50 years in some cases.
    • They come in a variety of luxurious-looking styles.


    The disadvantages of asphalt architectural include:

    • They can be more expensive than 3-tab asphalt.
    • They may not work well with shallow roofs since the wind cannot flow through them easily.


    Architectural shingles can cost more than their 3-tab counterparts. Their cost per square foot tends to range between $1.50 and $5.50.

    Best for

    Asphalt architectural roofing is best for homeowners with roofs on the steeper side.


    Asphalt Fiberglass 3D

    Asphalt fiberglass 3D, also known as dimensional shingles, is made from asphalt and fiberglass. What sets them apart from 3-tab and architectural is their highly sculpted shape, which is similar to wood shakes.


    There’s a wide variety of roofing shingles and tiles for homeowners to choose from. The advantages of asphalt fiberglass 3D include:

    • They have a unique design, which sets them apart aesthetically from 3-tab and architectural.
    • They’re designed to look like high-end wood and perform like asphalt.


    The advantages of asphalt fiberglass 3D include:

    • They’re usually not a good choice for shallow-pitch roofs.
    • They tend to be more expensive than 3-tab.


    Asphalt fiberglass 3D roofs are typically more expensive than traditional 3-tab asphalt. Homeowners can expect to pay about $4.25 per square foot, which can cost about $8,500 to $16,500 depending on the size of their roof.

    Best for

    The roofing type is best for residential roofs with a steeper pitch.


    Cedar Wood Shake

    Cedar wood shakes are a popular roof replacement option because they have rustic beauty and a long lifespan. They’re typically made of white cedar or eastern white cedar trees that are between 200-300 years old.


    The advantages of cedar wood shakes include:

    • They offer a rustic beauty that can hardly be matched by any other roofing type.
    • When installed and maintained properly, cedar wood shakes are known to last longer than asphalt shingles. Their lifespan can range from 30 to 40 years with regular maintenance.


    The disadvantages of this roofing type include:

    • They typically require more maintenance than asphalt because wood can rot without the proper maintenance.
    • Wood shakes tend to be more expensive than other roofing shingles & tiles, including asphalt.


    Cedar wood shakes are one of the more expensive roofing options. They can cost anywhere between $6 to $10 per square foot.

    Best for

    Cedar shakes are typically chosen for their aesthetic appeal. They’re best for homeowners who like their appearance and are willing to put in the effort for proper maintenance.


    Clay Tiles

    Clay tiles are a popular option for homeowners in the southwestern United States. They can be molded into several different shapes, and they’re often made in lighter colors to help keep homes cooler.


    The advantages of clay tiles include:

    • They provide excellent insulation for buildings in hot climates.
    • They’re great for the environment.
    • They offer a unique type of beauty that cannot be matched by other roofing materials.
    • They’re durable and have a long lifespan, with some lasting up to 80 years.


    The disadvantages of clay tiles include:

    • They tend to be more than most roofing materials. Homes may need structural reinforcement to install clay tiles.
    • They’re expensive to install and maintain.


    Clay tiles are usually much more expensive than asphalt shingles. Homeowners can expect to pay about $7.25 to $10.00 per square foot, so the overall cost may be between $24,000 and $50,000 depending on the size of your roof.

    Best for

    Clay tiles are best for properties in warmer climates (such as the southwestern United States) with a colonial Spanish or Mediterranean style.


    Concrete Tile

    Concrete tiles are a budget-friendly alternative to clay roofing tiles. They provide many of the same benefits for a fraction of the cost.


    The advantages of concrete tiles include:

    • They’re durable and have a long lifespan, sometimes lasting up to 50 years.
    • Not only do they require low levels of maintenance, but they’re also resistant to rot and insects and offer good fire protection (Class A rated).
    • They’re lighter in weight than clay tiles.
    • They’re typically less expensive than clay tiles.


    The disadvantages of concrete tiles include:

    • Although they’re usually lighter than clay tiles, they’re still much heavier than asphalt shingles. They can sometimes weigh twice as much as asphalt.
    • They will be more expensive than asphalt shingles for homeowners.


    Concrete tiles are usually less expensive than clay tiles but more expensive than asphalt shingles. Homeowners can expect to pay about $3.25 to $5.50 per square foot, which can end up being between $20,000 and $42,000 for the overall cost.

    Best for

    Concrete tiles are best for homeowners who like the style, have the budget to pay for them, and have the right structural support for their home.

    Shiny dirty copper roofing pattern background

    Copper Roofing

    Copper is a variation of metal roofing, but homeowners can expect to pay much more for its installation or replacement. The upside is that its aesthetic appeal and durability are unmatched. It’s one of the most unique kinds of roof materials.


    The advantages of copper include:

    • It has incredible durability and average lifespan. It has been known to last up to a century or even longer.
    • It adds a beautiful and unique design style to a home.
    • It weathers well with time.
    • It provides a high return on investment for a home’s value.


    The disadvantages of copper roofing include:

    • Falling rain can be noisy, but this can be prevented. Proper attic insulation is required to keep the home quiet during storms.
    • It’s one of the most expensive roofing types.


    Copper is one of the most expensive roofing materials on the market today. Homeowners can expect to pay about $14.00 to $22.00 per square foot. The overall price may be between $23,000 and $48,000 depending on the size of the roof.

    Best for

    Since copper roofs are expensive, they’re typically reserved for special home design features including dormers or the roof of a prominent window. They’re also used in regions that deal with wildfires like California and Texas.


    Corrugated Steel

    Corrugated steel is another popular variation of metal roofing. This durable and attractive material is designed to protect homes from elements including wildfires, hail, and snow.


    The advantages of corrugated steel include:

    • This material can last twice (or even three times) as long as non-metal roofs. The average life expectancy is about 15 to 30 years.
    • Steel roofs are extremely durable. They’re resistant to shrinking, cracking, and eroding, and they’re designed to protect your home from the elements like snow, hail, and wind.
    • It’s also energy-efficient and recyclable.


    The disadvantages of corrugated steel include:

    • Since the material is installed in large panels, it can be more difficult to repair than individual shingles when damaged.
    • It can be more expensive than other materials such as asphalt shingles.


    The average price of corrugated steel can hover around $1.80 per square foot. For the overall price, homeowners can expect to pay about $10,500 to $19,500 depending on the roof’s size.

    Best for

    Corrugated steel roofs are best for homeowners across the United States who like their appearance and are willing to pay a little more for the extra durability.


    Metal Shingles

    Among the various types of roofing materials, metal shingles are one of the most popular. Not only are they attractive and highly durable, but they’re also quite affordable.


    The advantages of metal shingles include:

    • They’re highly durable and designed to last for decades. With the proper installation and maintenance, homeowners can expect their metal roof to last for 40-70 years.
    • They’re lightweight and relatively easy to install.
    • They have excellent resistance to wind and the elements.
    • They come in a variety of color options.


    The disadvantages of metal shingles include:

    • They can be noisy in rain or hail without adequate insulation or underlayment.
    • They’re usually more expensive than traditional asphalt shingles.


    Metal shingles are estimated to cost about $5.25 to $12.50 per square foot on average. Homeowners can pay between $5,000 to $15,000 or more depending on the size of their roof.

    Best for

    Metal shingles are best for homeowners who are looking for a material that’s more durable than asphalt but still affordable.


    Regular Asphalt Shingles

    Traditional asphalt shingles are perhaps the most commonly used roofing material for residential homes in the United States. They come in three main types: 3-tab, architectural, and fiberglass. We discussed each type in its own section above.


    The advantages of asphalt shingles include:

    • They’re a trifecta of attractiveness, durability, and affordability.
    • They can mimic the appearance of tile, slate, or wood.
    • They come in an extensive variety of styles, colors, and sizes.
    • Many of them come with a Class A fire rating, high impact rating, and high wind rating.


    The disadvantages of asphalt shingles include:

    • They’re not designed to last as long as other materials.
    • They’re not the most environmentally friendly material.


    Asphalt shingles can cost between $1.00 and $4.25 per square foot. Homeowners can expect to pay between $5,000 and $16,500 depending on their roof’s size.

    Best for

    Asphalt shingle roofs are best for residential homeowners who are interested in installing a traditional roof on a budget. They can match most home exteriors and blend in well with most neighborhoods.


    Slate Tiles

    Slate tile is a stone roofing material that’s unique and beautiful. Homeowners can choose between natural and synthetic slate, which can differ in weight and price.


    The advantages of slate tiles include:

    • They boast incredible durability and a long lifespan. In many cases, slate roofs can last 60-150 years.
    • They have a natural beauty that appeals to many people.
    • They come in several color options, including black, gray, red, or green.


    The disadvantages of slate tiles include:

    • They’re typically more expensive than other roofing materials like asphalt shingles.
    • They’re one of the heaviest materials, and they can be difficult to install.


    Slate tiles are quite expensive as a roofing material. Homeowners can expect to pay somewhere between $7.50 and $16.00 per square foot. Depending on the roof’s size, the overall cost may be around $25,000 to $50,000.

    Best for

    Slate tiles are best for homes with a structure that can support the weight, and homeowners who are willing to pay more for a more durable and longer-lasting roof.


    Solar Shingles

    Solar shingles have recently been gaining popularity in today’s eco-friendly world. They tend to cost almost twice as much as installing an asphalt shingle roof with solar panels mounted to it.


    The advantages of solar shingles include:

    • Generating power from the sun, they end up paying for themselves over time.
    • They’re beautiful, looking like a high-end slate roof.
    • They’re even more environmentally responsible than a roof with solar panels.
    • They’re a great choice of modern roof shingles.


    The disadvantages of solar shingles include:

    • They require a professional installer, and they’re extremely expensive to install.
    • They usually only work well in sunny, southern climates.


    Solar shingles are one of the most expensive roofing materials on the market today. Homeowners can expect to pay about $24.25 per square foot, and between $60,000 to $75,000 for the overall installation. The good news is that they pay for themselves over time.

    Best for

    Solar shingles are best for environmentally-conscious homeowners in sunny, southern climates.


    Standing Seam Metal

    Standing seam metal panels are a product of the metal roofing family. Although their initial cost is higher for standing seam metal than asphalt shingles, many homeowners chose standing seam for its superior durability and lifespan.


    The advantages of standing seam metal include:

    • It has a much longer lifespan than asphalt shingles. In some cases, it can last two or three times as long, typically ranging between 15 and 60 years.
    • Metal roofs can lower homeowners’ insurance rates in some states because of their overall durability and resistance to wildfires.


    The disadvantages of standing seam metal include:

    • Its initial cost will be higher than asphalt shingles.
    • Metal roofs can be noisy in rain or hail if they don’t have the proper insulation or underlayment.


    Standing seam metal typically costs more than asphalt shingles but less than metal shingles. Homeowners can expect to pay about $3.50 to 6.80 per square foot, and $23,000 to $30,000 overall.

    Best for

    Standing seam metal roofs can be used anywhere in the U.S. but may be best for homeowners in places like California and Texas because of their fire resistance.


    Steel Shingles

    Steel shingles are a durable roofing material with superior longevity. These roofing systems are resistant to eroding, cracking, and shrinking, and they help protect from extreme weather conditions such as hail, snow, and wildfires.


    The advantages of steel shingles include:

    • They can last two to three times as long as traditional asphalt shingles.
    • The material is durable, recyclable, and energy-efficient.
    • They can help increase the resale value of your home.


    The disadvantages of steel shingles include:

    • They typically cost more to install and replace than other materials like asphalt.
    • They can be noisy when it rains or hails if no precautionary steps are taken to quiet the roof.


    Steel shingles aren’t the most expensive roofing material, but they still normally cost more than asphalt. Homeowners can expect to pay about $3.35 per square foot, and between $15,000 to $25,000 for the overall cost.

    Best for

    Steel shingles are best for homeowners who find this type of roof visually appealing and are willing to pay a higher initial cost for better durability and a longer lifespan.


    TPO – PVC Roofing

    TPO and PVC roofing are both types of singly-ply membrane that’s used for low-sloped and flat roofs.


    The advantages of using TPO or PVC include:

    • They have a proven track record of success.
    • They’re easy to install and maintain.
    • They’re lightweight and flexible
    • They offer a choice of reflective or retentive properties.


    The disadvantages of TPO or PVC include:

    • The thin layers of the membrane can be easily punctured.
    • Although the seams are sealed, they can be vulnerable to leaks.


    TPO and PVC roofs are some of the most affordable types out there. Homeowners can expect to pay between $1.85 to $5.75 per square foot.

    Best for

    TPO and PVC roofing systems are best for low-sloped or flat roofs.


    Wood Shingle Roof

    Wood shingles are unique and have a timeless, classic appearance. However, it’s important to keep in mind that they’re not always allowed or recommended because of building codes and fire hazards.


    The advantages of wood shingles include:

    • They’re highly durable and long-lasting. In many cases, they can last up to 50 years.
    • They’re energy-efficient and more environmentally friendly than other shingle types.


    The disadvantages of wood shingles include:

    • They can be difficult to install and maintain.
    • They can be a fire hazard risk, which may raise a homeowner’s insurance rates.


    Wood shingles are quite affordable. Homeowners can expect to pay about $3.50 per square foot. Depending on the size of the roof, the overall cost is usually between $10,000 and $16,000.

    Best for

    Wood shingles are best for homeowners who love the rustic look and live in a region that doesn’t have to deal with wildfires. Check with local building codes before beginning this project.

    Average Shingles Lifespan

    The average lifespan of your shingles will depend on the material you choose. Asphalt is the most popular type when you compare roofing shingles in the United States today. They usually last between 15 and 25 years, depending on their installation and maintenance.

    Best Roof Shingle Brands

    So, what are some of the best roofing material names? Let’s take a look at our favorite brands:


    GAF has been one of the most popular roofing shingle brands for decades. Their best lines have excellent durability, their warranties are some of the best in the industry, and they offer an extensive selection of colors and styles.


    CertainTeed’s shingle quality is considered to be at or near the top of all fiberglass shingle brands. They provide good impact resistance, wind resistance, and resistance to algae and staining. They also offer a wide selection of colors and types.

    Owens Corning

    Owens Corning offers a broad selection of shingle types, ranging from affordable to high-end. The Owens Corning Total Protection Roofing System is one of the best in the industry, and using all products from one brand ensures that they’re designed to work together.


    DIY or Hire a Pro?

    If you’ve decided the type and brand of shingles you want, it’s time to determine whether you should do it yourself or hire a pro. It usually depends on the amount of experience you have and how comfortable you are with doing it yourself. Most of the time, it’s better to hire a team of professionals to make sure the installation is done right to maximize the overall lifespan of the roof.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Here are some of the questions that we’re most frequently asked about roofing types comparison.

    What is the best type of shingles for roofing?

    The best type of shingles for your roof is entirely up to your tastes and preferences. Asphalt shingles are the most popular type for a good reason. They’re affordable, durable, and aesthetically appealing. However, other types have unique benefits. Get in touch with a roofing expert for an easy roofing options guide.

    What are the worst roof shingles?

    Different types of shingles have different pros and cons. It’s all about determining the worst and best type for your home. For example, if you live in an area that’s prone to wildfires, wood shingles may not be the best choice for you.

    What are the longest-lasting roof shingles?

    Slate and clay tiles tend to be the longest-lasting roof shingles. They have been known to last at least 100 years. With the proper installation and maintenance, natural slate can last 200 years or even longer.

    What is the most popular roof shingle color?

    With asphalt shingles and metal roofing, you have plenty of options when it comes to color. The most popular roof shingle colors usually tend to be shades of black, gray, brown, and red. Consult with a roofing expert to help you choose a color that would best match your house’s exterior.

    What are the cheapest roof shingles?

    Asphalt 3-tab tends to be the cheapest type of roof shingle. The average price that homeowners can expect to pay is about $1.00 per square foot. The good news is that it’s still a durable and attractive roofing option for any homeowner.


    Have You Figured Out Your Type Yet?

    Now that you have a roofing comparison overview, it’s time to pick out which one you want for your home! At Legacy Service, we’re here to help. Whether you’re looking for roofing replacement or installation, please feel free to contact us at any time to schedule a free consultation. Reach us at 215-798-9790 or

    Posted on May 14, 2021 in Roof

    Read our news


    A lot of elements play a role in maintaining the integrity of the roof, but as a homeowner, the most important components to pay attention to are the underlayment, ventilation, and material.


    Choosing the best roofing material for your home is the first important step in ensuring that you have the highest quality roof possible.


    Two of the most popular roofing materials on the market are metal and asphalt, and both offer different pros and cons to a customer.

    Pros and cons of Asphalt Shingle Roofing

    Replacing a roof is an expensive decision, and cannot only come down to cost.

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