Types of Roofing Shingles

by HomeAdvisor

Quality shingles act as a protective barrier to your property, help keep your home properly insulated and potentially increase your home’s overall value. Knowing a bit about your shingle options helps you find an affordable and effective way to cover your home.

Asphalt Shingles

Average cost: $100 – $150 per shingle

Cost to install: $1,700 – $8,400

Shingles made from asphalt are among the most popular and affordable. One of the biggest drawbacks of asphalt shingles is they don’t fare very well in areas where the temperature suddenly fluctuates. There’s a good chance some of the shingles will crack in such situations.

In temperate climates, there’s still a possibility the shingles might become damaged since they’re made from a weaker material. Something else to keep in mind with asphalt shingles is they can only be used on a roof that has a steep slope.

Examples of color and style options for asphalt shingles include:

  • Weathered wood
  • Barkwood
  • Slate
  • Charcoal

If you need to repair a torn asphalt shingle, you have to lift and add roofing cement underneath it and then add more roofing cement over the top of it. With a curled corner, you use a roofing nail. With a roof leak you can use metal flashing underneath the roof shingles to prevent water from getting through to the roof deck.

Fiberglass Shingles

Average cost to install: $3,800 – $8,000

Fiberglass asphalt shingles are made from a fiberglass base mat and layered with a waterproof coating. Additional features include:

  • Lightweight
  • Fire-resistant
  • Longer warranty
  • Not as expensive as other roofing materials
  • Resistance to UV rays
  • Durable

The fiberglass is made by overlapping wet fiberglass and using a urea-formaldehyde adhesive to properly bind it all together. The mat then receives a coating of asphalt blended with a variety of mineral fillers to make the shingles waterproof.

Organic Shingles

Organic asphalt shingles were originally made with wood chips, recycled cardboard, rags and paper. The shingles were considered:

  • Waterproof
  • Heavier than fiberglass shingles
  • Not as long-lasting as fiberglass
  • Inexpensive
  • Known as “felt mat asphalt shingles”

However, organic shingles are easily prone to moisture and saturation, which leads to more dangerous issues — especially in areas with high humidity or a lot of freezing temperatures. This leads the shingles to degrade and break far ahead of their 20-year life expectancy. Most homeowners have needed to replace their organic shingles with fiberglass alternatives because of this issue.


Three-Tab Shingles vs. Architectural Shingles

3-tab cost to install: $2,300 – $5,300

Architectural shingles cost to install: $3,800 – $8,000

Three-tab shingles are thin and inexpensive, but they have the same 20- to 30-year lifespan as asphalt shingles. Additional distinguishing properties include:

Cutouts running along the bottom edge, which makes it look like three different shingles when installed. Less expensive than architectural shingles

The difference between architectural shingles and three-tab shingles is that architectural shingles aren’t made with cutouts. They also contain extra asphalt, which gives it more curves than three-tab shingles. Architectural shingles are waterproof but aren’t recommended for roofs with a low slope due to the roof’s susceptibility to wind-driven rain.


Tile Shingles

Average cost: $300 – $700

Cost to install: $10,000 – $14,000

If it’s style you’re going for, you may find the perfect match in tile shingles. Tile shingles can be molded in several different shapes and are often made in lighter colors, which keeps them cool. They are also:

  • Often seen on properties that have a colonial Spanish or Mediterranean style
  • Some of the most visually appealing and enduring (lasting for roughly 80 years)
  • Among the most expensive

You have to consider the cost of installation when looking at these tiles, because it’s pricey. Tile shingles may be too heavy to be placed on your roof, especially if you had asphalt shingles before. Be sure to have your home’s structure thoroughly examined by a trusted and experienced roofing contractor.

Some common problems that come with tile shingles include leaks, small cracks or holes and cracked or broken tiles. To repair them, you can:

  • Fill the cracks or holes with plastic roofing cement
  • Seal or join the cracks
  • Pry up the tiles around the cracked and broken ones and then replace them
  • Spread roofing cement around the cracks or holes

Wood Shingles

Average cost: $400 – $700

Cost to install: $7,000 – $15,000

The price of wood shingles falls right between affordable asphalt shingles and more expensive tile shingles. Wood shingles are:

  • More environmentally friendly than other types of shingles
  • Durable
  • Able to last between 30 and 50 years
  • Energy-efficient
  • Available in cedar and redwood

One of the biggest drawbacks of wood shingles is they’re more likely to catch fire than other shingle materials. The wood shingles’ installation process can be rather difficult for the uninitiated. You’ll also want to take preventative measures to keep your roof from suffering from the ravages of termites and mold.

Some repairs that come with owning wood shingles include cracked, missing, broken or warped shingles. In most situations you will need to replace the wood shingles because they can’t be repaired easily. There are some cases where you can reseal the shingles, but it’s on a case by case basis. With mold or mildew, you can power wash off most of it, and the wood shingles will be okay.

Metal Roofing

Average cost: $100 – $1,000 (depending on material)

Cost to install: $2,000 – $15,000

If the roofline of your home is steep or flat, you may want to opt for a metal roof. Made with either constructed or solid metal, this type of roof is both durable and enduring. Metal roofing is very affordable when constructed from a low-galvanized metal. Other types of metal to install include copper, tin, zinc and aluminum.

Take good care of your metal roof and it can last you for as many as 50 years. One disadvantage of metal roofing is that it can become rather noisy whenever there’s hail or rain. Some repairs that come with owning metal roofing include:

  • Loose nails
  • Holes or rust patches
  • Leaks or moisture
  • Curled up seams and edges


Slate Shingles

Average cost: $200 – $650

Cost to install: $5,000 – $23,000

Slate shingles have been known to last anywhere from 80 to 100 years and have some of the best water and damage resistance properties, which is ideal for frigid winter temperatures. Color options for slate shingles include green, black, gray and red.

Before you get too excited about the sound of slate shingles, know that they can be:

  • Pricey when compared with other types of shingles
  • Expensive to repair, because there aren’t very many companies that specialize in this particular type of shingle material
  • Quite heavy and may not be an ideal match if your home can’t easily handle the weight

When you own a slate shingle roof, you will need to deal with repairs like flashing replacement, replacing slate tiles because of weather conditions or fixing fasteners. In most cases you will need to rely on a slate shingle professional for these repairs. Because these materials are so heavy to deal with, there is serious risk of personal injury if you try to DIY repairs.


No matter what type of shingle you select, make sure the installation is done by a reputable and professional company. You should also ensure that your shingles are protected by a warranty and that you know how to properly care for them in order that they can last you and your home for as long as possible.