We may be compensated if you purchase through links on our website. Our Reviews Team is committed to delivering honest, objective, and independent reviews on home products and services.More
Cottage with Grey Shingles

Types of Roof Shingles (2024 Guide)

Invalid Zip Code
.

Join the 6,755 people who have received a free, no-obligation quote in the last 30 days

Default Author Icon Written by Angela Bunt Updated 03/25/2024

A new roof is a big investment. You can choose from many different types of roof shingles, each with various price points, life spans, and pros and cons. We’ve researched the most common types of roof shingles to help you choose the best roofing style for your home.

Use our expert research to learn more about your project

Enter your ZIP code and tell us about your home

Match with local experts who can meet your needs

Get Your Roofing Project Quote Today
Compare quotes from local pros


What Are Different Types of Roof Shingles?

The best type of roof shingle depends on your area’s climate, style, and budget. We’ll explore each type below.

Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles are the most popular choice for homeowners. They’re made of an organic or fiberglass base material, which is coated with asphalt and covered in granules to help protect against the elements. They come in various styles and types.

There are two types of asphalt shingles: architectural shingles and three-tab asphalt shingles.

Architectural shingles are more durable than three-tab shingles. They provide a multidimensional, textured appearance resembling wood shakes or slate. Architectural shingles can last up to 50 years due to their increased thickness.

Three-tab roof shingles, also known as strip shingles, have three distinct tabs that create a uniform look across the roof. Three-tab shingles are the most basic and traditional type of asphalt shingle and have a shorter life span of about 20 years.

An asphalt shingle roof lasts 15–30 years on average, with homes in warmer climates requiring replacement sooner than homes in cooler climates. Regular maintenance, such as cleaning gutters and downspouts, removing debris and moss, and making repairs, can help prolong its life. 

Cost: Most shingle roofs cost between $3.50 and $5.50 per square foot.*

Pros & Cons

Low cost
Wide selection of colors and styles
Durable
Shorter life span compared to other materials
Not environmentally friendly
Absorbs and retains heat
Vulnerable to extreme weather conditions

*We averaged all cost data in this article from multiple sources, including Home Advisor, Angi, and Fixr.


Metal Shingles

Homeowners have several metal roofing options, including sheet metal, standing seam, corrugated metal, and shingles. Metal shingles are lightweight and easy to install, making them a great choice if you have a roof system that can’t support heavier materials. 

Metal shingles are often designed to resemble asphalt, slate, or wood shingles and can last up to 100 years with little to no maintenance. The metal squares, also known as modular panels or stamped panels, are coated for added durability and come in sizes ranging from 2-feet-by-1-foot to 5-feet-by-1-foot.

Metal shingles come in many different material types:

  • Aluminum: Aluminum lasts up to 45 years and is recyclable. Because of its reflectivity, aluminum is one of the most energy-efficient roofing materials.
  • Copper: Copper lasts over 100 years, requires minimal maintenance, and is rust-resistant.
  • Steel: Steel is available in galvalume, galvanized, and stainless steel. Steel is typically resistant to rust and corrosion, but galvanized steel is less resistant. Galvalume comes in various colors but quickly fades.
  • Tin: Tin requires regular maintenance to prevent rust and erosion but lasts up to 70 years.
  • Zinc: Zinc repairs itself by forming a coat as it weathers. If well-maintained, a zinc roof lasts 100 years or more.
  • Lead: Though manufacturers say lead shingles are safe, ask your installer or contact the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or your state legislators to check for material restrictions or regulations. If properly maintained, a lead roof lasts 100 years.
  • Rusted: Rusted roofs are popular, but they’re not recommended for wet, coastal areas.
Cost for Metal Shingles: $700–$2,200 per square ($7–$22 per square foot), depending on the metal type.

Pros & Cons of Metal Shingles

Longer life span than other shingle materials
Durable enough to withstand extreme weather
Energy-efficient and can potentially lower cooling expenses
Environmentally friendly
Requires additional insulation to block noise
Expands and contracts during colder months
Higher price tag
Easily dented

Tile Shingles

Tile shingles are traditionally made from clay, terracotta, and slate. More modern materials, such as metal and concrete, are also used. Tile is popular in Mediterranean and Spanish-style architecture, but there are so many tile roofing options available that they can work on almost any home style.

Some tile roofs can last over 100 years, but others may only last 20–30 years. Tile requires very little maintenance, but regularly inspecting your roof for damage and removing debris can help it last longer.

Here are the different tile material options: 

  • Concrete: Concrete tiles are more affordable than other materials, require little maintenance, and are fire-resistant. However, they’re very heavy and susceptible to mold.
  • Clay: Clay tiles are expensive but very durable and come in various shapes and sizes.
  • Terracotta: Terracotta is heat-resistant and long-lasting but doesn’t perform optimally in colder regions.
  • Composite: Composite tile shingles are made from plastic, rubber, or fiber cement. They’re eco-friendly and lightweight.
  • Metal: Metal roof shingles are complicated to install but energy-efficient and require little maintenance.
  • Slate: Slate shingles are considered a high-end roofing option and can last up to 200 years, but often require additional roofing support due to the weight.
Cost: Between $2 and $10 per square foot for materials.

Pros & Cons of Tile Shingles

Long life span
Durable
Fits most architectural styles
Energy-efficient
More expensive than other roofing materials
May require additional roofing support
Installation requires the help of skilled professionals
Tiles are fragile and can crack or break easily

Wood Shingles

Wood shingles come in two different types: wood shakes or wood shingles. Shakes are typically made of white cedar and have a thick, textured appearance. Each piece looks different from the rest. Shingles are made of various tree species such as cypress, redwood, or treated pine and are more uniform and flat.

Wooden shakes and shingles require regular maintenance to avoid rot. The wood can crack, grow algae, leak, or break down if not cared for. Wood must be cleaned with a preservative every two to five years. Some wood can last 20–30 years if correctly maintained.

Cost: Non-cedar shingles cost $525 per square or $5.25 per square foot. Cedar shakes cost an average of $480 per square or $4.80 per square foot.

Pros & Cons of Wood Shingles

Unique and rustic look that can boost curb appeal
Energy-efficient
Wind resistant
Impact-resistant
Expensive
Vulnerable to fire, insects, and moisture
High-maintenance
Shorter life span

Synthetic Shingles

Synthetic or composite shingles are made from a mixture of plastic, wood, asphalt, and laminate. They’re designed to mimic traditional roofing materials, such as asphalt shingles, wood shingles, or slate tiles

Though they require less maintenance than other types of roof shingles, synthetic shingles should be kept clean and free of debris. Synthetic shingle roofs last up to 50 years when properly cared for.

Cost: $1–$15 per square foot, depending on the material grade.

Pros & Cons of Synthetic Shingles

Versatile and come in many different colors and styles
Resemble slate or cedar shake
Durable and long-lasting
Usually come with warranties
Expensive
Lower-grade, so more prone to fading
More heat-absorbent than other types of roof shingles
Not offered by all contractors or companies

Solar Shingles

Solar shingles are tile-shaped panels that use the same technology as solar panels but are designed to blend in with your roof. Solar shingles are a newer technology and aren’t as common as solar panels.

This shingle type lasts up to 30 years and requires some maintenance, including frequent roof cleaning and debris removal. Anything blocking the shingles can affect their ability to absorb the sun’s energy and power your home.

Cost: $21.50 per square foot, not including installation.

Pros & Cons of Solar Shingles

Increases home value
Lowers energy bills
Blends into your roof’s design
Long life span
Expensive
Permanent part of your roofing system
Difficult to find a roofing contractor to install them
Less effective than solar panels

Concrete Shingles

Concrete shingles are made from a mixture of cement, sand, and water. They mimic the appearance of traditional roofing materials such as wood, slate, or clay, but at a more affordable price. Concrete shingles can last 30–50 years and are available in various styles and colors.

Concrete comes in three styles, also known as profiles. A low or flat profile has no curves. A medium profile is equal to or under 1 inch in height for every 5 inches in width. A high profile is higher than 1 inch for every 5 inches in width.

Cost: $2–$4 per square foot

Pros & Cons of Concrete Shingles

Available in many styles
Resistant to fire, insects, and rot, and can withstand winds over 150 MPH
Long life span
Eco-friendly
Weighs 900 pounds per square
Susceptible to mold
Fragile
Color can fade

Rubber Shingles

Rubber shingles are a durable and flexible roofing option if your roof is flat or has a low slope (under 4 inches). Rubber roofing is usually made from a single-ply membrane using recycled rubber designed to mimic other roofing materials, typically slate or wood.

Maintenance is low, and a fresh coat of sealant often works for minor leaks. Most homeowners can get 50 years of use from their rubber shingles.

Cost: $25–$40 per square foot.

Pros & Cons of Rubber Shingles

Manufacturers offer extended warranties
Fire- and water-resistant
Energy-efficient
Durable
Not suitable for steep roofs
Not suitable for areas with extreme climate fluctuations
Absorbs heat and can drive up cooling costs
May require roof reinforcement to bear the weight

How Do Shingle Types Compare?

We’ve compared each shingle type by their cost, life span, and maintenance level below.

Type of Roof ShingleCost (per Square Foot)Life Span (years)Maintenance

Asphalt

$3.50–$5.50

15–30

Low

Concrete

$2–$4

30–50

Low

Metal

$7–$22

45–100

Low

Rubber

$25–$40

Up to 50

Low

Solar

$21.50

Up to 30

Medium

Synthetic

$1–$15

Up to 50

Medium

Tile

$2–$10

20–100

Low

Wood

$4.80–$5.25

20–30

High


Our Conclusion

You can choose from many different types of roof shingles, each with their own pros and cons. Asphalt shingles are the most popular roofing material because they’re affordable and durable, but there are many other options available. Consider your budget, local climate, and style preferences. We recommend hiring professional roofers to ensure your roof shingles are installed correctly. A roofing company can also help you determine the best style for your home.

Get Your Roofing Project Quote Today
Compare quotes from local pros

FAQ About Types of Roof Shingles

What are the most popular types of roof shingles?

Asphalt shingles are the most popular type of roof shingles because they’re affordable and durable.

How long do roof shingles typically last?

How long roof shingles last depends on the material. Asphalt lasts 15–30 years while tile lasts up to 100 years.

Are there any eco-friendly options for roof shingles?

Yes, there are several eco-friendly roofing shingles available. Metal roofing materials are recyclable and solar shingles help cut down on energy consumption.

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews Team at reviews@thisoldhousereviews.com.