Roofing Shingle Materials

Today there are various types of roofing shingle materials available, with many colors and textures to choose from. Shingle quality is often difficult to determine visually since it is based largely on hidden factors such as the strength of the reinforcing mat (organic felt or fiberglass), the strength and flexibility of the asphalt, and the amount and type of fillers used.  When it becomes necessary to replace your roof, there are a few factors that you will want to consider when choosing shingles for your home.
First you will want to consider the cost as the variations in shingle costs are significant, depending on the type of material you use.   Second, consider the potential value of your home.  Although you may want to use a high-end shingle brand, some time it may not be practical.  Finally, you will want to consider the age of your home.  For example, if you have a relatively new home and your looking to install a long lasting roof with the least amount of maintenance, metal or slate will be your best option.  Considering all of these factors will help you decide on the final choice that you make for your new roof.
To guide you in making an informed decision on which material is best for your home, below is a brief overview of three of the most common types of roofing shingles available on the market today.

Asphalt Shingles:

Asphalt roofing shingles are considered to be the most common and least expensive type of roofing shingle used in the United States. They are relatively easy to install, and depending upon your geographical location they may require some maintenance. There are two types of asphalt shingles, the first being organic-mat and the second being fiberglass. These two types are different in their reinforcing-mat structure and overall lifespan.

Organic shingles are built around a thick inner mat made from wood fibers or recycled paper saturated with soft asphalt. Fiberglass shingles, on the other hand, use a lightweight nonwoven fiberglass held together with phenolic resin.  Both shingles are then coated on top with a layer of harder asphalt and fillers and topped with colored stone to create a decorative surface and protect against UV rays.

Another type of shingle is the architectural or “dimensional” shingle.  Essentially these types of shingles have two layers laminated together at the lower half, giving the roof a thicker or textured appearance. Depending on the shape and depth of the design cutouts, a minimum of half of the exposed shingle area is triple thickness while the rest double thickness. With the added thickness, and unlike the thin single ply design of three tab shingles, most laminated shingles carry longer warranties and higher wind ratings.

Metal Roofing:

This type of roofing system used to be fairly uncommon, primarily due to the higher cost.  However, metal roofing is now becoming much more popular because of its durability, safety, and its ability to withstand all kinds of inclimate weather conditions. Hail, rain, strong winds, and other concerns for homeowners are very important, and metal roofing is the best option in all of these areas.

Slate Tile:

This type of roofing shingle is considered to be the most expensive choice but it is the most durable. The types of homes that you will most commonly see slate tiles on are high-end, custom homes, as well as most government buildings. This type of shingle is rated highest for durability because they are stronger than metal and asphalt roofing materials.  In most cases slate tiles will last anywhere between 80 and 100 years before they will need to be replaced, so homeowners find the lifespan of slate shingles to be well worth any extra cost.

Ultimately, the type of roofing material you choose for your home is based upon your specific taste and the amount of money you wish to invest.