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shingles on residential roof made of asphalt roofing material
shingles on residential roof made of asphalt roofing material

What Are Shingles Made Of: Top Materials for Your Roof

Composite shingles are essential for roofs as they provide protection against outside elements like rain and winds and add to the house’s aesthetic appeal. There are various materials that roofing shingles are made of, each having its benefits and challenges. Most roof shingles are wood, metal, asphalt and slate.

This article will guide you through the most popular roofing shingles materials and list the pros and cons of each.

1. Asphalt Shingles

close up view of what shingles are made of - asphalt shingles

Asphalt roofing shingles are common in the roofing industry. Their manufacturing process involves a fiberglass mat coated with asphalt and embedded with stone granule. The stone granule shields the asphalt shingle from UV rays. It also provides various colors, which allow you to integrate them with different architectural styles.

Advantages and Disadvantages

They are well-liked because they are inexpensive and easy to install. Asphalt shingles are easy to install as you can use them on almost all roofs, like steeply pitched or flat roofs. Asphalt shingle installation usually involves nailing shingle layers onto the roof deck and overlapping them to maximize protection against water and wind. 

Another reason is that asphalt shingles are durable and can withstand up to 30 years if correctly maintained. They are also fire and wind resistant. Hence asphalt fiberglass shingles are primarily used in areas with a risk of wildfires and hurricanes. In these conditions, asphalt shingles will crack and lift. 

With all these advantages, asphalt shingles also have disadvantages. They aren’t very environmentally friendly as they are made from petroleum products. Furthermore, blue-green algae tend to grow on them, requiring periodic cleaning. Lastly, they don’t last as long as metal or slate shingles, lasting 50 to 100 years.

Overall, asphalt shingles are usually reached out for because they are affordable, versatile, and easily installable. 

2. Wood Shingles and Shakes

close up of shingles made of wood - cedar shake shingles

Wood roof shingles and shakes are elegant and timeless. It gives a natural and rustic look to a house. They are roof shingles made from redwood, pine trees, and cedar, cut by hand to provide a unique but irregular shape.

Advantages and Disadvantages

This specific type of roofing shingle is more environmentally friendly than others. They are recyclable and built from renewable resources, making them an eco-friendly option. Further, they provide good insulation, keeping home occupants warm in the winter and cool in the summer. This factor can reduce overall energy costs.

Wood roofing shingles last longer than asphalt shingles, up to 50 years. However, they need to be maintained regularly. They rot and usually have blue green algae growth on them. Manufacturers should make wood shingles to resist fire and comply with local building codes.

However, wood shingles and shakes are expensive as more labor and materials are needed to make them. The second disadvantage of these roof shingles is that they are suitable for all roofs. Wood is heavier than other materials; not all roofs can carry that weight. Thirdly, they aren’t ideal for severe weather conditions, making them more prone to damage. 

Even though wood roof shingles are expensive, they are an excellent investment because they are durable and add to the overall beauty of the house.

3. Metal Shingles

close up of shingles made of metal

Another popular choice among homeowners is metal roofing shingles. They are composite roof shingles made from steel or aluminum. They offer various benefits, which makes homeowners reach out to them more.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Metal shingles are durable and can withstand harsh weather conditions, such as heavy rain, hailstorms, and winds. Secondly, they are impervious to fire, mildew, and insects. Thirdly, they are very durable, with a lifespan of up to 50 years and regular maintenance.

They are eco-friendly, made of recyclable materials. Those who want sustainable options choose metal shingles. Furthermore, they are lightweight and easy to install. Shingle layers are easy to handle during installation because of how light they are. Lastly, they are relatively easy to maintain; you don’t have to clean and inspect them regularly. This eventually saves you time and money.

Out of all their benefits, they pose specific challenges. Firstly, users are challenged by their costs. They are more expensive than other materials. Another challenge is their noise level. The sound of rain pouring on metal shingles can become loud and bothersome to house occupants. 

Lastly, the installation of metal roofing shingles can be quite complicated. A professional is usually hired to install metal shingles. However, the benefits outweigh the challenges and are typically preferred by homeowners. 

4. Slate Shingles

side view of roof shingles made of slate material

Slate roofing shingles are on the high end of roofing material, The manufacturing process involves quarrying natural stones and cutting it into thin, flat pieces. Like other roofing materials, they pose both advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages and Disadvantages

The first advantage is that they are highly durable. They are also impervious to fire, insects, and rot, making them ideal for places at risk of wildfires, termites, or damp conditions. Furthermore, slate shingles need little to no maintenance besides cleaning to remove debris.

Slate shingles are characterized as being unique in color variations and natural textures. They come in many colors, like gray, red, purple, and black, which can also be mixed. The textures also differ, like smooth or rough.

Another key advantage is that they are energy efficient. They have a high thermal mass that can regulate the temperature inside a house by taking in and dispelling heat. This preserves energy costs.

On the other hand, a slate shingle’s disadvantage is that it is expensive. It is also heavy, making installation harder and requiring additional roof support.

Installation of the roofing shingle is also tricky as each installed shingle layer must be hand cut and installed precisely to ensure that it fits perfectly and offers water resistance. This process requires a skilled professional and can be rather time-consuming. Lastly, slate shingles are fragile and more prone to damage if stepped on or hit by heavy items.

Even though slate shingles make you dig into your pockets more, they are hugely preferred as they last longer than the others, require little to no maintenance and give your house a natural outlook.

Final Thoughts

To summarize, many factors must be considered when choosing the right shingle material. These factors include budget, style, and durability. Each roofing shingle material has unique characteristics, so it is important to research and talk with an expert before deciding.

Other considerations that need to be factored in are climate, maintenance requirements, and the house’s architectural style. A well-chosen roof shingle higher your home’s value and makes it last longer.

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