5 Types of Shingles: Pros & Cons

The right type of roof shingle can enhance your home's aesthetics and provide adequate protection against the elements. But with so many options available, choosing the best material for your property, budget, and regional climate can quickly become overwhelming.

In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into 5 different types of roof shingles, exploring their vast materials, characteristics, benefits, and considerations.

Types of Roofing Shingles

In the Midwest, we're faced with hail storms, heavy snowfall, and, occasionally, tornados. So, it goes without saying that you need your shingles to be durable and long-lasting to protect your roof and family underneath.

When it comes to the most trusted and reliable types of shingles for our region, a few stand out. These shingles have proven their worth time and again, offering the durability and protection that Midwest homeowners expect.

Asphalt Shingles

Thanks to their affordability and versatility, asphalt shingles are the most common type of roofing material in the United States. They're available in a wide range of colors and styles and are relatively easy to install.

Depending on the quality of the shingles and environmental factors, asphalt shingles have a shorter lifespan than some other types of shingles, typically lasting between 15 and 30 years.

While asphalt shingles are durable, they can be more susceptible to damage from severe weather conditions. Strong winds, hail, and rapid temperature changes can all pose a threat. Regular maintenance and timely repairs are crucial to ensure their longevity.

Metal Shingles

Metal shingles are typically made from various metals, including steel, aluminum, copper, or zinc. These metals are then formed into individual shingles through a manufacturing process that involves stamping, cutting, and shaping.

Each type of metal offers unique characteristics, such as durability, corrosion resistance, and aesthetic appeal, making them suitable for different architectural styles and regions. Some metal shingles may be coated with finishes to enhance their appearance and provide additional protection against the elements.

Metal shingles are highly resistant to fire, extreme weather, and pests, which is why they're gaining so much popularity among Midwest homeowners. They're also energy-efficient, reflecting solar radiant heat and helping you save on energy costs.

So, what are their drawbacks?

  • Higher Initial Cost: Metal shingles may have a higher upfront cost compared to some other types of shingles.
  • Noise: Some homeowners complain that metal shingles are noisier during heavy rain or hail, although proper insulation can mitigate this issue.
  • Expansion and Contraction: Metal shingles can expand and contract with temperature fluctuations, so proper installation is crucial to prevent issues related to thermal movement.

Wood Shingles

For those looking for the rustic appeal of wood, wood shingles are prized for their aesthetic charm and are typically made from cedar, redwood, or pine.

Due to their natural material, they require regular maintenance to prevent rot, mold, and insect infestations. However, when properly cared for, wood shingles can provide decades of reliable performance.

Slate Shingles

Known for their attractive appearance, durability, and longevity, slate shingles are resistant to fire, mold, and insects, making them an ideal option for homeowners seeking low-maintenance roofing materials.

Made from metamorphic rocks derived from clay or volcanic ash, they offer a distinct aesthetic that adds character to any home's exterior.

However, one of their main drawbacks is their relatively heavy weight, which may require additional reinforcement of your roof structure. Keep in mind that this could add to your initial installation costs.

Solar Shingles

As the demand for sustainable building materials grows, solar shingles have emerged as an innovative roofing solution. These types of shingles are designed to seamlessly integrate with traditional roofing materials while harnessing the power of the sun to generate electricity for the home.

While the upfront cost of solar shingles may be higher than other types of shingles, they can lead to significant long-term savings on energy bills.

Thinking of going solar? Check out our guide on preparing your roof for solar installation.

Tile Shingles

Commonly associated with Mediterranean and Spanish-style architecture, tile shingles are available in clay and concrete options, which means they offer excellent resistance to fire, moisture, and pests. They're best suited for homes in warm and dry climates (such as California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas), where their thermal properties help keep interior temperatures cool.

Although this list contains popular types of shingles for our region, you won't see tile shingles here in Minnesota or other Midwest states, due to our freezing winters. However, we still wanted to include it here so you can see the many different materials that are used for roof shingles and where they perform best.

Roof Shingle Considerations

When selecting the right shingles for your home, consider various factors that can impact their performance and longevity, such as

Lifespan: Different types of shingles have varying lifespans, ranging from 15 to 50 years or more. Understanding this will help you make important decisions about replacement costs.

Installation and Maintenance: Remember that some shingles may require specialized installation techniques, while others may have specific maintenance needs.

Your Climate: Certain types of shingles are better suited for specific climates. For example, asphalt shingles perform well in a wide range of climates, while slate and tile shingles are more suitable for regions with mild weather or occasional temperature fluctuations.


Below, we've compiled a few commonly asked questions about roofing shingles that may be on your mind.

What are the best kinds of roof shingles?

The best kind of shingles depends on individual homeowner preferences, budget, and specific needs. Factors to consider include durability, aesthetic appeal, maintenance requirements, climate suitability, and installation costs.

What are the two most common types of shingles and how are they different?

The two most common types of shingles are asphalt shingles and metal shingles.

  • Asphalt shingles are popular for their affordability and versatility
  • Metal shingles are known for their exceptional durability and resistance to extreme weather conditions.

What are category 4 shingles?

Category 4 shingles refer to shingle products that have undergone rigorous testing to demonstrate their ability to withstand high-speed winds. These shingles are designed to provide enhanced protection against wind uplift and are recommended for homes in areas prone to hurricanes and strong storms.

Need Help Choosing the Best Roof Shingles?

Looking to install new roof shingles? Have questions about which material will offer the best performance?

Get in touch with All Elements, Inc. today for personalized guidance tailored to your specific home and location. With our extensive experience in repairing and installing different types of roof shingles, we can help you find the perfect match.

Trust our services to offer you the peace of mind of a well-protected and aesthetically pleasing roof for years to come.

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