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The 4 Best Types of Roof Shingles for Residential Roofing

March 30th, 2022 | 6 min. read

The 4 Best Types of Roof Shingles for Residential Roofing

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Choosing the right type of roof shingle (aka roofing material) for your upcoming roof replacement is a big decision. So, it makes sense that you want to find the best. 

But the truth is, everyone has a different budget and look they want their roof to have. That’s why you need to find the best fit for you. 

For over 30 years, the team at Bill Ragan Roofing has helped homeowners find the perfect roofing material fit for their situation. Now we want to help you do the same. 

Let’s get to the 4 best types of roof shingles for residential roofing. 

Keep in mind that these aren’t all the roofing materials available. But they are the most popular among the homeowners we work with.  

1. Asphalt shingles

The first roof shingle (and most commonly used around the country) are asphalt shingles. Asphalt shingles, and other asphalt roofing components, make up the bulk of an asphalt roof system. 

Even though asphalt shingles are one of the best overall types of roof shingles, there are actually three different types of asphalt shingles. The three options to choose from are 3-tab, dimensional, and luxury. 

3 tab asphalt shingles

3-tab asphalt shingles lay flat and get their name from the 3 tabs on each shingle strip.

architectural asphalt shingles

Architectural (dimensional) asphalt shingles have a random pattern look or simulate the look of a wood shake roof.

luxury asphalt shingles

Luxury (or premium) asphalt shingles mimic the look of a slate roof. They’re larger and more durable than the two other types of asphalt shingles.

3-tab shingles used to dominate the market, but they are slowly being phased out of the roofing industry. Because of this, architectural shingles are the most common type installed on roofs today. 

Luxury asphalt shingles are still popular and as heavily marketed as architectural but are around double the price. If you’re looking for an affordable roof shingle that makes a good-quality roof, architectural asphalt shingles are a great option. 

But if you have a higher budget, want to raise your home’s curb appeal, and get extra life, a luxury asphalt shingle roof is well worth the price.

2. Composite (synthetic) shingles

Composite shingles are newer to the roofing industry than the rest of the shingles on this list. But they are becoming more and more popular by the day. 

Composite (also known as synthetic) roof shingles are made of recycled materials, like rubber and plastics. However, some composite shingle manufacturers, like DaVinci, are made out of an engineered polymer instead of recycled materials. 

composite (synthetic) shingles(Left: Composite Slate; Right: Composite Cedar Shake)

What makes composite shingles unique is that they’re designed to look exactly like cedar shake shingles or slate tiles. Manufacturers even use molds of actual cedar shake shingles and slate tiles to make them look as authentic as possible. 

They look so close to the real thing that you, your neighbors, or anyone walking by won’t be able to tell the difference from the ground. But if you work in the roofing industry, you’ll probably be able to notice the slight differences between composite shingles and the roofing material it mimics.

If you have the budget, a composite shingle roof is a great and durable roofing material that really boosts your home’s curb appeal. 

3. Cedar shake shingles

Next on the list of the best types of shingles for residential roofing are cedar shake shingles. Cedar shake shingles are made of natural wood (cedar) and are one of the most aesthetically pleasing roofing materials on the market.

cedar shake shingles

To make cedar shake shingles, cedar trees are cut into 2-foot sections and hand split or sawed into a tapered thickness (tapersawn). Hand split cedar shake shingles have a rugged look, while tapersawn gives them a much smoother look. 

Just know cedar shake shingles lose their color, rot, crack, and curl as they age, depending on the climate they’re exposed to. If you’re seriously considering a cedar shake roof, ask a local roofing contractor how the climate in your area will ultimately impact cedar shake shingles. 

Unfortunately, there’s no manufacturer warranty on cedar shake shingles if they fail prematurely because they’re naturally made. This means you’ll only have your roofing contractor’s workmanship warranty to fall back on if there’s ever a problem.

4. Slate shingles

The last shingle type on this list are slate shingles, more commonly known as slate tiles. Slate shingles are made out of naturally mined slate and make up the bulk of a slate roof system.

slate roof tiles

The slate is mined (mostly in Italy) and cut into fragile square tiles that have to be installed one at a time. This makes installing a new slate roof a very slow and expensive process. 

While slate tiles are fragile, they are also heavy. Your home has to be built, framed, or retrofitted to carry the weight of a slate roof before it can be installed. 

A slate roof is one of the best-looking and long-lasting roof systems out there, but it’s also the most expensive. But it’ll be the last roof you ever put on your home if you can afford the price.  

Just like cedar shake shingles, there’s no manufacturer warranty on the materials if the slate tiles break or fail prematurely. 

The buyer’s guide you need to choose the right type of roofing material

Now you know the 4 best types of roof shingles for residential roofing. Remember, there are more roofing materials for you to choose from. 

But these are the 4 that are favored by the homeowners we work with. Now, you may think you’re ready to decide which one of the shingles on this list is right for you. 

But there’s so much more you need to know about them before you can truly make the best decision. That’s why we created a buyer’s guide that gives you all the information needed to make the right roofing material decision. 

The Complete Guide to Purchasing a Roof gives you the advantages and disadvantages of all the roofing materials, plus their cost, lifespan, and warranty options. It also helps you hire a great roofing contractor, how to pay for a new roof, and more. 

Don’t experience buyer’s remorse after paying for a new roof. Keep going to get your free buyer’s guide now.

Since 1990, the team at Bill Ragan Roofing has provided high-quality roof replacements to homeowners in Nashville and surrounding Tennessee areas. When you work with us, you can count on getting a beautiful new roof that will last for decades. 

If you’re local to Nashville, Tennessee, don’t hesitate to contact us today for any of your roofing needs. 

Whether you’re local or not, here’s Your Complete Guide to Purchasing a Roof to find the perfect roofing material fit for your upcoming roof replacement.

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