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The Pros and Cons of Composite (Synthetic) Shingles

August 30th, 2021 | 6 min. read

The Pros and Cons of Composite (Synthetic) Shingles

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One of the biggest decisions you’ll make for your roof replacement is finding the right roofing material. Since you’re here, you’re obviously considering a composite roof

But how do you decide if a composite shingle roof is right for you? That comes down to understanding the pros and cons of this type of roof system. 

Here at Bill Ragan Roofing, our main priority is giving you the information and education needed to make the right purchasing decision. To help you do this, we’ll be covering the 5 pros and 2 cons of a composite shingle roof. 

By the end of this article, you’ll know if a composite shingle roof is right for your replacement.  

The 5 pros of composite shingles

To kick off this pros and cons article, we’ll start with the pros of a composite shingle roof. Let’s get right in and dive into the 5 pros of composite shingles. 

1. Composite shingles are eco friendly

The world is becoming more aware of the impact we have on the environment. Because of that, the roofing industry is developing new roofing materials to become more environmentally conscious. 

That brings us to our first pro of composite shingles; they’re eco-friendly. Composite shingles are actually made of recycled materials (rubber and plastic). 

While this pro may not seem important, it will when we get to the durability section. 

2. Composite shingles look just like slate and cedar shake

The look is the biggest reason homeowners are drawn to composite shingles. They are designed to look exactly like a slate or cedar shake roof.

composite slate shingles compared to natural slate(Left = Real slate, Right = Composite slate) 

Composite slate shingles are modeled from actual slate and even have chisel marks to add a hand-crafted touch to give them a completely authentic look.

composite slate shingles compared to natural slate(Left = Real shake, Right = Composite shake) 

Composite cedar shake shingles have realistic grain patterns and deep grooves to create a shingle that looks just like shake shingles.

You might be able to tell the difference between the composite shingles and the roofing material it mimics if you work in the roofing industry. But I guarantee you, your neighbors, or anyone walking by won’t be able to tell the difference from the ground.

3. Composite shingles are long-lasting and durable

One of the biggest pros of composite shingles is their durability. Remember when I mentioned the importance of them being made out of recycled materials?

Because composite shingles are made of recycled plastic and rubber, you can hit them with a hammer and it bounces back. You also don’t have to worry about cracking them like real slate and cedar shakes when walking on the roof.

Composite shingles also have a high impact rating. For example, DaVinci shingles (the leading manufacturer) have a Class 4 impact rating, which is the highest rating a roofing material can have. 

This means they stand up well to anything that hits your roof, including extreme weather, such as hail. Because of this durability, composite shingles are one of the longest-lasting roofing materials on the market. 

As long as the roof is installed correctly, you can expect to get around 40-50 years of life out of a composite roof.

4. Composite slate shingles don’t cost as much as real slate

A composite cedar shake roof and a real cedar shake roof will be around the price. However, composite slate shingles and real slate come in at different price points. 

With that in mind, a composite slate roof will always be cheaper than a real slate roof. Composite shingles are usually around half the price for the shingles and components compared to real slate.

While the materials for a composite slate roof are cheaper, you also don’t have to worry about the weight issue that comes with a real slate roof. You won’t have to retrofit your home or do anything else to ensure your roof won’t cave in on you. 

This will save you money but still give you the natural slate look you want. 

5. The material warranty that comes with a composite roof

When getting a new roof, you’ll have two warranties to protect your investment. One will be on your contractor’s workmanship and one from the manufacturer on your roofing materials.

That brings us to the next pro of a composite shingle roof, the material warranty they come with. 

A composite shingle roof usually comes with a lifetime limited material warranty that will prorate after a certain number of years. However, the actual length of the material warranty depends on the manufacturer of your composite shingles. 

Talk to your roofing contractor about the manufacturer they use and your material warranty options before jumping into a composite roof investment.

The 2 cons of composite shingles

You’re probably thinking, “That was a lot of pros in favor of composite shingles.” The truth is, composite shingles are a great roofing material. 

However, there are a couple of cons of a composite roof that you need to know about. 

1. Composite shingles will be expensive 

A composite roof is considered a premium roof system. Because of this, you’ll pay a premium price. 

The cost of a composite roof is the biggest con and concern for homeowners.

Unfortunately, It’s impossible to give you an exact price on a new composite roof because there are too many factors that go into the cost. However, I can give you a general idea of the budget you’ll need.

A new composite slate roof will cost around $10.00 to $12.00 per square foot with the potential to get up to $20.00 or more per square foot. If you add upgrades like a metal accent or copper flashing, you’ll be a lot closer to the higher end of the price range.

A composite roof will cost more than the most expensive asphalt shingle roof. So, it won’t be the right roof for you if you’re looking for affordability.  

However, you’ll be able to afford a composite shingle roof if you’re seriously considering a slate or cedar shake roof. 

2. Composite shingles are newer to the roofing industry

While this con isn’t a big deal, it’s still something to keep in mind when deciding if a composite roof is right for you. The fact that composite shingles are newer to the roofing industry is a con.

Because of this, there are still some unknowns about them. But remember, manufacturers usually offer a limited lifetime warranty on composite shingles.  

They wouldn’t stand behind a product that doesn’t work, or they aren’t proud of. While composite shingles haven’t been around as long as other types of roofing materials, they’re becoming more and more popular. 

Is a composite roof right for you?

Now you know the 5 pros and 2 cons of getting a composite roof. After reading this article, you should have a good idea if a composite roof is the right fit for you. 

If you don’t think it’s the right type of roof for you, take this Roof Type Quiz to find a better fit. 

But if you’ve decided a composite roof is right for you, you’re ready to find a great roofing contractor. The question is, how do you find a great one in your area when there are a ton of options?

That comes down to asking the right questions and getting the right answers back when meeting potential roofing contractors. Because this is the difference between getting a great roof and potentially being taken advantage of, we created a checklist to help you out. 

The checklist gives you the 16 questions every homeowner needs to ask a roofing contractor and the right answers to get back. The last thing you want is to make the wrong hire. Get your checklist below.

Since 1990, the team at Bill Ragan Roofing has provided high-quality roof replacements to homeowners in Nashville and surrounding areas. We take pride in our workmanship and provide a lifetime warranty to back it up. If you’re local to Nashville, don’t hesitate to contact us for any of your roofing needs. 

Whether you’re local to Nashville or not, get your Checklist of 16 Questions to Ask a Roofing Contractor so you’re able to make the best hiring decision.

roofing contractor questions checklist

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