Shingles are the most common type of residential roof. All shingles are not created equal, however, and, as a homeowner, you’ll be tasked with deciding what kind you want installed when purchasing a new roof.


The shingles on your roof are not just cosmetic. They create a watertight, wind-resistant seal to protect the roof from environmental damage. Your shingles are your roof’s first line of defense from the elements.

Common Types of Shingles

Three-tab: These are popular because of their functionality and affordability. They typically have a lifespan of around twenty years but are very susceptible to weather damage.
Architectural: These add dimension to the three-tab shingles. They are more expensive but preferred because they’re longer lasting and better looking.
Premium: These offer the same perks of architectural shingles but take a step up in terms of aesthetics. They offer different shapes and styles for an even greater multi-dimensional appearance.
This is the most common type of shingle used in America with two varieties, fiberglass and organic. The difference between the two lies in the mat material. Within these varieties are three different styles.


Tile shingles are often made from concrete or terra cotta and allow for a unique look for a home. They’re most common to the southwest region of America because of the weather and their insulative properties. Well-made tile shingles can last up to 100 years, barring environmental damage.


Wood shingles are not terribly common because they lack longevity. They offer a unique look that suits a variety of different designs. Cedar is the most popular type of wood shingle, although pine and redwood are also common.


Slate shingles offer extreme durability and can last over a century, but they also have the price tag to match. In addition to being durable, slate shingles don’t fade and will keep their original appearance for the lifetime of the roof. Unfortunately, they’re prohibitively expensive for most homeowners.


Metal shingles are still somewhat unknown but are becoming more popular, offering a nice combination of durability and longevity without sacrificing appearance. They’re more expensive than asphalt and wood, but less than slate, making for a nice compromise.

With so many options, it’s always a good idea to speak with a professional roofing contractor when deciding which shingles to use for your new roof. They’ll help you weigh all the pros and cons of the different options and choose what’s best for your needs.