4 Excellent Types of Roof Shingles

Every new roof install requires a few big decisions. After all, there are quite a few parts that make up the roof above your head. While you may trust your roofing crew to handle many of the less-visible details — things like roof valley and chimney flashings — you’re going to need to give some thought to your new shingles. So what types of roof shingles are out there for you to choose from? So glad you asked!

What are the Common Types of Roof Shingles?

For this article, we’re going to look at four of the most common choices available in the USA.

Wood

When it comes to wood roofing, as building contractor Chris Deziel explains in a Hunker article, there are two types of roofing materials: wood shingles and wood shakes, with the former being the most widely used these days. The primary difference is one of production method. As he puts it, “shakes are formed by splitting, shingles by sawing.” So your basic history looks like this…

Wood Shakes

Split by hand from prior to the 19th century.

Wood Shingles

Made by sawing wood following the advent of sawmills and the rise of industrialization.

Wood can give your home a cool aesthetic, but two of the big downsides according to Deziel are the cost and the possibility of fires. The price of a wood roof is about double that of asphalt, and even though “commercially available wooden shakes and shingles now come pre-treated with a fire retardant,” they’re still, well… wooden.

Worried about a big storm? Learn how to check for hail damage in 3 steps.

Cedar shingles, a classic type of roof shingle, on a home in Nantucket.

Metal

When we predicted the rise of metal roofing in 2021, we explained that one of the major appeals to this roof type is its repair situation, or lack thereof. Common sense will tell you that bad weather damages a metal roof less than, say, a wooden one. So are there any downsides to consider? The main one for metal roofs (just like wooden roofs) is the cost, which can soar to 2 or 3 times the price you’ll pay for other roof types.

There are a few different types of metal roofs to choose from. Modernize lists the most common of these along with the range of costs for most. Find those numbers averaged out and organized for your convenience below:

*The following numbers should reflect rough averages according to the research linked to above done by Modernize and our own additional math. We averaged the range of their findings below. We then multiplied the average square foot cost by the average roof size of a residential American roof according to Roofing Calculator Inc. (1,700 sq. ft.).  

Common Types of Metal Roofs & Average Install Cost

*for a 1,700 sq. ft. roof or a 2,400 sq. ft. home in the case of metal slate

  • Zinc Metal
    • Avg. price per sq. ft: $8.33 x 1,700 = $14,161
    • Avg. price of installation: $12,487.50
  • Corrugated Metal
    • Avg. price per sq. ft: $3.10 x 1,700 = $5,270
    • Avg. price of installation: $15,000
  • Steel
    • Avg. price per sq. ft: $6 x 1,700 = $10,200
    • Avg. price of installation: $20,000
  • Metal Slate
    • Avg. price per sq. ft: $8.50 x 1,700 = $14,450
    • Avg. price of installation: *$21,000
  • Aluminum
    • Avg. price per sq. ft: $6 x 1,700 = $10,200
    • Avg. price of installation: $21,750
  • Standing Seam
    • Avg. price per sq. ft: $5.25 x 1,700 = $8,925
    • Avg. price of installation: $26,500
  • Tin
    • Avg. price per sq. ft: $8.95 x 1,700 = $15,215
    • Avg. price of installation: $27,000
  • Copper
    • Avg. price per sq. ft: $18 x 1,700 = $16,150
    • Avg. price of installation: $35,500

*The research gave a pre-averaged cost for metal slate based on a 2,400 sq. ft. home, so bear in mind that this number accounts for a bigger home than we used for the other types of roof shingles.

Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles are a great choice for most homes. This is the type of roof shingles that we install on the bulk of our customers’ houses. But like all the types of roofing materials on this list, the asphalt shingle category has subcategories within it. If you go with asphalt, you may have a choice between architectural and three-tab. GPro Exteriors also offers slate asphalt shingles (be sure to check with your local roofer to explore all available asphalt shingle options).

Slate vs 3-Tab vs Architectural Shingles

At GPro, we’ve come to trust Atlas Roofing for all of our asphalt shingles. When considering Atlas’ architectural shingles vs 3-tab, you have options ranging from great value to premium materials. Whatever types of roofing materials you choose, your roof will be in great shape with the industry’s #1 shingles manufacturer.

Architectural
  • StormMaster Shake
  • Pinnacle Pristine
  • ProLam
Three-Tab
  • Legend
  • GlassMaster
Slate 
  • StormMaster Slate

Side note: If you’re looking at slate shingles, StormMaster is an amazing premium pick for residential homes. Discover more about many of the Atlas shingle choices at your disposal in our dedicated article on slate and three-tab.

Rubber Roofing

Don’t count rubber out when you’re looking at different types of roof shingles. While more commonly used on businesses, rubber is a viable option for homes too. This Old House breaks down the three subtypes of rubber roofing (we’ll share some key points below) as built-up roof, modified bitumen, and EPDM.

Built-Up Roof
  • Least expensive option
  • The installation process can be a bear
  • Looks good
  • Material is very effective against fire
Modified Bitumen
  • May decrease energy bills by reflecting heat
  • Choose between peel-and-stick (DIY) or torch down application
    • Torch down can cause fires
EPDM (Rubber Membrane)
  • DIY option
  • Easily repaired
  • Costliest option
  • Light material, yet not easily torn/scuffed by the elements

Two men walking atop a roof with tile shingles.

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