Building Materials

Pros and Cons: 6 Types of Shingles to Consider when Planning on Roof Renovation

Pros and Cons: 6 Types of Shingles to Consider when Planning on Roof Renovation

When you are planning on replacing your roof, choosing the right building materials based solely on aesthetics alone are not enough. It is very important that you look up online and understand what type of shingles best fit for your home considering different factors such as regional location and climate.

One of the first decisions you’ll need to reach is choice in design. In residential housing, you can choose quickly between shingles and paneled roofing (which is often limited to corrugated metal) based on the current style of your home and your vision for it. But the next question of material calls for more consideration.

Roof shingles are only small parts of building material installed above the underlayment, sheathing, and trusses of a roof to beautify and protect your property from harsh weather and other outdoor elements.

You’ll find they come in a wide variety of materials with each has a distinct benefit and downside. As shown below, we’ll explore six types of roofing shingles and point out their key distinction to help you find the perfect roofing material for your roof renovation project.

Types of Roofing Shingles:

Type of ShinglesMaterialsSuatable forAdvantagesDisadvantages
wood roof shinglesWoodHouses in the Great PlainsRustic look, ecological friendlyVulnerability to fire, fire codes in certain regions prohibit their installation
asphalt roof shingles
AsphaltHouses in the Northwest and NortheastCheapest cost, light weight, offers in wide range of thicknesses and colorsShortest lifespan, vulnerability to temperature fluctuations
Metal roof shinglesMetalHouses in Northwest and SoutheastLonger lifespan than asphalt or wood, reflects sunlight, lightest of typesHigher cost than asphalt or wood, noise
Composite roof shinglesCompositeHouses in all regionsAuthentic replicas of natural materials, color-fast, chemical additives offer added defensesExpensive, narrow pool of experienced roofers
Clay or Concrete roofingClay and ConcreteHouses in the SouthwestVariety of colors, non-combustibility, energy efficiencyHeavy weight (which means not all roof structures support its installation)
Slate roof shinglesSlateHouses in the MidwestLongest lifespan, offers natural aesthetic, low risk of leaksHighest cost, heavy weight (which means not all roof structures support its installation)

Another thing to consider when choosing for wood shingles is their shingle thicknesses, and lengths as well as their wood grades.

There are 3 standard shingle thicknesses and lengths:

  • The Fivex (1/4″ thick by 16″ in length)
  • The Perfection (3/8″ thick by18″ in length)
  • The Royal (1/2″ thick by 24″ in length)

There are also four types of Wood Shingle Grades:

#1 Grade Wood Shingle

  • This shingle is the best grade, taken from the tree’s heartwood, 100% edgegrain with no defects. Used for roofing and sidewalls.

#2 Grade Wood Shingle

  • This shingle is flatgrain with limited sapwood allowed. Limited knots and defects allowed above the clear portion (the part that will show once it’s installed). Often used for re-roofing, walls and as a starter course.

#3 Grade Wood Shingle

  • This shingle grade can include sapwood and flatgrain. Limited knots and defects allowed above the clear portion. Used for the undercourse in a two course application, garden sheds, walls of outbuildings, gazebos, etc.


  • A utility grade for under coursing of double coursed sidewalls only. Not a roofing material and not to be used as a starter course for roofs.

You have to keep in mind that at the end of the day, the total roof shingle replacement or installation over old shingles (if your roof can withstand the weight) is best enlisted to a professional builder unless you’re comfortable walking on the roof.

Individual shingle replacement as part of regular maintenance, however, can be a do-it-yourself task for certain types of shingles, in case that it would influence your final material pick.

(via Bob Villa)

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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