An Ultimate Guide to Roofing Shingles — Which Is The Right Choice for Your Home?

If you’re planning on a new set of shingles on your roof, there are a few different types that you can choose from and each benefits and drawbacks. Depending on what type you choose, you might be looking at different looks, lifespans and weather-readiness. Here are some things to consider before you make your final decision.

Shingle Material & Look

If you’re looking to buy and install a new set of shingles on your home, it’s important to choose one for the aesthetic, insulation, ventilation, and value they add to your home. Depending on your neighborhood and local weather, some types of shingles will be better for you than others, such a metal, wood, solar or asphalt shingles. Here’s a quick guide to help you choose the best option for your roof.

Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt Shingles

One of the most common types of shingles are asphalt or fiberglass, which are made from fiberglass and then pressed onto a mix of ceramic and asphalt. They are among the most commonly used type of shingles for a number of reasons:

  • Great Pricing — they are typically much less expensive, especially in regions where roofs must be replaced more often
  • Asphalt Shingle Warranty — because of the affordable cost and availability, they can come with great warranties
  • Best Ventilation — they hold up better on roofs that have poor ventilation

In Florida, where annual storms can tear off shingles made of even the heaviest materials, asphalt shingles are a practical and popular choice. They are much less likely than tile or metal shingles to cause additional property damage to your home, or surrounding homes and vehicles if dislodged.  

Wood Shingles

Wood Shingles

Shingles that are made of wood are not as common as asphalt, mostly because they are one of the most expensive materials to use, but are still popular for their visual and natural appeal. All the different types of wood allows for a range of color, style, and material benefits. They also come with some good benefits:

  • Breathable Shingles — they breathe more than most other types of shingles
  • Eco-friendly Shingles — Shingled made from recycled or reclaimed wood can be eco-friendly, though the same can’t be said for newly-produced wood shingles
  • Add Value — the great visual appearance helps boost the value of your home but these singles are expensive

However, wood shingles are more difficult than most other materials. This usually results in longer and more expensive installation, and more potential issues due to the difficulty involved. They can last as long as 50 years but are not usually as durable.

Metal Shingles

Metal Shingles

Metal roofing also have different types of material such as aluminum, steel, and copper to give a variety of visual appeal—especially copper. They usually come in the form of corrugated sheets as well as more typical-looking shingles, though they are more expensive. Some of the benefits include:

  • Maximum Durability — the most durable material you can use against wind, but may be less effective at preventing water damage
  • Shingles with Style — can have a very unique and appealing aesthetic depending on the type of metal you choose
  • Recyclable Your Shingles — you can use recycled metal to save on cost and recycle old shingles

As far as drawbacks, they can be more expensive and loud in heavy rains. Depending on the type of metal or shingle style you choose, they won’t be the most visually appealing either. The basic corrugated sheets for example are only really good for secondary roofing, such as a garage or barn.

Solar Shingles

Solar Shingles

You’ve probably heard about solar panel roofs that are a relatively new craze, but now you can also get solar shingles. They blend in with the rest of your roof’s material and are made to look like normal shingles in size and appearance. They don’t generate as much power as solar panel roofs but look much nicer. Here are some other pros and cons:

  • Expensive to Install — they cost a lot to buy and install but you can save or even earn money through tax breaks and selling excess energy back to the electrical grid
  • A Great Power Source — they can generate as much as 100 watts per shingle
  • Environmentally-friendly — they help your home run on renewable and green energy

Wood and solar shingle on the other hand, are rather expensive to purchase even with government incentives, and are also expensive to install. whereas metal shingles don’t prevent against water damage. Asphalt shingles definitely seen to offer the most benefit when it comes to aesthetics, insulation, ventilation, and value for your money.

So what you choose depends on a number of factors: Do you want to pay for shingles that are more durable but are more expensive? Do you want to pay less? Do you want shingles more for how they look? Do you want environmentally friendly shingles? Prioritize these factors and that will help you narrow down the choices.

Hurricane Considerations for Shingles

Living in Florida, unfortunately, means dealing with hurricane season. This means there are a number of things to keep in mind when choosing your shingle style that you wouldn’t have to consider anywhere else. Here are some tips to consider:

  • Replacement — hurricane-force winds means that replacing your shingles are inevitable, so more expensive styles might not be viable
  • Damage — choosing heavier, bulkier shingles means the hurricane-force winds could cause more damage to your own home
  • Wind resistance — recent studies and research has led to more wind-resistant shingle designs that you can purchase and have installed

Hurricane-proofing can only go so far, so it is important that you do your due diligence and research the best ways to protect your roof during hurricane season.

Shingle Maintenance

Different shingles will have different needs. You should research these needs beforehand so that you can maintain them properly. The last thing you want is to miss early signs that your roof might start leaking or have other serious issues. Make sure you know how your roof will respond to the following:

  • Placement — how likely are to start missing, buckling, curling, or being knocked out of alignment?
  • Algae/mold — how easily can algae, mold or mildew grow on or among the shingles?
  • Damage — if there was hail, heavy wind, or falling debris what could you expect?
  • Maintenance — how often should they be washed or inspected?

If there is ever inclement weather, such as strong winds, heavy rain, large hail, or extreme heat and cold there is a better chance that your shingles might have sustained damage. Understanding the limitations of your shingles and how to maintain them will be your biggest two defence mechanisms for avoiding major issues with high repair costs.

When your unsure if you require maintenance, or if you already know you need to replace your shingles but don’t know what materials to choose, get in touch with a qualified roofing company that can guide you in the right direction.

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