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What are the Different Kinds of Roofing Shingles?

Ceramic roofing shingles can last for over a 100 years.
Terracotta roofing shingles are popular in warm regions.
Asphalt roofing shingles.
Experienced roofers will help you choose the correct shingles for the job.
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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 15 November 2014
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Roofing shingles come in a variety of styles and configurations to meet the needs of architects and homeowners looking for a sturdy roof that also accents the building it is installed on. Depending on the style of the home, one type of roofing shingles might be more appropriate than another, and roofers usually work with their clients to reach a good decision about shingles together. Whether the roof is part of a brand new home or is being redone, roofing shingles can be used to add to the beauty and value of a home.

The most widespread kind of roofing shingles are composition shingles, which are made using a base of fiberglass and asphalt which is studded with flecks of colored minerals. In some cases, the base may be made with more natural materials: if you are concerned about fiberglass, talk to your contractor. Composition shingles are popular with homeowners and roofers because they are cheaper than other types of shingle, very water resistant, fire resistant, and they also come in a myriad of colors. Common color variations for composition shingles include green, gray, blue, black, and brown; they can be coordinated with the home or used to blend the roof with neighboring roofs for an even appearance.

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Natural materials are also used to make roofing shingles. The most common natural choices are slate and cedar. In both cases, the natural material of choice must be carefully milled and cut, and requires more work to successfully install. Slate and cedar roofs look more elegant than composition roofs, but the difficulty of shingle manufacture and installation is reflected in the price. These roofing shingles do have advantages: both are naturally insect resistant, and slate is also fire resistant. Slate is also less likely to give way under the weight of heavy snow, partially because of the heavier roof support system that is required to install slate shingles. Slate and cedar are durable, beautiful, and longer lasting than composition roofs.

In some areas, tile is used to create a roof. Roofing tiles can be made from a variety of materials, although terracotta is the most common. Many Mediterranean inspired homes use roofing tiles, but tiles are not restricted to this style of architecture, and there are some sound reasons for choosing tile as a roofing material. A home which is roofed in tile will be cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, because tile acts like a temperature regulator for the home. While the distinctive red of terracotta is the most common color for roofing tiles, companies make tile in a range of colors and shapes to suit a wide number of architectural styles.

Roofing shingles should be chosen with care to the area in which the shingles are being installed. Whether re-roofing or building from scratch, an experienced and confident roofer should be chosen: ask around or use the local Chamber of Commerce to locate a skilled roofer. A good roofer will tell you which types of roofing shingles are appropriate for your home, and what your roofing options are depending on the region you live in. After meeting with a roofer and talking about your options, be sure to get a firm estimate on the total price of the work involved, and do not be afraid to ask questions about the warranty on the roof, when the contractor can start, and how long the project is expected to last.

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Charlie89
Post 3

Is slate the longest lasting type of roof shingles, or are there other ones that last a long time too?

I've heard that some of the composite ones can last for a really long time, but that was from a salesman, so I wasn't sure how true that is.

gregg1956
Post 2

Choosing shingles is one of those tasks that is deceptively difficult.

I would go for the nicest ones that you can easily afford, just because that is a good investment for your roof and can raise the value of your house.

If you really want a natural look, like cedar shingles, you could try a cheaper alternative, for example, shake shingles made out of a cheaper wood.

You also need to consider the environment of your house, and the kind of weather/moisture/dryness your shingles will have to take, and then choose accordingly.

EarlyForest
Post 1

I am trying to decide what kind of roofing shingles to use for my new house.

I've considered cedar shingles, but they can be really expensive.

Does anybody have any advice on the how to choose the right residential roofing shingles?

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