Roof shingles come in a variety of materials — wood shake, clay, slate and asphalt shingles.
Wood shake shingles are considered by roofing contractors among the most durable roofing shingles on the market, able to withstand bad weather, are treated to resist fire and, it properly maintained, can last on a roof up to 50 years.
While wood shake shingles are considered durable, stone slate or clay tile shingles can last up to 75 years or longer, withstand severe weather and don’t burn.
Newer products coming to market include steel roofing shaped like a regular shingle, but includes a granular surface to give the look and feel of and asphalt shingle.
While wood, slate and clay shingles provide solid cover they are also among the most expensive options to replace a roof. Asphalt shingles are the predominant shingle used by roofing contractors and have undergone significant transformation in the last 20 years.
The most notable transformation is the move from an “organic” shingle with recycled paper mixed with asphalt at its core to a “fiberglass” shingle replacing the asphalt-treated paper with fiberglass.
The move has improved asphalt shingles by making them:
- Lighter and easier to work with.
- Have a higher fire rating than paper-coated asphalt shingles.
- More durable and longer lasting leading to a longer warranty.
While fiberglass is at the core of the newest fiberglass shingles, they also have a coat of adhesive asphalt on the surface with ceramic granules embedded into the shingle.
In addition to improving durability, new shingles have also limited the possibility of curling shingles, a known defect in some types of asphalt shingles sold in the past.
Because of the increasing durability and longevity — and affordability — asphalt shingles are the single most popular type of roofing shingle with four of five U.S. homes roofed with them.