Roofing shingles all overlap but what type do I choose?

Started by Jessica Dionne, November 12, 2015, 04:51:22 AM

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Jessica Dionne

I am getting ready to put a new roof on my home. There are so many types of shingles. They all seem to overlap in sections. How do I decide what type of shingle to use? I did some research that I want to share with you. Below are several types of shingles but I'm sure there are many types not listed. If you know of others, please add them to the comments below. In the end, I know I will call nnnnn nnnn for more information and ideas specific to my home. But at least I will be a little more educated when I call.

Solar shingle

The first thing I want to look at are solar shingles. Energy savings and leaving a very small footprint is very important to me. Solar shingles or solar panels or solar modules, depending on where you look, typically look just like a regular asphalt shingle. They can be made to fit together well, are durable and are easy to install. The roof needs to have a pitch of 3/12 or more. They are comparatively expensive but they do have a long life.

Asphalt shingle

Asphalt singles are the most common roofing shingle in the U.S. They are easy to install and less expensive than most shingles. They are one of the fastest installations, sometimes removing an old roof and putting up the new one can be done in less than a day. However, oddly, they are virtually unused elsewhere except in the outhouses in Europe. They are made of bitumen covered with a ceramic grit that can come in many colors. You must have a slated roof.

Wood shingle

Wood shingles are made from tapered thin pieces of wood, like red cedar. The problem is that if the red cedar is young, the life expectancy of the wood shingle is much shorter than if the red cedar is older. With the older red cedar, the life of the wood shingle roof can be up to 30 years. Bolts of other hardwoods including white cedar can also be used. Wood shingles are sometimes used on walls as well. The early North American colonies used wood shingles for most of their roofs and Scandinavia used wood shingles more than anything else until the 1950s.


Shake shingle are made from logs that have been split. Shake shingles typically gives a rougher appearance and are used worldwide still. They require weatherproofing and more maintenance than a lot of other shingles.

Ceramic tile

Ceramic tile roofing is lovely, creating a beautiful roof that can last more than 100 years, however, it is very heavy, requiring a very strong support structurally and it comes with a very high price tag.


Slate is actually a rock made of clay or volcanic ash. It has a life expectancy of up to 400 years, but it comes with an enormous price tag. Australia, Bethesda, Wales and Spain produce the highest quality slate.


removed commercial link, left the rest as there are a few interesting tidbits..........


Me I would used sod.......  works great for goat grazing.....
Proverbs 24:3-5 Through wisdom is an house builded; an by understanding it is established.  4 And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.  5 A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength.


   There's also rolled (Cheapest, good for low pitched rooflines) Metal panels, and metal shingles.  There's a roof in a neighborhood around here where someone cut countless Sparklett's 5 gallon glass water bottles the long way and used them like Spanish tile.
    I've been intrigued by the solar shingles though I've never used them---you combine the expense of two things.  It has to face south---so the rest of your roof either doesn't match or is expensive for no reason.  I don't know if you can walk on them and they probably shouldn't be under trees at all.  Collating all the wires would be hard.   As with all solar panels, they'll lose efficiency over time and they are pretty toxic to dispose of... Dow has a version that integrates well with asphalt shingles so it could be sectional.
   Around here shake/shingle roofs are not allowed anymore.  I doubt you could find anyone that knew how to install the skip sheeting that allows them to breathe.  They sure look good though.
   Composite (asphalt fiberglass) shingles offer some great advantages.  There is a huge variety of colors, tab designs, and thicknesses.  You can walk on them without damage.  No special tools are required.  You can utilize the cutoffs elsewhere.  Give them one hot day and they'll melt themselves into a single wind resistant roof.  If you need to add a hole somewhere they are easy to work and retrofit in sections.  You can re-roof in most cases, twice, over the existing shingles
   The common mistakes in installation are--failure to use a starter course (it will look funny because the first course won't bump up over anything, and they won't really set properly so wind can get under them) Not following the cut pattern (they give you that on each package) and relying on metal flashing in valleys and transitions.  (Metal gets hot and makes them fail early.  Valley flashing also can allow leaves and pine needles to work their way under ---find someone that knows how to lace valleys)
   I want to try to install a metal panel roof.  I love the way they look and how they handle snow.  People on this site have some nice examples.  My wife doesn't care for them so that option's out, though
   Oh and ceramic tile---there are lots of those around here.  They leak, I think due to lightweight construction methods and 2x3 trusses that move too much.  The leaks are very hard to locate and they break when walked on
Find what you love and let it kill you.