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Are you looking to replace your roof? Before selecting a material, it is important to do your research on the pros and cons of the variety of different shingles. 

First, let’s start with some basics.  Roof shingles are a series of individual pieces that, when laid together in rows form a barrier. This barrier is designed to repel water, snow, and ice and ultimately insulate your home. As water runs down the surface, it moves across each shingle until it reaches the gutters or falls to the ground. 

Shingles come in a wide variety of materials, but each has unique benefits and disadvantages. Keep reading to learn more about four types of shingles to help you make the right decision for your roof. 


Pros: Low cost, waterproof and fireproof,  lightweight, wide variety of thickness and colors, many meet Energy Star standards 

Cons: Shortest lifespan and vulnerable to temperature fluctuations

Asphalt shingles are made of asphalt reinforced with fiberglass or organic materials such as wood or cellulose. They are waterproof, fireproof, and flexible to withstand the weight of snow and hail, which is perfect for northeast climates. However, asphalt shingles are susceptible to temperature fluctuations which can lead to cracks in your roof. Due to this, asphalt has the shortest lifespan of 20 to 30 years. Another important note is that asphalt shingles can only be used on steep-sloped roofs. 


Pros: Environmentally friendly, durable, energy-efficient, long lifespan, and available in cedar and redwood

Cons: Vulnerability to fire, fire codes in certain areas prohibit their installation

Wood shingles have a variety of benefits including the ability to last between 30 to 50 years and providing your home with a rustic aesthetic. Even so, wood shingles are more likely to catch fire than other types of material. These shingles are not fit for extremely hot, dry, or wet climates as they’re vulnerable to fire, rot, hail, and termites. 


Pros: Longest lifespan, low risk of leaks, durable, and natural aesthetic look

Cons: Heavy weight, high cost, and expensive to repair

Slate shingles are known to last anywhere from 50 to 100 years and have some best water and damage resistance properties. This is ideal to withstand large amounts of snow and frigid temperatures. Keep in mind that certain home structures can’t withstand their weight. Make sure to consult with a contractor before making the decision. Color options for slate consist of green, black, gray, and red. 


Pros: Longer lifespan than asphalt and wood, reflects sunlight, lightest material, and resistant to all of outdoor elements 

Cons: Higher cost than asphalt and wood, noisy 

If your roof is steep or flat, a metal roof is a great option. This type of roof is both durable and has a long life span of 50 to 75 years. Metal roofing is also one of the most energy-efficient materials because of their ability to reflect sunlight thereby lowering cooling costs. They have incredible resistance to the outdoor elements making it a viable option for northeast homes. It is important to note that rain and hail sound louder on metal roofs compared to other materials. Other types of metal include copper, tin, zinc and aluminum. 

At the end of the day, no matter what type of shingle you choose, make sure the installation is done by a reputable roofing contractor. Not only should you ensure the shingles are protected under a warranty, but you should also know how to properly care for them. 

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