Asphalt Shingles vs. Other Roofing Materials

Published On: September 20, 20230 Comments on Asphalt Shingles vs. Other Roofing MaterialsTags: Last Updated: January 24, 20244.3 min read

Understanding Roofing Materials is crucial when planning a home structure or replacement roof. The materials you choose can relatively determine the longevity, aesthetics, and overall functionality of your roof.

asphalt roofing

This brings us to one of the most commonly sought-after: the asphalt shingles.

Basics of Asphalt Shingles

Given their popularity among homeowners and contractors alike, understanding the fundamentals of asphalt shingles is critical. Predominantly used in North America, asphalt shingles are renowned for their balance between cost-effectiveness, versatility, and performance – this includes resisting harsh environmental elements. Here’s where we talk about the asphalt shingles lifespan. An average life expectancy lies between 15-30 years depending on several factors like the climate, maintenance practices, and the specific type of asphalt shingle used.

Part 1: Overview of Asphalt Shingles

Your journey into the world of asphalt shingles would be incomplete without a brief history lesson. Stemming from earlier versions known as “composite roofing,” today’s modern asphalt shingles came into existence in the early 20th century and have consistently evolved ever since. Indeed, roofing in general has evolved in many ways. Green roofs and rooftop gardens have pros and cons but are growing in popularity in urban areas. And sustainability is important in the choice of roof materials now.

Components of Asphalt Shingles

Why are these unassuming sheets so resilient? The answer lies in their components. Typically, they are composed of either a cellulose-fiber or fiberglass base which is then saturated with asphalt and coated with mineral granules. This composition makes them resistant to many environmental stressors.

Types of Asphalt Shingles

Moving on, you’ll find two types out there: architectural (also known as dimensional) and three-tab asphalt shingles. While both are valuable and practical in their own ways, the choice between them largely depends on aesthetic preferences, budget considerations, and desired durability level.

Benefits of Asphalt Shingles

In addition to being financially friendly, they offer an array of colors and styles to suit just about any home exterior design. They also deliver sound resistance against wind, rain, and hail to a satisfactory extent.

Limitations of Asphalt Shingles

Though beneficial, they aren’t without drawbacks. They’re susceptible to mold and mildew if not adequately maintained, especially in moist climates. Plus, their lifespan tends to be shorter than some other roofing materials.

other roofing materials

Part 2: Comparison with Other Roofing Materials

Metal roofing is another popular choice. It offers strong durability, and efficiency and is also recyclable at the end of its life cycle. A drawback is potential noise during rainstorms unless sound buffering elements are included during installation. When compared with asphalt, metal roofs have a longer lifespan but come with a significantly higher initial cost. Using a roofing calculator can help to provide an estimate to align with your budget.

Slate Roofs

Slate roofs carry a unique blend of beauty and resilience. Known for their robustness and aesthetic appeal, they can be more expensive and heavier than other choices. While their longevity surpasses asphalt shingles’, the higher cost can be a deterring factor.

Wood Shingle Roofs

If you prefer a traditional look, wood shingles may appeal to you. Made from cedar or yellow pine, they offer an aesthetic unlike any other roofing material creating a rustic allure. However, they require more maintenance than asphalt shingles.

Clay Tile Roofs

Clay tile roofs are highly durable and offer an attractive Mediterranean look. Their downside? The heavyweight can require additional structural support before implementation. They also tend to be pricier than asphalt shingles.

Part 3: Considerations for Choosing a Roofing Material

When selecting shingle options for your home, you need to take into account several considerations:

Climate Factors – Some materials might be better suited for your local weather conditions while others might diminish quickly.

Building Design – The design of your building impacts the type of roofing material that would best complement it aesthetically and functionally.

Maintenance Requirements – Some roofing materials require more care and maintenance than others which can influence your choice.

Before Selecting Your Material

Making the right roofing choice is centered on a thorough knowledge of each material and considering your unique situation. Each material comes with its specific benefits – metal is best for durability, slate for longevity, wood shingles for appearance, and asphalt shingles if you’re on a budget. Knowing this sets you off in the right direction. Also, consider future developments. You may want to install solar panels but not all roofs are suitable, so consult with your roofing service.

Consider Professional Advice

Remember, while you might have personal preferences, seeking professional advice is essential. Experienced roofers can provide nuanced detail regarding local weather patterns, architectural designs common to your area, and maintenance demands of each material. Detailed one-on-one consultation can make a world of difference in choices that suit both your pocketbook and home needs. Check for reviews or accreditations to the National Roofing Contractors Association or other certifications.


Choosing the right roofing material involves weighing various factors such as aesthetics, cost, durability, and maintenance needs. Despite its few drawbacks, asphalt shingles remain a popular choice for many homeowners due to their balance between cost and functionality.

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