What Types of Roof Shingles Are There?

In Alberta, most residential roofs use shingles to protect your home’s infrastructure. But there are lots of materials and options available when it comes to choosing a certain type of shingle. And it’s not all about aesthetics.

The type of roof shingles used has an impact on your roof’s performance through seasonal challenges and your roof’s expected lifetime. In this blog, we’ll describe what types of roofing shingles are out there and what factors should influence your decision.

Guns N Hoses has been replacing and repairing roofs since 2006 in Calgary and the surrounding area. If you’ve got more questions about roofing materials and what type of roofing is best for your next project, we’re happy to keep you informed.

Give us a call to set up a roofing inspection or consultation, and we’ll make sure to give you a rundown on all the shingle specifics.

Asphalt Shingles

The most popular type of roofing shingle, asphalt shingles are made of a fibreglass mat that’s been saturated with asphalt and then coated with mineral granules. Black or dark grey is most common, but they’re available in a variety of colours to match your home’s tone.

Asphalt Shingle Pros:

● They’re some of the most affordable roofing materials on the market. 

● Asphalt shingles are easy to install which keeps installation costs down.

● This type of shingle is low maintenance once installed. Simply clear away any debris that may have accumulated over time.

Asphalt Shingle Cons:

● Because they’re made from petroleum products, they aren’t the most environmentally friendly roofing materials. 

● They have a shorter lifespan than other types of roofing shingles: anywhere from 15-20 years. 

● Asphalt shingles are not as durable as some other types of roofing materials and can be damaged by high winds or hail.

The Different Types of Asphalt Roof Shingles

Asphalt shingles are the most common type of shingle used but there are different methods of installation and shingle types that can change the appearance of your roof. Asphalt has been used as a roofing material since the early 1900s, but the styles and methods have evolved over time.

Asphalt roof shingles come in 3 main types:

3-Tab Asphalt Shingles, which are the most simple and affordable. The name comes from the way they’re cut, which makes installation very simple. Because 3-tab shingles are made from a single layer of asphalt they are lightweight but also less durable than other types of shingles.

Architectural Asphalt Shingles provide more variance in the look of your roof. These are also called dimensional shingles or laminate shingles. These asphalt shingles are manufactured with multiple layers to create different thicknesses. This provides more texture (and protection) which more closely resembles slate or wood shingles. This type of shingle represents the majority of residential asphalt roofing in Alberta.

Luxury Shingles are a premium asphalt option that gives an even more realistic appearance of wood or slate shingles. This type of asphalt shingle is more durable, longer-lasting, and more expensive than other asphalt varieties. But still not as expensive as wood or slate.

Rubber Roof Shingles

Rubber shingles are a popular choice in Alberta because of their ability to withstand inclement weather. These shingles are made by recycling and processing used tires. The average roof uses about 500 recycled tires for a complete installation.

Rubber Shingle Pros:

● The most hail-resistant shingle available with a lifetime of 40-50 years.

● Lightweight and eco-friendly (made entirely from recycled rubber). 

● Very aesthetically pleasing. 

● Potential insurance discounts for installing rubber shingles.

Rubber Shingles Cons:

● More expensive than asphalt shingles (although less than most other materials).

● Lengthier installation process.

Guns N Hoses specializes in installing asphalt and rubber shingles on roofs in Southern Alberta. We can help you weigh the benefits and costs of these roofing materials if you’re due for new shingles or a roof replacement.

Dark metal roof on home.

Other Types of Roof Shingles

Wood Shingles & Shakes

Wood shingles, or shakes, are cut from blocks of wood that have been milled into thin, even pieces. Wood shakes are made from split logs that have been hand-cut or sawn into thick, uneven pieces.

Cedar is a popular manufacturing choice for wood shakes in Western Canada. Wood shingles and shakes add a rustic look to your home’s exterior.

Wood Shingles Pros:

● Wood is a renewable resource, making this one of the most eco-friendly roofing materials.

● Wood shingles and shakes can last up to 30 years with proper maintenance.

● This type of roofing material provides good insulation for your home.

Wood Shingles Cons:

● Wood shakes are at risk of termites in certain regions. 

● They require more maintenance than other types of roofing shingles. You’ll need to treat them regularly to prevent rot and insect damage. 

● Wood is a flammable material, so your home is at a higher risk for fire if you have a wood shake or wood shingle roof.

Metal Roof Shingles

Metal roofing is made from steel, aluminum, copper, or a mix of these metals. The manufacturing uses about 99% recycled metal. Metal shingles are available in a variety of colours and styles.

Metal Shingles Pros:

● Metal roofs are extremely durable and can last more than 50 years with proper maintenance. 

● They’re fire-resistant, which means your home is less vulnerable to fire damage.

● Metal roofs are eco-friendly because they’re made from recycled materials.

Metal Shingles Cons:

● Metal roofs are one of the more expensive roofing materials on the market.

● They require special training and equipment to install, which can drive up installation costs. 

● Metal roofs can be noisy during a rainstorm or when hail hits them.

Slate Roof Shingles

Slate roof shingles are made from natural stone that’s been kiln-fired. Slate shingles have a beautiful aesthetic that many homeowners appreciate. But slate is relatively expensive and a very heavy material to work with.

Slate Shingle Pros:

● Slate roofing is extremely durable and can last up to 100 years with proper maintenance.

● This type of roofing material is fire-resistant and eco-friendly. 

● Slate provides good insulation for your home.

Slate Shingle Cons:

● Slate is one of the most expensive roofing materials on the market. 

● It requires special training and equipment to install, which will increase installation costs.

● Slate roofs are heavy and may require reinforcement of your home’s structure before installation.

Clay Roofing Shingles

Clay roofing shingles are made by kiln-firing moulded clay tiles. They are made of natural clay that’s been extracted from the ground. Clay shingles can be coloured during manufacturing to offer shades of white, yellow, orange, red, and brown.

Clay Shingle Pros:

● Clay roofing shingles are extremely durable and can last up to 50 years with proper maintenance. 

● They’re very fire-resistant. 

● Clay roofs are eco-friendly because they’re made from natural materials.

Clay Shingle Cons:

● Clay roofing shingles are more costly than asphalt. 

● They require special training and equipment to install, which can drive up installation costs. 

● Clay roofs are heavy and may require reinforcement of your home’s structure before installation.

Solar Roofing Shingles

Solar roofing shingles are made from photovoltaic cells that generate electricity when exposed to sunlight. They look like traditional asphalt shingles, but they have the added benefit of generating renewable energy for your home. Because of their costs, solar shingles are not very common in homes connected to the main electrical grid.

Solar Shingle Pros:

● Solar roofing shingles are environmentally friendly and can help reduce your carbon footprint. 

● They can help you save money on your energy bills by generating renewable energy for your home. 

● Solar roofing shingles are durable and have a lifespan of 20-30 years.

Solar Shingle Cons:

● Solar roofing shingles have a high initial investment, including other electrical components. 

● They require special training and equipment to install, which can drive up installation costs. 

● Solar roofing shingles are not available in all areas and don’t make sense in non-sunny climates.

Composite Roof Shingles

Composite roof shingles are made from a mix of materials, including fibreglass, rubber, and recycled plastic. These are also referred to as polymer composite or synthetic shingles.

Composite Shingle Pros:

● Composite shingles can be made to mimic many types of other roofing materials including wood and slate. 

● They’re durable and have a lifespan of 20-30 years. 

● Each specific composite has a different rating, but in general composite shingles are more fire-resistant than wood or asphalt.

Composite Shingle Cons:

● Composite roof shingles are more expensive than asphalt shingles. 

● They’re not very resistant to impact from hail or falling debris. 

● This type of shingle is not ideal for heavy sun exposure and offers less insulation than other materials.

Closeup of cedar shakes on home.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Roof Shingles

If your home is due for a roof replacement, there are a few factors to consider when choosing the right shingle type. Replacing the shingles on your roof is a big investment and one that deserves considering all the solutions.

At Guns N Hoses, we’ll always walk you through all the options available and make sure you’re well aware of the benefits of each type of shingle. But here are some things to consider during the roof replacement process.

The Climate You Live In

If you live in the Calgary area, you know we’re prone to extreme weather conditions. This includes hail, heavy snow, and high winds. You’ll want to choose a shingle that’s more durable.

Southern Alberta receives a lot of natural sunlight each year. So make the shingle type you prefer is rated for high UV exposure.

The Slope of Your Roof

If your roof has a steep slope, you’ll want to choose a shingle that’s less likely to blow off in high winds.

The Type of Home You Have

Your roof is a major part of your home’s aesthetic, so choose a roofing material that complements the rest of your house. Several shingle options have superior durability and a desirable look.

Your Roof Replacement Budget

Obviously, the cost is always a factor when it comes to major home upgrades and purchases. Consider not only the initial installation costs of each shingle type but also the maintenance costs for your selected material.

Helping You Select Your Shingles

No matter what type of roofing shingle you decide on, Guns N Hoses is here to help through every step of the process. We’ll begin by assessing your current roof and making suggestions for shingle selection.

We offer financing options to help make sure every one of our clients can keep their home safe and protected for years to come. We’ll make sure you know exactly what to expect with your new shingles and that you’re aware of the options available within each budget.

Get a hold of our shingle specialists to set up a visit to your home. We look forward to replacing your shingles and keeping you safe under a reliable roof!

Written by Tricia Arsenault

Tricia’s first experience roofing was when she was a teenager, roofing with her dad in small-town Manitoba. Her dad was a farmer but they did construction in their spare time, and she was his right-hand woman. After highschool, Tricia graduated from the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Commerce degree, majoring in Marketing and International business. She has worked in the travel and finance industry and then returned full circle to the construction industry when she started Guns N Hoses with Keith over 14 years ago. Fun fact: Tricia has traveled all over the world, lived in three different continents and traveled to fifteen different countries.

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