The primary role of a roof on a home is to protect it from all kinds of weather conditions.  Different layers comprise the roof, including the roof frame, ice and water protector, underlayment, flashing, roof edge, and shingles.

Roofing shingles are used to safeguard and beautify a home. They are the most visible part of a roof and the first layer of the roof that protects the house from the impact of different weather events such as rain and snow.

When choosing the right type of roof shingles for a home, a homeowner should consider the quality, composition, and style of shingles to use.

Asphalt Shingles

The asphalt roof shingle is one of the most popular types of shingles used on homes because of its affordability. It is the most commonly used roof covering of residential homes in North America, with more than 70% of all houses covered in asphalt roof shingles.

However, asphalt shingles do not cope well in areas where there is a sudden change in temperatures as they can crack and become damaged due to their material makeup.

There are three types of asphalt shingles:

  • Fiberglass shingles are made from a fiberglass base mat and layered with a waterproof coating. They are lightweight, durable, UV resistant, and fire-resistant.
  • Architectural shingles, also known as laminated shingles, are made of the same material as standard asphalt shingles, but they are thicker, heavier, more durable, and more expensive than the 3-tab shingles. Laminated shingles have become popular because of their wide variety of styles and colors, which produce great visual effects on the roof’s surface.
  • Organic shingles, also known as 3-tab asphalt shingles, are made from wood chips, recycled cardboard, rags, and paper. Due to their organic-mat paper base, they tend to be the most inexpensive shingle to install.

However, this type of asphalt shingle is thin in composition and wears out more quickly than fiberglass or architectural shingles as it is prone to moisture and saturation.


Wood Roof Shingles

Wood roof shingles are considered to be a sustainable roofing option as they are more environmentally friendly and offer better insulation value than other types of shingles. They are durable and can last between 30 to 50 years.

However, this type of shingle is more likely to catch fire than other shingle materials and can suffer from termites and mold.

There are two main types of wood roof shingles: Wood Shingles and Wood Shakes. The difference between the two is that wood shingles are cut into perfect shapes to form a smooth tapered profile shape, while wood shakes are sawn off and hand-split to give a rough and varied appearance.


Metal Roof Shingles

Metal roof shingles are made with either constructed or solid metal, such as copper, tin, zinc, and aluminum, making them durable and enduring. Metal shingles can last for 50 to 75 years because they can resist fire, mildew, insects, and rot. They can also reflect sunlight rather than absorb it, lowering cooling costs.

However, one of the disadvantages of having a metal roofing is that it can become noisy whenever there is hail or rain. This type of shingle also costs more than either asphalt or wood shingles.


Tile Roof Shingles

Tile roof shingles are often seen on properties that have colonial Spanish or Mediterranean styles. They are one of the most durable, enduring, and visually appealing types of roofing shingles. Although tiles are not very expensive, the installation cost can be high.

This type of roofing shingle usually lasts 50 to 100 years, but without proper care, it can degrade and cause problems such as leaks, cracks, or holes.

There are eight types of roofing tiles:

  • Bituminous Tiles are made of fiberglass or cellulose fiber that has been imprinted with bitumen or asphalt and covered with granite or basalt chips on top. This type of tile is lightweight and flexible, making it easier to install. The difference between bituminous tiles and asphalt shingles is the thickness of the material. Bituminous tiles are thicker in appearance, giving a roof a more robust appearance.
  • Ceramic Clay Tiles are usually used in Spanish or Southwestern style homes. They are made from terracotta clay, helping the tiles retain their color. Clay tiles are fire-resistant and durable. They also require fewer repairs than asphalt roofing shingles.
  • Composite Tiles are multi-layered tiles made of metal, acrylic, and stone granules. This type of roofing is a popular, inexpensive alternative to clay tiles. They also have a lighter weight than either concrete or stone, making them an attractive option for people who are looking for a highly sturdy roof.
  • Concrete Interlocking Tiles are considered to be very durable roofing tiles made from a mixture of sand, cement, and water. Concrete tiles resemble the appearance of traditional ceramic tiles and are also fire-resistant and less prone to breakage. However, some roof frames may need to be reinforced to carry the load of concrete tiles.
  • Copper Tiles are known for their longevity, durability, and aesthetic appeal. A copper roof lasts much longer than traditional roofs, lasting 60 to 100 years with little maintenance. However, copper tiles are expensive and will darken and develop a patina over time.
  • Metal Tiles have the same advantages as other metal roofs, including longevity, durability, and fewer leaks. This type of roofing tile is much thicker than asphalt shingles. Therefore, its installation can be more expensive compared to an asphalt roofing installation. On the other hand, metal tiles are much lighter in weight than slate or concrete, making it a good alternative for homeowners looking for roofing tiles that resemble the look of a stone, but do not want to reinforce their roof decks during installation.
  • Polymer Sand Tiles are made from a mixture of sand and polymer and are produced in a mold. Homeowners looking for an alternative to ceramic tiles may choose to use polymer sand tiles for their roofs. They have some of the advantages of ceramic tiles, such as fire resistance, durability, and visual appeal and polymer sand tiles are less prone to breakage.
  • Stone Slate Tiles are one of the oldest and long-lasting roofing tiles, with some roofs lasting over 100 years. These are made of metamorphic rocks which are derived from sedimentary rock of volcanic ash and clay. This type of tile is durable, fire-resistant, and environmentally friendly, as it is a natural and recyclable product, which means it emits zero toxic substances into the environment.

However, this type of tile is pricey and can be difficult to install. As slate is dense, it can be very heavy and require a homeowner to reinforce their roof before installation.


Solar Shingles

Solar roofing shingles, also known as photovoltaic shingles, are among the most modern and expensive roof shingles. They mimic the appearance and function of roofing materials like asphalt or slate, such as durability and flexibility, while harnessing the sun’s solar energy to generate electricity for the home.

However, not all solar roofing shingles can be installed on an existing roof, unlike traditional solar panels. And, only a few solar roofing installers offer solar shingle installation.


Composite Plastic Shingles

Composite plastic shingles are made from recycled plastic materials, making them a great environmentally friendly roof replacement option. This type of roofing shingle is popular due to its affordability and its ability to imitate more expensive roofing shingles, such as wood shingles or stone slate roofing tiles.

However, installing composite plastic shingles may not be a wise choice for houses in areas that experience very cold climates, as it is highly vulnerable to cracking and breakage during winter.



Choosing the right roof shingle for your home should not depend only on its appearance. Instead, select roofing shingles that are energy-efficient, durable, and can withstand climate and weather changes. Building codes should also be considered when determining which roofing material to install. Some areas have local law codes for roof types or restrictions to the permitted shingle layers on the roof. The 2020 Residential Code of New York State has provided the provisions that govern the design, materials, construction, and quality of roof assemblies.

Installing, repairing, or replacing a home’s roof should be done properly and carefully. Hiring an ethical and reliable professional roofing company can help ensure quality roofing installations and repairs that will pass all home inspections.

Long Island Roofing and Chimney is an experienced roofing and chimney contractor on Long Island. The company’s staff can handle roof repairs and replacements and resolve other issues with the house’s structure.

Contact Long Island Roofing and Chimney today at 631-205-6177 (Suffolk County), 516-605-6108 (Nassau County), or click here to request a quote.