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Roofing Shingles

Water is to blame for 80 percent of all things that go wrong with your house. Protecting your investment from water damage means buying the right type of roof and having it properly installed. Shingles come in a variety of styles and materials and like most products, they all have their pros & cons. The most important consideration for your roofing material is its durability and resistance to decay. To help you determine the best material, we’ve compiled a brief description of each available product.


Aluminum roofing shingleAvailable in a limited color range, aluminum shingles are light, strong, durable and handsome. They will not split, dry out, or dry-rot, they’re resistant to insects, mildew & moss, and won’t ever rust. This is the perfect roofing material that will protect your investment for years.



Environmentally friendly copper is 100 percent recyclable, fire-resistant and rain & snow resistant. Copper roofing is not only aesthetic, but practical and built to last 100 years. This is certainly a cost-effective choice. You’ll enjoy watching this classic roof change over the years into a soft and natural patina.


Slate roofing shinglesA natural weather shield, slate is not only beautiful, but it’s long-lasting. It’s common for a slate roof to last 100 to 150 years. It comes in a wide range of natural colors and soft hues. The material and labor is pricey but well worth it if you plan to live in your home through old age. The material can be dangerous as it becomes brittle and begins falling to the ground. It also requires a professional slate roofer to affix and repair fallen slate.

Synthetic slate

If you love the look of slate but don’t like the price tag, an alternative is synthetic slate. The shingles are made with 100 percent recycled plastic and rubber. The tiles are roughly 18” long and 12” wide and they’re a quarter of the weight of real slate. They look like the real thing, install much quicker, and they cost much, much less.


Used on approximately 80 percent of all American homes, fire-resistant asphalt shingles come in a standard andarchitectural form - patterns of slate, wood shingles, or ceramic tile. With an extensive color range, inexpensive price tag, and inexpensive installation, it’s no wonder asphalt is so popular. Though the shingles come with warranties lasting anywhere from 20 to 45 years, there have been many consumer complaints about roofs failing long before warranties expired.


Wood roofing shinglesThe most common and most durable species used to make wood shingles is western red cedar. The wood should be treated to protect it from the elements and periodic maintenance is a must if you want to the roof to last 25 to 30 years. Moss growth and overhanging trees and vines will encourage decay. Select top-grade shingles with edge-grained heartwood (or treated sapwood). If your home is situated in a heavily shaded area or humid climate, a wood shingled roof will decay faster. Wood roofs present an extremely high fire risk and some insurance carriers will either raise your rates or drop your plan.

Fiberglass Asphalt

Inexpensive and easy to install, fiberglass asphalt is a popular roofing choice. It lasts up to 50 years and comes in a wide range of colors and design options. The material is resistant to heat and humidity and it weighs around 40 percent less than organic asphalt.


Clay roofing shinglesAgeless and enchanting,fired-clay tiles add character to a home. The material comes in a beautiful array of colors and graciously fades over time with a distinct patina. The play of light and shadows adds to the texture. Installation is labor-intensive and costly, but if it’s well-made, it should last a century. If your budget is tight, there are substitute materials that will give your roof the look of clay tiles at a much lower price and weight.


Copper & aluminum

Solar roof tiles

Wood shingles

Synthetic roofing review

A list of replica clay tiles

Clay tiles

Cedar shake and shingle bureau

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