Types of Roof Shingles

Perhaps one of the most frequently asked questions we receive is “what types of shingles are available?”. Usually the following associated question is “what shingle type is best?”.

To frame the discussion; perhaps a better phrase may be what are the options available for sloping roof applications. The product offerings and types are numerous for this category of roofing.

When one considers the most original types of materials for sloped roof coverings, dating back centuries; we can suggest the following:

Slate tiles/shingles: Are quarried from various areas from around the world, including North America. The regional source for the material speaks to the various colours that are available. From greys, to blacks, to red, plum, green, etc., are all varieties which are sourced from different areas. This truly green product has a reputation for lasting over a century, particularly when installed using stainless steel or copper nails.

This product although initially more expensive to install, provides perhaps the greatest value over it’s life-cycle. Particularly well suited to traditional architectural styles such as Tudor, Victorian, and Edwardian Styles; slate tiles can also look beautiful when utilized in modern architecture. No off-gassing is an often over-looked benefit of this product, which also meets high fire resistance ratings. The installation of slate shingles is best completed by skilled tradesmen, experienced in the craft.

Related Content: How to Shingle a Roof?

Clay tiles/shingles: Are man-made roofing products, also found throughout Europe and in North America. They tend to be popular in the warmer climate states of the U.S., Mexico, and South America. Although often referred to as Spanish tiles, clay tiles have been made in many configurations. The half barrel tile is likely the most common design. These products can well be thought of as a truly eco-friendly product. Such tiles are best suited to warmer climates where temperatures tend to be more consistent.

Cement tiles/shingles: Are also a man-made roofing product, with styles and designs which are often reminiscent of clay tiles. Like clay tiles, they are most typically installed on wood strapping. These products are more commonly found in the US, as Canadian manufacturers of such products have failed to remain in business; likely due to demand, and a lower US dollar. Such products are difficult to source for repairs in Canada, with best availability for material procurement in the US.

Metal tiles/shingles: can also be considered a green choice because of their recyclability. Typically very durable; there are differences between brands and types in terms of quality. There are a myriad of choices available within this category of roofing.

On the higher end of the scale are stamped metal tiles which can be manufactured in copper, zinc. galvalume, leaded copper, stainless steel, and pre-painted galvanized steel. Such products are typically manufactured by artisan metal workers whom can replicate an original style or profile, from prior centuries. The expense is warranted for historical restoration projects, but is not typically found on most residential homes. While enduring, such products are more likely in reach of the wealthy. A very common North American profile of metal tile appears in a diamond shaped configuration, designed to interlock with one another.

Related Content: How to Install Metal Roofing?

Stone coated steel tiles and shingles, are an increasingly popular option for consumers seeking a durable sloped roof system. Such products do not necessarily require installation strapping; although some do. Such products lay down on the roof, much like an asphalt shingle. Some manufactured product varieties in this category are better than others. To be careful of; are selecting products that when needing to be walked on; are subject to crushing down, and damaging side panel interlocking joints. Often these products are aluminum in type, and do not have stone coatings. As with any product which does have a granular surface adhered to metal, the possibility of granule loss over an extended time can be a possibility. Manufacturers of such products will typically warranty against such perils for a prescribed number of years. Certain of these products can replicate the appearance of a simulated cedar shake or even a clay tile roof. Such materials installed can typically run two to three times the cost of fibreglass laminate shingles.

Cedar Shakes & Shingles have been an original historical choice for hundreds of years in North America. Cedar shingles are typically sawn on both sides to form a smooth surfaced, tapered appearance. Cedar shakes are typically hand split of both sides, resulting in a more rustic, grainy appearance. They can also be sawn on one side creating a pronounced taper. Cedar shakes are typically thicker dimensionally than cedar shingles. Considered a premium roofing choice; cedar shingles and shakes provide a good level of insulation, resist insects, and can be fire treated or stained. Cedar shingles can be an excellent choice for exterior walls, providing a water-tight rustic appearance. Older growth cedar is considered the best choice with tighter grains. A renewable choice, cedar is also considered an eco-friendly product. Such materials should only be trusted to skilled craftsmen when undertaking installation or replacement. Strapping beneath cedar shingles, or installing a cedar breather product is highly recommended to achieve maximum life for this natural product. Zinc strips installed under hips and ridges can bleed oxide to reduce the occurrence of moss and algae. To learn more about products, specifications and certified installers, contact The Canadian Cedar Shake & Shingle Bureau.

Related Content: The Benefits of a Cedar Roof

Fiberglass Asphalt Shingles: Are the most popularly selected option for sloping roofs in North America.
They are likely so, due to their economical price point relative to other sloping roof materials. Offering the greatest variety of styles and colour choices, such shingles are promoted as architectural, designer, laminate, and tri-laminate, referencing specific construction and design characteristics. With all such shingles, asphalt is what makes such shingles last. These products replace the former organic asphalt shingles which typically exhibited a brick type appearance when installed. The last generation of organic asphalt shingles did not exhibit the same durability as modern-day laminate style shingles.

Interesting is the fact that manufacturer warranty coverage can vary greatly between brands. It is important for consumers to check for exclusions and differences in terms of coverage provisions on such warranties. Selecting a shingle brand’s certified installer is a good first step to insuring a competent installation. Contrary to popular belief; fibreglass asphalt shingles can be recycled for use in road asphalt or re-refined for use in alternative petroleum products.

The range of colours and styles can suit any architectural type, and certain styles include simulated cedar shake, and slate appearances. Most critical for any type of asphalt laminate shingle installation is the incorporation of a balanced intake and exhaust ventilation system as part of the new roofing assembly. This can extend to all types of roofing, but is especially important in relation to the validity of shingle manufacturer warranties.

Solar shingles; while still not commercially dominant, are another option available to consumers. Essentially, such shingles consist of solar reflective panels formed to look like a shingle, and are layed in a similar design to organic type shingles. Such products have photovoltaic cells designed to turn sunlight into usable electricity. Down Chemical® is often credited as a leader in such technology.

Other versions of solar shingles include Solaris™ shingles, manufactured by Certainteed™; which give the appearance and basic construction appearance of designer fibreglass shingles; but that also contain solar reflective granules which can serve to help lower the cooling costs of a home.

Both products described represent a higher investment relative to typical fibreglass laminate shingle options; but they certainly represent what the future may hold as we head into a more sustainable period of construction history.

To learn more about sloping roofing, or other building envelope specialties; contact www.avenueroadroofing.com.