When our customers ask, “What roofing shingles are the best?” we answer their question with another question:
“What do you want your shingles to do?” we ask.
This usually makes them stop and think for a moment. Then they come back with a list of demands.
Typically, they want roofing shingles with the following qualities:
- Great looking
Once we know what they want, it’s easy to look at the options available and find what roofing shingles are best for them.
If you also want shingles that do all the things listed above, then this is the blog for you!
In this post, we’ll go through the brands and types of shingles available. As a result, you’ll be ready to choose the most durable, affordable and aesthetically pleasing option for your home.
What is the Best Brand of Shingle?
Before we get into the different types of shingles available, let’s back up and look at the brands that provide them.
Choosing the right brand is crucial. After all, shingles from a lackluster manufacturer probably won’t give you all the benefits we listed above. They certainly won’t be as durable and will likely need to be replaced sooner than you’d hoped. And while they look good at first, that beauty will fade quickly. Then you’ll realize you overpaid for a low-quality product.
The best way to avoid this nightmare scenario is to choose an established brand with a good reputation. Look for a manufacturer that has been around for multiple decades and is still popular within the industry.
Many new shingle brands pop up all the time making bold claims about the quality of their products. When you hear these impressive claims, you need to stop and ask yourself this question: How do they know their shingles will perform this well in the long run if they’ve only been around for a few years? This question reveals what a gamble it is to purchase from a new and unproven company.
So, don’t let your roof be a test subject for unverified shingles. Instead, trust the top brands in the industry. The best way to find these brands is by viewing the ratings from a trustworthy third-party site like Consumer Reports.
Four manufacturers that Consumer Reports consistently ranks highly are Owens Corning, GAF, CertainTeed and Atlas Roofing. We’ve also had great results using all these brands.
Here’s a quick rundown of what you need to know about each of them:
Owens Corning has been manufacturing roofing shingles since 1938. It offers a wide variety of styles and colors to choose from and price points for any budget. The brand’s popular Berkshire, Woodcrest and Woodmoor series also mimic the style of slate and wood shake shingles for a more upscale appearance.
What sets Owens Corning apart from other shingle manufacturers is its warranty. The company offers 50-year non-prorated warranties on its higher-end products. However, an Owens Corning preferred contractor must install the shingles correctly to maintain warranty coverage. At Renowned Building Solutions, we’re proud to be Owens Corning preferred contractors.
GAF is one of the most respected names in roofing shingle manufacturing. The company has been an American institution since the late 1800s. It has a reputation for offering affordable yet durable shingles in many styles and materials.
GAF’s most popular shingles are its Timberline HDZ series. These asphalt architectural shingles provide a sophisticated look that goes great on most homes and comes with algae protection and a 25-year limited warranty.
Another company that is more than a century old, CertainTeed, has been a trusted name in quality roofing materials since 1904. Like the other brands listed here, CertainTeed provides an incredible selection of great-looking products. But what really sets the company apart is the durability of its shingles.
CertainTeed’s multilayered architectural shingles are some of the thickest on the market. Because of this, they have the best track record for lasting multiple decades without needing to be replaced. Their thickness also makes them more resistant to storm damage than shingles from most other brands.
Since its founding in 1982, Atlas Roofing has maintained a reputation as an affordable and convenient option for homeowners. The company has some of the lowest prices of any brand on the market, but that doesn’t come at the expense of product quality. Rather, Atlas shingles come with many of the same high-end qualities as other shingles on this list, including high-wind resistance, algae protection and extended warranties.
Another reason people love Atlas is because of the high variety of shingle options they provide. Their shingles come in virtually all the colors of the rainbow and in three-tab, architectural and slate styles. So, you’re sure to find the look you’re going for with Atlas.
Ultimately, you can’t go wrong with any of the brands listed above to get the best quality products for your home. But the next question is what type of products should you choose? We’ll explore the best types of roofing shingles next.
What Type of Shingles is Best?
So, what are the top-rated roofing shingles? Shingles come in many different materials, and the number of options can seem overwhelming. But don’t let yourself become paralyzed with indecision! Instead, check out our quick guide below, in which we break down the pros and cons of the most-used shingle types.
Asphalt is far and away the most popular shingle material on the market. We’d estimate that over 90% of the customers we’ve served over the years have chosen asphalt shingles for their roof replacement projects. The main reasons for this are the shingles’ price, performance and classic appearance. Let’s break this down further with the pros and cons.
- Lowest price of any roofing material
- Excellent water-shedding capabilities
- Withstand hot summers and frigid winters here in the Midwest
- Relatively long lifespan of 15-30 years, depending on the shingle thickness
- Very easy to repair for professional roofing contractors
- Appearance blends well with most types of homes
- Requires very little maintenance and upkeep
- Thinner and cheaper three-tab asphalt shingles are more prone to damage and decay
- Doesn’t look as fancy as higher-end materials like wood shake, tile and slate
- Wears out sooner than stronger materials like metal
Wood Shake Shingles
If you’re feeling adventurous, you may want to consider breaking from the asphalt norm and going with wood shakes. As their name indicates, wood shake shingles are thick, hand-split slabs of wood used to tile over a roof.
- Uneven texture of tiles gives the roof a distinct rustic appearance
- Cedar wood shakes look great on more traditional, Victorian-era homes
- Tiles are often up to one-inch thick, giving the roof plenty of protection from the elements
- Lifespan of up to 30 years with proper maintenance
- High costs of manufacturing and installation
- Requires a lot of regular maintenance to keep the shingles from buckling and degrading
- Lack of maintenance can cut the expected lifespan in half
- Wood material can attract pest infestation
Synthetic Slate Shingles
Many people love slate as a roofing material because of its smooth sophisticated look and unparalleled durability. However, natural slate shingles are very challenging to install and come with too high a price tag for most people’s budgets.
For this reason, brands like DaVinci and CertainTeed offer synthetic slate shingles. These shingles deliver the beauty of natural slate without the difficulties that come with installing it.
- Beautiful smooth appearance
- 100% maintenance-free
- Extremely long-lasting—you will probably never have to replace your roof again
- High fire rating
- Typically come with lifetime warranties
- Impact resistant against hail
- Much more expensive than standard asphalt shingles—cost about the same as wood shake or metal roof
- Slippery material can cause ice and snow to slide off during the winter, making ice guards necessary
Metal roofs are growing in popularity throughout the country. These roofs can be made of many different durable materials, including steel, aluminum, copper and alloy strips.
However, while coating your roof in metal may sound like a strong choice, these roofs are not without their drawbacks. Let’s look at some of the pros and cons.
- Extremely long-lasting—typical lifespan is 50-100 years
- Material does a great job of reflecting the sun’s heat to keep homes cool in the summer
- Most expensive material and installation costs of any type of roof
- Makes a lot of noise inside the home during rainstorms
- Slick material requires snow guards to prevent injury during the winter
- Metal roofs with exposed fasteners are prone to leaks and require significant upkeep
- Vulnerable to dents from hail and falling tree branches
What is the Best Asphalt Shingle?
If you decide to choose asphalt shingles, you should know that not all asphalt shingles are created equal. The thicker the shingles are, the better they will be for your home. In our opinion, thicker asphalt shingles also look superior because they give a roof a more robust and textured appearance.
Here are some things you should know about the three main types of asphalt shingles on the market:
Three Tab Shingles
The most basic style of asphalt shingle is the three tab. These one-dimensional shingles lie flat on the roof in neat rows and are very easy and inexpensive to install.
But aside from the low price, three tabs don’t have much else going for them. Their standard appearance isn’t much to look at and the thin layer of asphalt provides very little protection from the elements. Ultimately, a three tab roof won’t last you as long as the other types of asphalt roofs available, which is why the shingle is not very popular anymore.
A step up from three tabs is architectural or laminated shingles. These shingles have an attractive dimensional or layered appearance and provide greater protection for the roof than three tabs. While they are a bit pricier than three tabs, that price is well worth it for the enhanced cosmetic and protective features.
One of the nicest things about architectural shingles is how easy they are to repair if a shingle gets damaged or blows off. They also tend to have longer warranties than three tabs, with some coverage lasting up to 50 years.
Multilayered Architectural Shingles
The best type of asphalt shingles is multilayered architectural shingles. As their name indicates, these products are extremely thick for maximum roof protection. They can also withstand winds of over 100 miles per hour. So, if you live in a very windy or stormy region, we recommend going with these over standard architectural shingles.
Get Expert Help Choosing and Installing the Best Shingles
We hope this guide has helped clarify what roofing shingles are the best choice for your home. Remember to always go with an established shingle brand and pick the most durable and attractive type of shingles for your budget.
Of course, picking a solid product is only part of the game. You also need to have it correctly installed to give your home maximum protection and keep your warranty coverage. That’s where we come in!
At Renowned Building Solutions, we do residential roofing the right way to provide dependable results for our customers in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana and North Carolina. This process includes expert help with choosing the right materials for your roof. We’ll also fight for your insurance coverage if necessary.