Skip to main content

Is your roof old or damaged? Get a free estimate today

« View All Posts

Shingle Styles

5 Questions To Ask Before Buying Roof Shingles

December 3, 2021 | 5 min. read

Print/Save as PDF

A roof replacement can be a burden psychologically and financially. The entire process can be challenging to navigate, it’s easy to get stuck when making decisions.


When it comes down to curb appeal and the longevity of your roof, one important decision to make is picking a shingle type.


There are many different shingle styles, from metal to wood and everything in between. How could you possibly choose?


At Rescue My Roof, we know you want to be confident that you have a roof that will keep your family safe and secure for a lifetime. A part of this process is determining which shingle type is best for your roof.


We’ve worked with hundreds of people who have faced this same struggle. That’s why we’ve created a list of five questions you should consider before purchasing shingles for your home. 


In this article, we will be covering the five questions and why they’re important. And at the end, you will be able to feel safe and secure in the decisions you’ve made for your home and family. 


How To Pick the Right Shingle For You


Picking out shingles may seem easy, but if you’re indecisive or don’t have much information about them, it can be more complicated than you think.


We’ve laid out five questions to ask yourself before buying, so you will go in with a better idea of what would be the right fit for you. 


1. Which Shingle Has the Best Appearance?


This is a question to determine what looks you would like for your home solely. There is no right or wrong answer, only opinions.


There are many different shingle types to choose from, and each is going to create a different aesthetic for your home. 


Asphalt Shingles


3-tab asphalt roof shinglesAsphalt shingles are one of the most popular options because they are durable, easy to install, and low in price. If you are looking for a cost-effective option that will give a clean look to your home, you might want to consider asphalt shingles.


There are three types that range in price: 3-Tab, Dimensional, and Luxury.


3-Tab shingles are generally $1-2 per square foot, making them an affordable option for any home. 


Dimensional shingles add more depth to a roof than 3-Tab shingles, making them look more modern (like luxury shingles), but they come at a fair price: $2-4 per sq. ft.


Luxury shingles are the most expensive of the bunch at $4-5 per sq. ft. 


Composite Shingles


Composite Roof Shingle TypeComposite shingles are for anyone who is eco-friendly and wants a highly durable roof. They are made from engineered materials like recycled rubber and plastic. 


They are man-made, and can be made to look like other shingle types. If you want the durability for your roof that other shingle styles can’t offer, you can have them made to look like asphalt, cedar shakes, or slate shingles. 


However, they are pricey. Composite shingles are typically $13-20 per sq. ft., which means they are not a very cost-effective option for a small budget. 


Cedar Shakes


Cedar Shake RoofsCedar shake shingles are made from natural wood and can give your home a very warm and natural look. 


Manufacturers cut large cedar trees into two-foot sections, and then all shingles are hand-split or tapered. Tapered cedar shakes will appear smoother, and hand-split is going to give your home a rugged look.


Cedar shakes are made from premium material, which means you will be paying premium prices. The average price in 2021 is $15-20 sq. ft., not including the costs of treatments, maintenance, and inevitable repairs. 


Metal Roofing


Bar style snow guard roof shingles metalIf you want a durable roof built to last and give your home a modern industrial look, metal roofing may be the way to go.


There are two types of metal roofing you can choose from exposed fastener or standing seam. 


Exposed fastener metal roofs use metal panels and connect them with exposed nails. These create more penetrations in the roof that put them at risk for leaks. 


Standing seam roofs also use metal panels, but the seams overlap and don’t have as many visible penetrations as exposed fastener roofs. This makes them more water-tight and durable. 


Exposed fastener roofs are generally cheaper at $25-70 per sq. ft. Standing seam is more expensive, costing $60-140 per sq. ft. 


If you want the industrial look and don’t mind the price, metal roofing might be the winner for you!


Slate Shingles


Slate roof shingles You will often see slate shingles in warmer climates as they can withstand extreme heat conditions and fire.


Slate shingles are made of stone. The rock is mined, and then the shingles are cut from the slab so that they all have a similar look, but in reality, have minute differences.


If you want a rustic, Tuscan look to your home and live in a warmer climate, slate shingles might be ideal for you.


However, slate shingles can be pricey and hard to install. Slate shingles cost $20-35 per sq. ft., and installation can take longer as the crew cannot walk across these shingles.


But if you live in a warm climate and love the look they provide, slate shingles may be the right choice for your home regardless of the cost. 


Clay Shingles


Clay shingles Clay shingles are very similar to slate in that they can withstand extremely hot temperatures and are fire-resistant.


Unlike slate, clay shingles are not made of stone. Clay shingles are molded and baked from – you guessed it – clay. 


They are highly durable and can last anywhere from 50-100 years. 


Additionally, they are cheaper than clay but can still give you the same dessert aesthetic. Clay shingles cost about $15-25 per sq. ft. 


2. What Shingle Style Is In My Neighborhood?


If there is a similar shingle-style throughout your neighborhood, you might feel uncomfortable sticking out. That is why we recommend going with a similar shingle-style prevalent throughout your area. 


Typically, this will be asphalt shingles. However, if you live in a warmer climate, slate or clay shingles might be more popular. 


However, if you find the type of roof you want and it doesn’t match the neighborhood- don’t let that deter you. 


As long as there are no Homeowners Associations with rules to follow, there are no repercussions to choosing a style different from the status quo. 


3. Do I Have To Get My Shingles Approved?


If you live in an area with an HOA or you live in a historical home, there may be rules regarding materials that can be used. 


Skip the hassle of being fined or getting in trouble with the historical society or HAO by picking a shingle that follows their rules. 


Check-in with your local HAO to see what shingle styles and colors are allowed. This will narrow down the selection that you will have. 


4. What is My Budget?


As seen above, shingle prices can vary greatly from material to material.


Premium materials like slate, metal, and wood are going to be much more pricey than your traditional asphalt shingle.


If you have a lower budget where you will need cost-effective options, that will narrow down your choices. You may have to go with the traditional asphalt shingle to save on costs. 


While you might get better durability with premium materials, there are still benefits to sticking with the asphalt shingles, like a lower price, 50-year warranties, and many color choices. 


5. Is This My Forever Home?


If you don’t plan on staying in a home for long, there may not be many benefits to adding on a metal, slate, or cedar shake roof. The materials are pricey, the maintenance can be complex, and it may not greatly affect the resale value. 


You can still get a roof that adds a lot of curb appeal with a cost-effective material that will save you money in the long run. 


However, if you are in your forever home, you might want to invest more money into your roof to get something long-lasting. 


When deciding your budget and picking materials, consider this question to help you if you are on the fence about a certain shingle style. 


If you aren’t staying, you won’t get to reap the benefits of a premium material. And if you are, you might want to invest in it. 


Picking the Right Shingles For My Home


Getting a new roof can be stressful, but picking out a material for your roof can be the fun part.


Now that you know the five questions to ask yourself about shingles, picking materials just got a lot easier.


You can learn more about the next step, roofing finishings, with “Active Ventilation vs. Passive Ventilation (and How To Choose).”


If you have a material in mind and are ready to begin, let us rescue your roof. Rescue My Roof has serviced the greater Milwaukee area for over a decade and has produced hundreds of happy homeowners.

You can be next! Contact us today to receive a free estimate.