What Are Roofing Shingles And Their Types?

There Are Many Different Types Of Roofing Shingles To Choose From, But How Are They Made And What Types Are There? That’s All Discussed Here.


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Roofing Shingle Overview

Roofing Shingles is a roof covering made up of overlapping elements. Generally, these are flat, rectangular-shaped elements that are laid from the bottom edge of the roof all the way up, with each one overlapping the joints underneath it. The shingles are held in place by rafters. These rafters are made from various materials like flagstone, wood, plastic, slate, and composite materials such as asphalt and fiber cement.

Today, ceramic roof tiles dominate parts of Asia and Europe and are still referred to as tiles, not shingles. One of the most significant drawbacks associated with shingles is that they deteriorate faster and thus need to repel more water than architectural shingles mounted onto the wall. That said, versatility is one of the reasons why shingles are amongst the most common roofing materials in North America.

Asphalt Shingle Roofs

Asphalt roofing shingles are amongst the most common types used in the United States. However, fiberglass-based asphalt shingles are a common roofing material, especially in residential homes. In Europe, these shingles are referred to as bitumen shingles or tile strips and are far less common types of roof shingles.

The upside to asphalt shingles is that they are cost-effective, easy to install and can last for up to sixty years if taken care of and installed correctly. Plus, they are recyclable. Asphalt shingles are currently available in numerous styles and across a spectrum of colors.

Fiberglass shingles though artificially manufactured, benefit from the long-chain petroleum hydrocarbons that effectively repel water. On the other hand, wood shingles are protected by the oily nature of their cellulose structure. However, the oils in both types of shingles can soften over time in the sun and come rainfall; the oils are washed out. This makes asphalt shingles more prone to erosion, similar to wood shake shingles mainly if water isn’t effectively channeled off the roof.

The loss of oils can eventually cause the asphalt shingle fiber to start shrinking, and the wood shingles will rot, exposing the nail underneath them. It is only a matter of time before the nail heads are exposed that water will start seeping into the structure, resulting in rot if not addressed in time.

Wooden Shingles or Wood Shakes

Now there are two main types of wooden shingles, and shakes. Shakes are longer and often thicker compared to shingles. The primary difference apart from how they look is how they are made. Shingles are always sawn into pieces, but shakes are split at the side. That’s why wood shakes have more texture since it is split down the natural grain of the wood instead of it being sawn to shape.

It is worth pointing out that wooden shingles and shakes have long been attributed as a fire hazard, to the point where they are banned in various places, especially in urban centers. However, the same is true for other potentially combustible building materials that can lead to conflagrations.

The latest pressure-impregnated fire-retardant treatment of wood shingles and shakes now means that they bear a Class B fire rating, and it is possible to achieve a Class A when used with a set of special roof assemblies for wood shingles. This puts them on par with composite shingles and luxury asphalt shingles in terms of fire safety.

Wood shingles have been used for centuries across the world in places like Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, and Asia. That said, today, these are considered an expensive alternative to other cheaper types that last longer. However, they are still seen as offering more aesthetic appeal per square foot compared to other types of shingles like high-end types of asphalt shingles.

Stone Roofing Shingles

Stone shingles are also referred to as slate tiles; the latter is a term used outside the US. While relatively expensive, slate roofing shingles can last for up to 400 years! They are considered to be as durable as a metal roof in some ways. However, they can last around ninety to a hundred years, provided the roof is well maintained. Stone shingles may deteriorate over time, and it is possible to recycle them mainly by transferring them from one structure to the next. In other words, they can be reused!

Metal roof shingles in comparison can’t be recycled in this way, since with metal roofing they are often welded on.

One of the most common reasons for failure with this roofing system is that the slate shingles will become loose and slide out of place. This leads to small gaps between each shingle.

The other common reason for their failure is when they break. It is usually the lower half of the slate shingle that may break after breaking loose, leaving a gap in between. Usually, the small, highly stressed area on top of the nail hole leads to the slate slipping. Worst case scenario, the slate tile will break in half, or it may be lost.

The most common method of repairing slate roofs is to apply what’s referred to as ‘torching’, a mortar fillet placed underneath the slates, which are then hooked up to battens. This works as a repair because it holds the slates in place, or they may be added pre-emptively during construction.

When slates are heavy, the roof could start to split. This is often followed by rotting of the internal timbers, which is usually a result of inadequate ventilation in the roof space. You will want to use metal flashings which will last as long as the slates. Plus, modern slate shingles can be cut in various patterns and are available in multiple colors.

Final Word About Choosing Roof Shingles

While there are other types of shingle roofing, these are by far the most commonly used in North America. That said, the type of roofing material you choose mainly depends on your budget and aesthetic preferences.

Fiberglass asphalt shingles are by far the most common with clay tiles being ones that are rarely used in North America. Plus, if you’re considering installing solar panels, it is worth choosing a roofing material that are durable enough to hold the panels without breaking.

We Service The Entire Denver Metro Area And Beyond

Maxx Roof LLC serves the Denver metro area and the surrounding areas. Some of the cities we serve are Denver, Lakewood, Castle Rock, Arvada, Aurora, Boulder, Broomfield, Littleton, Englewood, Centennial, Parker, Thornton, Wheat Ridge, Golden, Morrison, Brighton, Commerce City, Watkins, Highlands Ranch, Lone Tree, Edgewater & beyond.

If your home or commercial property is located anywhere throughout the greater Denver metro area, give us a call for a free inspection & estimate. When you choose to work with Maxx Roof LLC, your are choosing to work with a roofing contractor you can count on, every step of the way.