What are asphalt shingles?

Asphalt shingles are one of the most commonly used roofing materials in residential construction. They are made from a combination of asphalt, fibreglass, and mineral granules. Asphalt shingles are known for their versatility and ability to withstand various weather conditions. They are available in different styles, such as three-tab, architectural, and designer shingles, allowing homeowners to choose the best option for their homes.

Advantages of asphalt shingles

There are several advantages to using asphalt shingles for your roof. Firstly, they are cost-effective compared to other roofing materials. Asphalt shingles are affordable to purchase and install, making them a popular choice among homeowners on a budget. Additionally, their installation is relatively quick and straightforward, saving both time and money during the construction process.

Another advantage of asphalt shingles is their durability. They can withstand harsh weather conditions, including wind, rain, and snow. Asphalt shingles are also resistant to fire, which adds an extra layer of safety to your home. 

Moreover, they require minimal maintenance over their lifespan, making them a hassle-free option for homeowners.

Lastly, asphalt shingles come in a wide range of colours and styles, allowing homeowners to customise their roofs according to their preferences. Whether you want a classic look or a modern aesthetic, there is an asphalt shingle option to suit your needs.

Disadvantages of asphalt shingles

While asphalt shingles have many advantages, they also have a few drawbacks to consider. One of the main disadvantages is their lifespan. On average, asphalt shingles last between 15 to 30 years, depending on the quality of the shingles and the climate in which they are installed. This lifespan is shorter compared to other roofing materials, such as metal or slate.

Additionally, asphalt shingles can be prone to damage from extreme weather conditions. Hail, high winds, and heavy snowfall can cause the shingles to crack or become dislodged. Although repairs are possible, these damages may require professional assistance and can incur additional costs.

Another factor to consider is the environmental impact of asphalt shingles. While they can be recycled, the majority of used asphalt shingles end up in landfills, contributing to environmental waste. However, advancements in recycling technology are making it easier to reuse and repurpose old asphalt shingles, reducing their impact on the environment.

Comparison with other roofing materials – metal, wood, and clay tiles

Now, let’s compare asphalt shingles with other popular roofing materials, such as metal, wood, and clay tiles.

Metal roofing

Metal roofing has gained popularity in recent years due to its durability and longevity. It can last up to 50 years or more, making it a long-term investment. 

Metal roofs are fire-resistant and can withstand extreme weather conditions, including high winds and hail. They are also energy-efficient, reflecting heat and reducing cooling costs. However, metal roofing can be expensive upfront, and the installation process may require professional expertise.

Wood roofing

Wood roofing, often made from cedar or redwood, provides a natural and rustic look to a home. Wood shingles or shakes are known for their insulation properties, keeping homes cool in summer and warm in winter. They are also biodegradable, making them an eco-friendly option. 

However, wood roofing requires regular maintenance, including treatments to prevent rot, mould, and insect damage. It is also less fire-resistant compared to other materials, which may be a concern in areas prone to wildfires.

Clay tiles

Clay tiles have been used for centuries and are known for their durability and aesthetic appeal. They can last up to 100 years or more, making them a long-term investment. Clay tiles are resistant to fire, insects, and rot. They also provide excellent insulation, keeping homes cool in hot climates. 

However, clay tiles are heavy and require a strong roof structure for 

installation. They can also be costly and may require professional expertise for proper installation.

Factors to consider when choosing roofing materials

When choosing roofing materials, there are several factors to consider:


Consider the climate in your area. Some materials, like asphalt shingles, are better suited for colder climates, while others, like clay tiles, are more suitable for warmer climates. Choose a material that can withstand the weather conditions in your region.


Evaluate your budget and determine how much you are willing to spend on your roof. Some materials, like asphalt shingles, are more affordable, while others, like metal or clay tiles, may require a larger investment upfront.


Consider the lifespan of the roofing materials. Some materials, like metal or clay tiles, have a longer lifespan compared to asphalt shingles. If you plan to stay in your home for many years, investing in a longer-lasting material may be a wise choice.

Aesthetic appeal

Think about the overall look you want to achieve for your home. Each roofing material has its own unique aesthetic, so choose one that complements the style of your property.

Maintenance requirements

Consider the maintenance requirements of each material. Some materials, like wood or clay tiles, require more regular maintenance compared to asphalt shingles. Factor in the time and effort you are willing to invest in maintaining your roof.

Lifespan and durability of asphalt shingles vs. other materials

As mentioned earlier, the lifespan of asphalt shingles is typically between 15 to 30 years. Metal roofing can last up to 50 years or more, while wood roofing can last around 30 years with proper maintenance. Clay tiles have the longest lifespan, lasting up to 100 years or more. When it comes to durability, metal, wood, and clay tiles are generally more resistant to extreme weather conditions compared to asphalt shingles.

Maintenance and repair considerations

Asphalt shingles require minimal maintenance over their lifespan. Periodic inspections and cleaning can help prolong their longevity. If any damage occurs, such as cracked or missing shingles, repairs can be made relatively easily. Metal roofing, wood roofing, and clay tiles may require more regular maintenance and professional assistance for repairs.


In conclusion, asphalt shingles offer several advantages, including affordability, durability, and aesthetic appeal. However, they have a shorter lifespan compared to other roofing materials and may require more frequent repairs. When choosing a roofing material, consider the climate, budget, longevity, aesthetic appeal, and maintenance requirements. Metal, wood, and clay tiles are alternative options to consider, each with their own unique advantages and drawbacks. Ultimately, the choice of roofing material and when to hire professional roofers will depend on your specific needs, preferences, and budget.