what are shingles

What Are Roofing Shingles?

No other roofing material is as versatile and practical as shingles. They come in a wide variety of colours, styles, and textures to complement any home design and can be used on roofs with different pitches.

A shingle is a roof covering type originally designed for pitched roofs. These shingles are laid using an overlapping design to shed water. Shingles are made of different materials, i.e., asphalt, ceramic, metal, organic material such as wood or slate, and composite materials like fibre cement or fibreglass.

Aesthetic Properties

Shingles are a preferred roofing material because they offer a wide range of aesthetic options. They’re available in multiple patterns and textures that add curb appeal and value to your home.

Asphalt – Asphalt shingles are the most popular type of roofing shingle. They are made of a mat of organic materials like cellulose and fibreglass, which are then coated with asphalt and covered with ceramic granules.

Ceramic – Ceramic roofing shingles are made from clay or other inorganic materials. They’re fired at high temperatures to create a hard, durable surface.

Metal – Metal roofing shingles are steel, aluminum, or copper. They offer a classic look and are very durable.

Organic – Organic roofing shingles are made from materials like wood or slate. These shingles offer a natural look but require more maintenance than other types of shingles.

Composite – Composite roofing shingles are made from various materials, including fibreglass, asphalt, and ceramic. They offer the best features of other types of shingles and are known for their durability, too.

Underrated Performance

Roofing shingles are often underrated for their performance in extreme weather conditions. Shingles are designed to withstand high winds and heavy rain and even help protect your home from fire.

A roof shingle’s composition is what makes it so durable. The mat is made of organic materials that are coated with asphalt. This combination makes shingles flexible to expand and contract in extreme temperatures without cracking or breaking.

The ceramic granules on the surface of the shingle also add to its durability. These granules deflect UV rays and help keep your home cooler in summer. They also add weight to the shingle to withstand high winds.

Fun Fact: Henry Reynolds, a roofer from Grand Rapids, Michigan, is credited for inventing the first asphalt shingle in 1903. He experimented with saturated asphalt rolls by cutting and making individual shingles from them. He managed to cut the individual pieces and used them as roofing shingles. It took twelve years before the first-ever machine was built to mass-produce these shingles.

Fire Resistance

One of roofing shingles’ most important performance properties is their fire resistance. Shingles are rated for their fire resistance by class. Class A shingles are the most fire-resistant, and Class C shingles are the least.
Asphalt shingles are the most common type of roofing shingle, and they are also the most fire-resistant. The combination of organic materials and asphalt makes them very resistant to fire.

Ceramic roofing shingles are also very fire-resistant. They’re created at high temperatures to produce a surface that fire can’t easily penetrate.

Metal roofing shingles are also fire-resistant, but they’re not as common as asphalt or ceramic shingles. Aluminum, copper, and steel are all resistant to fire, but they’re only a second option to asphalt or ceramic shingles because they’re more expensive.

Organic roofing shingles, such as those made from wood or slate, are not as fire-resistant as other shingles. However, new technology allows them to be treated with fire-retardant chemicals to improve their fire resistance.
Composite roofing shingles are made from various materials, so their fire resistance varies. Some composite shingles are as fire-resistant as asphalt or ceramic shingles, while others are not.

You must pick the right type of shingle for your home – if you live in an area prone to wildfires, you should choose a shingle with a high fire rating.


Roofing shingles are a cost-effective way to roof your home. They’re less expensive than other types of roofing, such as metal or tile. They’re also easier to install, saving you money on installation costs.

Did you know that roofing shingles carry most of the concrete and slate tiles attributes? Yet, they’re almost half the price of these materials, making them a great option for budget-conscious homeowners.

Straightforward Installation

Another advantage of roofing shingles is that they’re easy to install. Most shingles can be installed by a qualified do-it-yourselfer, although we’re not saying everyone should do it.

  • Asphalt shingles are the easiest type of shingles to install. They weigh less than other shingles, so they’re easy to carry and maneuver. They also have a self-sealing adhesive strip that makes them easy to install.
  • Ceramic shingles are also easy to install. They’re slightly heavier than asphalt shingles, but you can cut them with a utility knife. They also have an adhesive strip for convenient installation.
  • Metal shingles are the most difficult type of shingles to install. They’re heavy and difficult to maneuver. They also need to be installed with special tools, such as a power drill.
  • Composite shingles are made from various materials, so their installation difficulty varies. Some composite shingles are as easy to install as asphalt or ceramic shingles, while others are more difficult and require experience and training.

The best option is to hire a professional roofer to install your new roof if you’re unsure how to do it yourself. Roofing is a dangerous job, and it’s best to leave it to the pros.

Less Maintenance

Another advantage of roofing shingles is that they require less maintenance than other types of roofing. Asphalt and ceramic shingles don’t require any special care, and they can last for decades with minimal upkeep.

On the other hand, metal roofs need to be cleaned and sealed regularly to prevent rust and corrosion. Composite shingles must likewise be kept clean and sealed regularly to prevent mould and mildew buildup.

The best way to maintain your roof is to have it inspected annually by a qualified roofer. They will be able to spot any problems before they become serious, and this applies to all types of roofing material, including shingles.

roofing quote

Roofing Quote: What a Homeowner Should Look for and Expect

If a crack or a leak needs repair or maintenance, it can be easy to shove it into the background of your mind and not think about it. As an essential part of your house and your family’s protection, a roofing quote can be overwhelming and scary. You will probably have a lot of questions such as:

  • How much is it going to cost?
  • Does the entire roof need to be replaced?
  • How long will it take?

As you’re not a roofing expert, it can be scary to leave the decision to other people. The good news is at Cambie roofing, we have the experience and the knowledge to steer you in the right direction without being too salesy. Because ultimately we leave the decision up to you.
Many homeowners have horror stories about when a roofing contractor quotes them something and it costs way more than expected.  These experiences tend to have a lasting and negative effect and causes them to suspect all roofing contractors are lying to them. Thankfully this is not the case.

Roofing Quote: How A Roofing Contractor Quotes  

To start the roofing quote process, we recommend the homeowners get three or four quotes for comparison purposes.
Unfortunately, hidden costs are always a possibility when it comes to any roofing project, such as unseen rotten wood or stucco that needs to be removed and replaced. Always ask your roofer to go over any potential extra charges. That way, you won’t be hit with any significant surprises.
Remember that every roofing job is different and each coming with its own unique set of challenges.
While reliable roofers will do their best to give you the most accurate roofing quotes possible, sometimes the unforeseen does occur. If this happens an open dialogue between the homeowner and roofing contractor is always important.
Nobody likes it when cost overruns and while sometimes there are unavoidable, a lot of them can be prevented if you follow these three steps.

  1. looks at reviews on Better Business Bureau and Google
  2. interviews several different roofing contractors.
  3. takes the time to fully review and understand all aspects of the quote

There’s no getting around that roof repair or replacement requires a significant investment. However, you shouldn’t think of it as a cost, rather an investment into your home that will increase the value.
We get that you’re busy with your job and your family but it’s important that you don’t gloss over these steps or skip them entirely.  The consequences can be both stressful and costly.
This means you shouldn’t get a handyman or your cousin to do the work.  Rather make sure a certified roofing professional near you. This will make sure that no problems occur down the road which could easily have been dealt with by a professional.

What Questions Should Homeowners Have Answered?

What are the questions that should be answered, in a written quote, to help determine which contractor will be the best choice for the job?
Here is the information they want to see:

  • Complete contact information including company name, business license number, phone number, and e-mail
  • Anticipated duration of the project including estimated start date and completion date
  • Itemization of all materials (quantities, colours, brands, product codes)
  • Itemization of labour cost
  • Terms including the timing of all payments
  • Confirmation of valid workplace insurance and general liability insurance coverage
  • Details of all warranties relating to materials and labour plus conditions
  • Responsibilities for property clean-up

While this may be an extensive list, it is important for a  roofing contractor to provide this type of detail if they want to secure the roofing project, and it is equally important for the homeowner to be fully satisfied with this information before accepting and signing the agreement. There should be no surprises, for either party, when the work is done.
Here are some of the more important points broken down into greater detail.

Projected Time Frame

One of the important pieces of choosing a roofing company is getting an idea of the time frame for your roofing project. A professional roofer should be able to estimate when they will start, how long the project should take, and what date you can expect the work to finish. Having a clear timeline will help you figure out what will best suit your schedule and your needs.

Roofing Quote: A Complete Work Description

Roofing quotes should also include an itemized description of the work. That needs to be done including exactly what the problem was and how the contractor fixed it. Don’t settle for some vague description or no description at all. Make sure that you understand the entire process and what the roofing company is doing.

The Roofing Repair Cost

The cost is always one of the most important aspects of any roofing project. Therefore you’ll want to know what to budget for and prepare adequately. Your estimate should include the cost of both labour and materials including the roof covering, underlayment, flashing, and gutters. There should also be a separate breakdown of wish list items or add ons like removing your old roof, hauling away debris, or renting a dumpster.

The Bottom Line

Whether you are a new homeowner or have been living in your house for many years, undergoing a roofing project is never fun. Thankfully with a little research and some helpful advice can help to ensure the roofing work meets your expectations and your budget.
At Cambie Roofing, we have over 50 years of experience building and installing roofs. We will help you through every step of the process including the initial quote, pick the roofing that is right for your home, and the installation. Call us today to discuss which roofing option is right for your home.