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.

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