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Old 11-12-15, 02:39 AM   #1
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Default Roofing shingles all overlap but what type do I choose?

I am getting ready to put a new roof on my home. There are so many types of shingles. They all seem to overlap in sections. How do I decide what type of shingle to use? I did some research that I want to share with you. Below are several types of shingles but I'm sure there are many types not listed. If you know of others, please add them to the comments below. In the end, I know I will call Barton Roof for more information and ideas specific to my home. But at least I will be a little more educated when I call.

Solar shingle

The first thing I want to look at are solar shingles. Energy savings and leaving a very small footprint is very important to me. Solar shingles or solar panels or solar modules, depending on where you look, typically look just like a regular asphalt shingle. They can be made to fit together well, are durable and are easy to install. The roof needs to have a pitch of 3/12 or more. They are comparatively expensive but they do have a long life.

Asphalt shingle

Asphalt singles are the most common roofing shingle in the U.S. They are easy to install and less expensive than most shingles. They are one of the fastest installations, sometimes removing an old roof and putting up the new one can be done in less than a day. However, oddly, they are virtually unused elsewhere except in the outhouses in Europe. They are made of bitumen covered with a ceramic grit that can come in many colors. You must have a slated roof.

Wood shingle

Wood shingles are made from tapered thin pieces of wood, like red cedar. The problem is that if the red cedar is young, the life expectancy of the wood shingle is much shorter than if the red cedar is older. With the older red cedar, the life of the wood shingle roof can be up to 30 years. Bolts of other hardwoods including white cedar can also be used. Wood shingles are sometimes used on walls as well. The early North American colonies used wood shingles for most of their roofs and Scandinavia used wood shingles more than anything else until the 1950s.


Shake shingle are made from logs that have been split. Shake shingles typically gives a rougher appearance and are used worldwide still. They require weatherproofing and more maintenance than a lot of other shingles.

Ceramic tile

Ceramic tile roofing is lovely, creating a beautiful roof that can last more than 100 years, however, it is very heavy, requiring a very strong support structurally and it comes with a very high price tag.


Slate is actually a rock made of clay or volcanic ash. It has a life expectancy of up to 400 years, but it comes with an enormous price tag. Australia, Bethesda, Wales and Spain produce the highest quality slate.

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Old 11-12-15, 07:00 AM   #2
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Welcome to the forums, kayetine!

Replacing a roof can be a joy or a nightmare. If the existing roof has leaks or structural defects, these issues must be diagnosed and repaired during the reroof operation. If underlying problems are merely recovered during the reroofing, chances are they will come back sooner rather than later. DOES YOUR ROOF ALREADY HAVE ISSUES?

I see you have done some good research about material selection and construction methods. Will you be performing any of the labor? If not, it is very important to start screening contractors and setting up estimates with inspectors. Most decent firms have the quality guys or architect/engineering experts do a job site survey and shoot you an estimate on paper. If you have questions or doubts, asking the estimator the right questions will yield quick answers that may take a ton of time to look up. These answers may or may not be custom tailored to your home, but they will at least not be outdated and vague. Like test driving cars, it is important to see more than a couple of estimators before committing to your investment.

Many members here have chronicled their roofing projects here. Some have had it done, some have performed the work on their own. I have yet to see a solar shingle roof chronicled over any period past the initial install, or in reality. Not like I could spot one driving through a neighborhood, but I have plenty of local carpenter friends who would tell me about it if they worked on one. If you happen upon a successful install in your area, feel free to share your impressions of it with us.
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Old 11-12-15, 07:34 AM   #3
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An important roof type is missing - metal. This can be in the form of standing seam, ag panel, corrugated, metal shake "look", metal three tab "look", etc.

All kinds of metal roofs.

The cost is determined by the number of "squares" (100 sq feet).

Jeff also had good comments on contractors, bids and DIY.

In the LA area, fire danger is important to consider and metal roofs are fire proof in all but the most extreme conflagrations.

And metal roofs get you a substantial discount on your home insurance. In your area, I suggest you not put up a shake roof or any wood roof - just too dangerous despite the attractive look.

consulting on geothermal heating/cooling & rational energy use since 1990
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Old 11-12-15, 12:45 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by KayeTine View Post

Solar shingle

The first thing I want to look at are solar shingles. Energy savings and leaving a very small footprint is very important to me. Solar shingles or solar panels or solar modules, depending on where you look, typically look just like a regular asphalt shingle. They can be made to fit together well, are durable and are easy to install. The roof needs to have a pitch of 3/12 or more. They are comparatively expensive but they do have a long life.
Interesting you put Solar Shingles at the top of the list...

It's probably because Solar Shingles are where your heart is. I' say definitely go with solar shingles, at least on the face(s) of the roof that gets hit by sun.

Break out of tradition, go with a roof of the future!

Don't look back.


I'm not an HVAC technician. In fact, I'm barely even a hacker...
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Old 11-12-15, 11:07 PM   #5
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The manufacturers that I used to be aware of that were producing solar shingles are no longer producing them anymore. I've also talked with solar installers about them and there is a large amount of roofing penetrations where the wiring passes into the attic an it also requires the solar contractor to crawl around in your attic to connect the different segments of your array. I've been told that it is labor intensive(expensive to install), more prone to leakage, and more expensive for the materials. This is why they were the big fad for awhile but there weren't that you've seen or heard of being installed.

I'd skip the wooden shingles or shakes. Ceramic tile or slate are crazy expensive. You can get a great roof using metal as others have mentioned. Asphalt roofing is still the most common, relatively inexpensive to install and generally reliable. Asphalt shingles don't have the longest life but it seems most people move to a different house within 20-30 years anyway. If you don't have hail in Los Angeles, you'd probably get 30 years out of a '40 year' shingle. In Minnesota, people get 15-20 years from 25 year 3-tab shingles but nearly every replacement is covered by insurance for hail damage so it's usually as $1000 deductible and you get a new roof here. I imagine the new 40 year architectural shingles probably will last 25-30 years here, barring a freakish hailstorm or two.
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Old 11-13-15, 09:03 AM   #6
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I've heard similar about the solar shingles. The watts per sqft and $$ aren't very good. Its a better investment to go more standard on the roof and add typical solar panels especially now when panels are hovering close to $1 a watt. There are more efficient roof designs. Lighter colored or white shingles reflect more heat off your home. If you go asphalt I highly recommend a ridge vent if your roof shape and attic allow it. Metal roofs can be very efficient and are very long lasting. My current build uses a Texas cool roof design, recommended by Dablack. Very nice inside for what is now an unconditioned space. This is also a relatively easy retrofit to an existing house.
Cool Roof Design for Hot Texas Climate | Houston Cool Metal Roofs
And I believe AC has aluminum shingles which has some great virtues as well.
1.47 kw solar, R-40+ attic insulation, 4 layers radiant barrier, solar attic fan, solar mini pool pump
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Old 11-13-15, 10:28 PM   #7
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I'm already on year 11 with my Decra stone coated metal "tile" roof. Year two with the PV array mounted above half of it. I'll certainly never install anything other than metal on either of my houses.

My PV array makes one penetration through the roof where the weatherhead I installed to run the wires comes through the peak of the roof. The 102 mounts that attach my PV array to the trusses are all installed just like they would be if I had a clay tile roof. The metal tile sheds the rain onto the next lower tile.

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roofing, shingle

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