Shingle Roofing Materials: Comparing Asphalt, Wood, and Slate Options

When it comes to roofing your home, there are many options to choose from. Shingle roofing is one of the most popular choices for homeowners due to its affordability, durability, and versatility. At Steadfast Roofing Group, we specialize in all types of roofing, including shingle roofing, metal roofing, and flat roof repair. In this blog post, we will delve into the three main types of shingle roofing materials – asphalt, wood, and slate – and compare their pros and cons to help you make an informed decision for your home.

Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles are by far the most common type of shingle roofing material used today. They are made of a fiberglass or organic mat base that is coated with asphalt and topped with ceramic granules. Asphalt shingles come in a wide variety of colors and styles to complement any home’s exterior.


  • Affordable: Asphalt shingles are one of the most budget-friendly roofing options on the market. They are much less expensive than other shingle roofing materials like wood or slate.
  • Easy to install: Asphalt shingles are lightweight and easy to work with, making installation quick and straightforward for experienced shingle roofers like the team at Steadfast Roofing Group.
  • Low maintenance: Asphalt shingles require very little upkeep. Regular inspections and basic repairs can keep them in good shape for 20-30 years.
  • Fire and wind resistant: Many asphalt shingles are designed to be fire resistant and can withstand high winds, making them a safe and durable choice.


  • Shorter lifespan: Compared to other shingle roofing materials, asphalt shingles have a relatively short lifespan of 20-30 years. They may need to be replaced sooner in areas with severe weather.
  • Less environmentally friendly: Asphalt shingles are made from petroleum products and are not biodegradable. They contribute significantly to landfill waste when replaced.
  • Can be damaged by extreme temperatures: Asphalt shingles can crack or become brittle in extreme cold and may buckle or warp in intense heat.

Wood Shingles and Shakes

Wood shingles and shakes are made from natural wood materials, typically cedar, redwood, or pine. Shingles are machine-cut and have a smooth, uniform appearance, while shakes are hand-split and have a more rustic, textured look. Wood roofing has been used for centuries and offers a classic, timeless aesthetic.


  • Natural beauty: Wood shingles and shakes provide a warm, organic look that complements many architectural styles, particularly traditional and rustic homes.
  • Energy efficient: Wood is a natural insulator, helping to keep your home cool in summer and warm in winter, potentially reducing energy costs.
  • Durable: With proper maintenance, wood shingle roofing can last 30-50 years.
  • Environmentally friendly: Wood is a renewable resource and biodegradable, making it a more eco-friendly choice than asphalt.


  • Higher cost: Wood shingles and shakes are more expensive than asphalt, both in terms of material cost and installation labor.
  • Requires more maintenance: Wood roofing requires regular cleaning, staining, and sealing to prevent moisture damage, rot, and insect infestations. Neglecting maintenance can significantly shorten its lifespan.
  • Fire hazard: Unless treated with fire retardants, wood shingles and shakes can be a fire hazard, particularly in dry, wildfire-prone areas.
  • Susceptible to moisture damage: Wood is naturally absorbent and can be prone to warping, curling, or splitting if exposed to excessive moisture.

Slate Shingles

Slate is a natural stone that has been used for roofing for hundreds of years. It is quarried and cut into thin, uniform slabs that are then installed overlapping on the roof. Slate roofing is prized for its beauty, durability, and longevity.


  • Longevity: Slate is one of the longest-lasting roofing materials available. A properly installed and maintained slate roof can last 75-150 years or more.
  • Low maintenance: Slate is highly resistant to weather, fire, and pests and requires very little maintenance over its lifetime.
  • Aesthetics: Slate has a distinctively elegant and sophisticated look that enhances the curb appeal of high-end homes and historical properties.
  • Environmentally friendly: Slate is a natural, recyclable material with a very long lifespan, reducing waste and the environmental impact of frequent roof replacements.
  • Fire and wind resistant: Slate is non-combustible and very dense, making it resistant to fire and able to withstand high winds and impacts.


  • High cost: Slate is one of the most expensive roofing materials, both in terms of the raw material and the skilled labor required for installation.
  • Heavy weight: Slate is very heavy, requiring a sturdy roof structure to support it. Some homes may need structural reinforcement before slate can be installed.
  • Complex installation: Installing slate shingles is a highly specialized skill that requires experienced professionals. Improper installation can lead to leaks and other problems.
  • Fragility: Despite its overall durability, slate can crack or break if walked on or subjected to heavy impacts. Repairs can be costly and require skilled labor.

Comparing Costs

One of the most significant factors homeowners consider when choosing a shingle roofing material is cost. Here’s a general breakdown of the costs associated with each type of shingle:

  • Asphalt: Asphalt shingles are the most affordable option, costing around $100-$150 per square (100 square feet) for basic three-tab shingles, and $150-$200 per square for higher-end architectural shingles. Professional installation typically adds $100-$200 per square.
  • Wood: Wood shingles cost around $350-$500 per square, while wood shakes are slightly more expensive at $400-$700 per square. Installation costs are also higher due to the greater complexity and labor required, usually $250-$400 per square.
  • Slate: Slate is the most expensive shingle roofing option, with material costs ranging from $600-$1,500 per square, depending on the quality and origin of the slate. Installation is also very costly due to the specialized skills and labor intensive process, adding $500-$1,000 per square.

It’s important to note that these are rough estimates, and actual costs can vary significantly based on your location, the complexity of your roof, and the contractor you choose. As a general rule, asphalt is the most budget-friendly option, followed by wood, with slate being the most expensive. However, it’s crucial to consider the long-term value, not just the upfront cost. Slate and wood may have a higher initial investment but can outlast asphalt by decades, potentially saving you money on replacements in the long run.

Maintenance Requirements

Another important consideration when choosing a shingle roofing material is the level of maintenance it will require over its lifetime. Here’s what you can expect for each type of shingle:

  • Asphalt: Asphalt shingles require relatively little maintenance. Annual inspections to check for damage, debris, or moss growth are recommended. Minor repairs, such as replacing a few damaged shingles, can often be done by the homeowner. More extensive repairs or replacement should be handled by a professional shingle roofer.
  • Wood: Wood shingles and shakes require more upkeep than asphalt. They should be inspected annually for damage, rot, or insect activity. Cleaning and debris removal should be done regularly to prevent moss, algae, or lichen growth. Wood roofs also need to be stained or resealed every few years to protect against moisture. Any repairs or replacements should be done by a professional.
  • Slate: Slate roofs require the least maintenance of the three options. Annual inspections are still recommended to check for cracked, loose, or missing slates. However, with proper installation, a slate roof can last a century or more with minimal repairs. If repairs are needed, they should be handled by a skilled professional, as walking on or improperly handling slate can cause further damage.

Overall, asphalt shingles offer the lowest maintenance requirements, making them a popular choice for homeowners who want a “set it and forget it” roofing option. Wood shingles provide a natural, rustic look but come with higher maintenance needs. Slate offers unmatched durability and longevity but requires a significant upfront investment and specialized repair skills.

Impact on Home Value

The type of roofing material you choose can also impact your home’s value and resale potential. Here’s how each shingle type stacks up:

  • Asphalt: Asphalt shingles are so common that they usually don’t add much in terms of home value. However, if your current roof is in poor condition, upgrading to new asphalt shingles can boost your home’s curb appeal and make it more attractive to potential buyers.
  • Wood: Wood shingles and shakes can add rustic charm and character to your home, potentially increasing its value and appeal to certain buyers. However, the value added may be limited by the higher maintenance requirements and shorter lifespan compared to other premium roofing materials.
  • Slate: Slate roofing is often seen as a premium feature that can significantly increase a home’s value and prestige. The durability, longevity, and elegant appearance of slate can be major selling points, especially for high-end or historic properties. However, the value added must be weighed against the substantial installation cost.

Ultimately, the impact of your roofing choice on your home’s value will depend on various factors, such as your location, the style of your home, and the preferences of potential buyers in your market. It’s always a good idea to consult with a local real estate professional or roofing contractor to get a better understanding of how different roofing materials are perceived in your area.

Environmental Considerations

For homeowners concerned about the environmental impact of their roofing choice, here’s how asphalt, wood, and slate shingles compare:

  • Asphalt: Asphalt shingles are the least eco-friendly option. They are made from petroleum products, generate significant waste during production and disposal, and have a relatively short lifespan, leading to more frequent replacements and waste. However, some asphalt shingles are now being made with recycled content or can be recycled themselves, reducing their environmental impact slightly.
  • Wood: Wood shingles and shakes are a more eco-friendly choice than asphalt. Wood is a renewable resource, biodegradable, and can often be sourced locally, reducing transportation emissions. However, it’s important to choose wood from sustainably managed forests and to properly maintain your wood roof to extend its lifespan and minimize waste.
  • Slate: Slate is a natural, durable, and recyclable material, making it an environmentally friendly roofing choice. Its exceptionally long lifespan means less waste and fewer replacements over time. However, the energy intensive quarrying and transportation of slate can somewhat offset its eco-benefits.

If environmental impact is a top priority for you, consider also looking into alternative roofing options like recycled content tiles, green roofs, or solar shingles. As always, proper maintenance and timely repairs can help extend the life of any roofing material, reducing waste and environmental impact over time.

Finding a Qualified Roofing Contractor

No matter which shingle roofing material you choose, proper installation is key to ensuring its longevity and performance. Hiring a qualified, experienced roofing contractor is essential. Here are some tips for finding the right professional for your project:

  • Look for licensed and insured contractors: Make sure any contractor you consider is properly licensed and carries liability and workers’ compensation insurance to protect you in case of accidents or damage.
  • Check for manufacturer certifications: Many shingle manufacturers offer certified installer programs. Working with a certified contractor can give you added peace of mind and may even extend your warranty coverage.
  • Get multiple quotes: Obtain detailed quotes from several contractors to compare prices, materials, and services. Be wary of quotes that seem too low, as they may indicate subpar materials or cutting corners on installation.
  • Read reviews and ask for references: Check online reviews and ratings for potential contractors, and ask for references from past clients. Speak with these references to get a sense of their experience with the contractor’s workmanship, professionalism, and customer service.
  • Prioritize communication and professionalism: Choose a contractor who communicates clearly, answers your questions thoroughly, and makes you feel comfortable. A professional contractor should provide a detailed contract, explain the scope of work and timeline, and keep you informed throughout the process.

At Steadfast Roofing Group, we pride ourselves on our expertise, craftsmanship, and customer service. Our team of skilled shingle roofers has experience installing and repairing all types of roofing materials, from asphalt shingles to wood shakes to slate tiles. We also specialize in metal roofing and flat roof repair for both residential and commercial properties.

Choosing the right shingle roofing material for your home is a significant decision that requires careful consideration of your budget, aesthetic preferences, maintenance capabilities, and environmental priorities. Asphalt shingles offer affordability and low maintenance, wood shingles provide natural beauty and rustic charm, and slate tiles deliver unmatched durability and elegance.

No matter which option you choose, proper installation and regular maintenance are crucial to maximizing your roof’s lifespan and performance. Working with a reputable, experienced roofing contractor like Steadfast Roofing Group can ensure that your new roof will protect your home and enhance its value for decades to come.

If you’re considering a shingle roofing project for your home, we invite you to contact Steadfast Roofing Group for a consultation and quote. Our knowledgeable team will be happy to answer your questions, discuss your options, and provide expert guidance to help you make the best choice for your home and budget. With our commitment to quality workmanship and customer satisfaction, you can trust Steadfast Roofing Group to deliver a roof that will stand the test of time.



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