ASPHALT SHINGLES, COST EFFECTIVE AND EASY TO REPAIR
TYPE OF SHINGLE: Asphalt
Pros: Cheapest cost, light weight, wide range of thicknesses and colors
Cons: Shortest lifespan, vulnerability to temperature fluctuations
Asphalt shingles—made of asphalt reinforced by fiberglass or organic materials like wood or cellulose—are sold in multiple sizes and colors in a thicker, multi-layered “dimensional” variety (pictured above) and a flatter, thinner, single-layered “three-tab” variety. These types of shingles are the least expensive and most widely available, costing around $90 per square (a roofing measurement equivalent to 100 square feet of material)—not including any additional insulation, underlayment, or labor—and lasting 15 to 30+ years. Of the two styles, dimensional shingles cost half as much and last twice as long as three-tab.
Those aren’t the only reasons they’re popular, though: Asphalt shingles are also waterproof, fireproof (fiberglass more so than organic), flexible enough to withstand the weight of snow, and resilient in can small to moderate hail storms in the case of those with a Class 3 or higher impact-resistance rating (Class 4 being the highest). You might even qualify for a tax credit if you opt for ENERGY STAR-qualified asphalt shingles!
All of that said, they can buckle and come loose when exposed to high winds and sudden temperature fluctuations. Fortunately, when small repairs are necessary, the light weight of these shingles makes them easier for homeowners to lift up and replace individually, or simply re-adhere blown-off shingles by adding roof cement above and below them.