What Are Roofing Shingles Made Of? (Top Materials & Composition)

March 22, 2023

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Are you a homeowner asking, what are roofing shingles made of? This is a fair question, as roofing materials have a wide range of prices. Some materials also last for decades longer than others! In turn, knowing a bit more about those materials ensures you choose the best for your property.

With this in mind, why not keep reading to find out more about roof shingle composition and materials? Then, discuss your property’s condition with a roofing contractor near you. They can answer any additional questions and help you choose the best roofing materials for your needs.

installing roofing shingles

What Are Roofing Shingles Made Of  (Your Top Choices)

Check out the top choices for roofing shingles and tiles and some pros and cons of each. This will help you choose which is right for your home or commercial property.

Asphalt shingles

The most common roofing material in use today, asphalt shingles, is not made entirely of asphalt. Instead, they start with a base of wood fiber, fiberglass, cellulose, or other organic material. Next, a manufacturer coats or dips those shingles into an asphalt mixture.

Asphalt shingles are affordable and easy to install and work with just about any home style. Property owners can usually replace a few missing shingles themselves. On the downside, asphalt shingles usually have a shorter lifespan than other materials. In turn, you might replace asphalt shingles every 15 to 20 years.

Fiberglass shingles

Fiberglass shingles are similar to asphalt except that they start with a layer of woven fiberglass strands rather than organic material. In turn, they’re usually lighter than their asphalt counterpart and cheaper. They usually also have a better fire rating, something to consider if you live in an area prone to lightning strikes or similar risks.

Clay tiles

As the name implies, manufacturers create clay roof tiles from baked, molded clay. Clay tiles are dense and watertight, making them an excellent choice for tropical areas. Most clay tiles also last 40 or 50 years before needing replacing. Heavier clay is also unlikely to blow away in strong storms.

The con of clay tiles is their price! They’re often at the high end of roof material costs. However, investing in high-quality clay can mean not having to reroof your property for decades. Consequently, a clay tile roof might be the last one you ever purchase.

Metal roofing

Metal roofing is an excellent choice for any property. Durable, fire-resistant metal is lightweight and lasts for some 50 years or even longer. Most metal roofs also resist mold, mildew, algae, and moss growth. They’re also easy to clean, with snow, ice, dirt, and other debris sliding off easily.

A property owner can choose metal roofing in one of two styles: stamped shingles or standing seam. Metal shingles are smaller pieces, just like asphalt shingle roofs. Standing seam roof panels are larger and offer a less cluttered look. However, metal is also typically one of the most expensive choices when it comes to roofing materials.

what are shingles made of


Natural slate shingles are heavy and durable and offer beautiful aesthetic many property owners cherish. Also, slate is easy to recycle, making it an eco-friendly choice! Heavy slate also resists high winds and storm damage and can last 50 years or more.

With all its advantages, slate isn’t for everyone. A structure might require added support to hold up that weight. Additionally, not every roofer knows how to install slate so you might need a specialty contractor. This often adds to your installation costs!

Wood roofing

Wood is not the most common roofing type in use, as it’s not as durable and fire-resistant as other options. In fact, local fire and building codes prohibit wood roofing in some areas! Also, wood creates a rustic look that some homeowners might not appreciate. Lastly, wood is often more prone to mold and algae than other roofing choices.

Are Shingles Made of Fiberglass?

The word “shingle” refers to overlapping roof coverings and not the roofing material itself. In turn, you can find asphalt, fiberglass, metal, slate, or wood shingles for your roof. Manufacturers also create roof shingles from concrete, plastic, and other artificial materials.

The term “shake,” however, always refers to wood roofing. Wood shingles are cut on both sides, so they’re somewhat thin and offer a uniform appearance. Shakes are typically cut on one side and not as uniform. In turn, shakes offer a more rustic look than shingles.

When you see the term “roofing panels,” you’re probably discussing metal roofing. As the name implies, panels are much larger than shingles. Consequently, they offer a less cluttered look and provide added insulation.

What Roofing Shingles Are Best?

There is no “best” shingle option for your property. Asphalt and fiberglass shingles are affordable, but you’ll end up replacing them more often over the years. Clay, slate, and metal last longer but are more expensive to install. Consequently, consider your initial budget versus long-term roof maintenance costs.

Also, don’t overlook the need for an attractive roof on your property! Cheaper shingles or tiles might be affordable but then also detract from curb appeal. On the other hand, an upscale metal or clay option can enhance your structure’s appearance.

Lastly, never overlook the advice of your roofing repair contractor. They can usually evaluate a property and offer suggestions that fit your needs and budget. They will also take into account area weather conditions and local building codes. They can often offer excellent suggestions when it comes to a durable yet affordable and attractive roofing material option.

The Dallas Roofers is happy to help answer the question, what are roofing shingles made of? Hopefully, we’ve helped clear this up for you! Also, if you’re ready for expert services on your property, call our Dallas roof repair contractors. We offer affordable roof repair, reroofing, and other needed fixes. Additionally, we start every job with a FREE inspection and price estimate. Whatever your property needs for a durable roof overhead, we’re the team to get it done!

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