Shingles: The Top Four Choices

For every part of the roof's complex assembly, from soffits and sheathing, to flashing and underlayment, there is a purpose. Nothing on your roof, however, is as important as shingles.

For every part of the roof’s complex assembly -- from soffits and sheathing, to flashing and underlayment -- there is a purpose. Nothing on your roof, however, is as important as shingles. KTM Roofing Company takes a consultative design approach in order for you to decide on the best shingle for your home and budget.

As the outermost layer, shingles are the key to optimizing a home’s interior comfort, eliminating exterior damage, and ensuring the roof reaches its expected lifespan. The key is to find the right shingles for your specific needs.

While they may look good from the outside, the wrong shingles compromise your home’s entire protective canopy, leaving your family vulnerable to financial (if not physical) hardship from the very first rainstorm.

To help resolve any confusion, we’ve called upon Georgia’s home exterior expert KTM Roofing Company to explain the pros and cons of the top four shingles options in today’s market.


Asphalt shingles are also called “steep slope” shingles, as they are recommended for roofs with 4/12 pitches or above (i.e. four inches of rise per 12 inches of horizontal run).

Asphalt shingles are made up of fiberglass infused with asphalt, then they’re embedded with stones for UV-protection, zinc and copper for algae resistance (the black streaking you see on older roofs). Asphalt shingles are the most popular shingles across the board.


  • Affordable: $2-4 per square foot,
  • Cost for an average 2-story, 2,000-square foot home: $4,000-$24,000
  • Wide variety of shapes, styles, and colors
  • Huge “faux” market that replicates the look of higher-end materials such as wood shakes and slate.
  • Expected lifespan 20-50 years


  • Don’t hold up in areas of extreme temperature fluctuations
  • Prone to cracking, breaking, and wear when exposed to damaging winds or hail


Wood shingles are cut from old growth woods such as western red cedar, redwood, southern yellow pine, and cypress. There are two types.  Shingles are sawn flat, with uniform ends, and they’re evenly tapered evenly from front to back.  Shakes are thicker, hardier, and have a more natural shape.


  • Aesthetically pleasing, rural charm, natural beauty
  • Hold up well in dry, temperate climates
  • Long life expectancy when treated (up to 50 years)


  • Cost-prohibitive: $6-12 per square foot
  • Cost for an average home: $12,000-$72,000
  • Prone to insects, mold, termites, and rot if left untreated
  • Some building codes prohibit their use due to their low fire-resistance ratings
  • When treated they’re no longer recyclable


Tile shingles are made from sun or oven-baked natural terracotta clay or concrete. They’re a classic roofing feature of Mediterranean, Mission, Santa Fe, French Provincial, and Spanish style architecture. Tile shingles work on roofs with pitches 4/12 or above.


  • Beautiful, European feature that’s sure to enhance curb appeal
  • High fire resistance
  • Great for dry climates and easily glazed to maximize weather resistance
  • Customizable; easy to replicate wood shingles, shakes and slate
  • Easy to replace and recyclable
  • Long lasting. Clay tiles are part of the “lifetime” roof family, and often come with lifetime warranties.


  • Cost-prohibitive: $8-$20 per square foot
  • Cost for an average home: $16,000-$120,000
  • Only certain roofing structures can support their weight; installation must be approved by local building authorities
  • It has to be walked on by a professional in order to avoid breaks and cracks.


Like tile, slate is a high-end product, magazine worthy shingles, made of natural rock that’s been quarried and cut. It is a flat product.


  • Part of the “lifetime” roof family. Known to last up to 100 years.
  • High fire-resistance
  • Virtually indestructible
  • Infinite range of colors and characteristics depending on where it was quarried


  • Cost-prohibitive: $9-$16 per square foot
  • Cost for an average home: $18,000-$96,000
  • Like tile, its heavy weight necessitates far greater structural support and the approval of building authorities
  • Must be installed by an experienced master roofer due to its complexity
  • Might be hard to find a local specialist for repairs


If you need to understand how to approach a roof-remodel or rebuild, KTM Roofing Company can always come out for a consultation or to answer any questions.


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KTM Roofing Company, Inc.
(404) 920-4072

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