Which Type of Roofing Shingles to Put on Your House

It can be a chore choosing a new roof for your house. There are options for just about every budget, and styles for every taste. There is also a wide variety of colors and designs to choose from. To make the task even more difficult, there are now metal roofing products that look like shingles, tile, shake, and slate. If you’re uncertain which type of shingles to get for your house, keep reading.

Short Answer: Which roofing shingles you get depends upon a few factors. If initial cost is your primary concern, go with 3-tab or strip shingles. Architectural/dimensional shingles will last a little longer. Impact resistant shingles will last longer still. Stone-coated metal shingles will last the longest. However, they also cost the most, initially.

Shingle Types

As of the time of this writing, there are 5 roofing shingle types:

  • 3-Tab Shingles (least expensive)
  • Architectural/Dimensional Shingles
  • Impact Resistant Architectural Shingles
  • Designer Shingles
  • Steel Shingles (most expensive)

All of these are fiberglass shingles, except for steel shingles, which have a steel foundation. All of these roofing shingles are about the same dimensions: 1′ tall by 3′ wide. Also, all of these we install.

How to Choose The Best Roofing Shingle For You

In our experience, most folks come to us with one of the following 5 priorities:

  • cost the least initially
  • cost the least long-term
  • looks the best
  • lasts the longest
  • is the most recyclable

Either they want the cheapest roofing shingle, or the one that looks the best, or the one that lasts the longest, or one that’s recyclable in Northern Colorado. Sometimes we can’t offer the cheapest (short-term) because in some cities 3-tab shingles aren’t allowed. Some cities, such as Fort Collins, we can’t install non-impact resistant shingles. Or, in Loveland, we can’t install a shingle that’s wind-rated less than 129MPH.


A lot of folks, when choosing the best roofing shingle for them, is cost. If you’re on a tight budget, the common 3-tab shingles are the least expensive. Most basic 3-tab asphalt roofing shingles, such as Owens Corning’s Supreme offer a modest warranty, and basic protection from the elements, such as wind and hail. However, some cities won’t allow 3-tab shingles, since most do not offer enough high-wind or hail resistance. In the City of Fort Collins, for example, per code, we are not allowed to install non-impact resistant shingles within the city. In Longmont, per their code, shingles must have a wind resistance of at least 110mph. Again, this rules-out most 3-tab shingles.

If you can spend a little more, consider an architectural/dimensional shingle, such as Owens Corning’s Duration line which offers better wind and weather protection, and a longer warranty. Architectural/dimensional shingles also offer more style than your basic 3-tab shingle. Although architectural/dimensional shingles cost more initially, they often last longer than lesser shingles. This makes them cost less in the long run. If you can spend more money initially, or can finance your roof, stone-coated steel shingles often end-up costly the least over their lifetime. That is because they often last so much longer than, even architectural shingles. On average, asphalt shingles last around 30 years. Stone-coated metal shingles, often last 70 years or more.

infographic showing average cost comparison of roofing shingles


If you’re more concerned about appearance and you don’t mind spending even more, consider a designer/luxury shingle, like Owens Corning’s Berkshire or Woodmoor shingles. These designer shingles still offer protection from high winds and a limited lifetime warranty, yet gives your house a little more character and curb appeal. Most architectural/dimensions shingles offer more, as the name implies, dimension. 3-tab shingles are very flat. Dimensional shingles, on the other hand, offer some depth. Just take a look at any shingle manufacturer’s architectural shingles. When viewed from the street, you can tell dimensional shingles have some depth to them. Asphalt shingle manufacturers try to mimic other roofing materials, such as wood shake or stone slate. Some do it better than others. Owens Corning’s Berkshire and CertainTeed’s Grand Manor resembles slate. Owens Corning’s Woodmoor and GAF’s Timberline resembles wood shake. These roofing shingles do a decent job of resembling wood shake or slate. However, we feel stone-coated metal shingles, such as those from Westlake Royal Roofing, does an even better job. Asphalt shingles have a fiberglass foundation. Fiberglass doesn’t hold a shape very well. Stone-coated steel shingles, however, have a steel foundation, which can be formed to, for example, resemble wood shake or barrel tiles.


The ideal factor when trying to decide which roofing shingles to get for your house, is longevity. If you don’t mind spending more initially, checkout Westlake Royal Roofing’s or Decra’s steel shingles. Although these steel shingles cost more initially, they often cost less in the long run. This is because they last so much longer than, for example, traditional asphalt shingles. They look like asphalt shingles from a distance, but they’re really made of steel. As a local Colorado roofing shingles company, we recommend these products because they give the appearance of modern, traditional, home but with the longevity and strength of a steel roof. Mid-grade asphalt shingles last around 30 years. Steel shingles, on the other hand, often last 70 years or more, when properly installed.


With recycling becoming more of a concern here in Colorado, some question a product’s recyclability first. And, we understand that. Some asphalt shingle manufacturer’s offer a recycling program, such as Owens Corning, but it’s not available here in Colorado. That said, we’ve identified multiple metal recycling centers along the Colorado Front Range. So, if you’re looking for roofing shingles that are recyclable, look at stone-coated metal shingles. As mentioned above, another nice feature of these shingles is their longevity, which also potentially makes them less expensive (again, in the long run.) If energy efficiency is a priority, consider metal panels.

The Bottom Line

With all the roofing shingle options available today, it can be difficult to decide which roofing shingles to get. If cost is your primary concern, we recommend starting with an architectural shingle, such as Owens Corning Oakridge. They are relatively affordable and they’ll last longer than the average 3-tab/strip shingles. If you can afford more, consider stone-coated metal shingles, as they will last the longest. All things considered, stone-coated steel shingles are the best type of roofing shingle, since they’re recyclable, the most durable roofing shingle, and often cost less long term. Bob Behrends offers those who reside in Colorado cost friendly shingles as well as a quality roof. Get in touch today to learn more about our roofing services in Greeley, Fort Collins, Denver, and other surrounding areas.

infographic comparing various roofing shingles and their cost, durability, longevity, recyclability