Does the Shape of Your Roof Affect Your Options for Shingles?

The structure of your roof, despite its vital role in protecting your home from the elements, probably receives very little consideration until it’s time to think about replacing it. If we are investing in a new roof, more is at stake than just the color of the shingles we select. The performance of this significant financial investment, as well as its visual appeal, improves when you select the best types of shingles to work with your roof’s design. Fortunately, several options will work with any given roof shape and style, so no matter what your roof looks like, you’ve got options. Let HomeWise Roofing and Exteriors demystify the type of roofs out there and the best shingles to give you long-lasting results for your home.

Choose from Among Many Types of Shingles

To help begin narrowing down your preferences from among the many shingles options, consider the respective benefits and detriments of each of these.

Three-tab Asphalt Shingles– most reasonably priced, comes with several color options, and can be used on all roof types and home styles. Typically, they last 15-20 years, but decomposition after usage takes much longer, so they are not noted for their environmental friendliness.

Architectural Asphalt Shingles– easily installed and repaired and come in a variety of colors. Some also offer protective coatings to fight against mold intrusion. These last for 20-30 years.

Clay Tiles– this very durable option can help with your home’s climate control, are fire resistant, and are made of environmentally friendly natural materials. They work best on Mediterranean or Spanish style houses. They are far more expensive than most other options but can provide peace of mind for 50 years.

Concrete Tiles– they can be designed to mimic clay or slate for a significantly lower cost. These sturdy shingles can be expected to last 40 years or longer. Their weight will require strong truss support, so have a home inspection done and reinforcements added as needed before beginning installation.

Copper Shingles– Eye-catching and virtually maintenance free, copper shingles will discolor to a bluish shade over their 70-year lifespan. Their price is a limiting factor, but they can make an attractive focal point on a single gable or other focal point.

Slate Tiles– the classic look of slate typically comes in shades of gray or blue. Like clay, slate insulates the home and protects against pests and mold. This is the most durable of roofing material options, lasting 100 years. Extra support must be added to the roof before installation begins, as their massive weight could be crushing.

Steel Shingles– if you’re looking for a way to protect your home from natural disasters, high winds, and more, steel shingles are exceptionally durable. Their price is moderate, the weight is light, and maintenance is minimal.

Solar Shingles– as the name implies, these shingles harness solar energy to help fuel your home. While traditional solar panels work better, the subtle design of solar shingles is more aesthetically pleasing. An entire home is not covered with these shingles, so they need to be paired with an additional shingle type for full coverage.

Wood Shakes– constructed of cedar, oak, or pine, they are durable and good for the environment. Shakes can tolerate high wind or impact, but they do require regular maintenance.

Roof Shingles

Identify Your Roof Type

Roofs come in a variety of styles and hybrid designs. Roof slope is described in a ratio of vertical: horizontal. In other words, if your roof slope is 3:5, it goes up three inches for every five it goes across. The slope is an important feature to keep snow and water from accumulating on your roof, causing sagging, structural, or water damage and it can impact the type of shingles that will work on your roof.

Gable Roof

Ever the classic roof style, from the end of your house, the gabled roof looks like two sides of a triangle, as two planes intersect to form a vertex.

Recommended Shingle Options: asphalt, architectural, slate, steel


Like the gabled roof, the bullnose has two main planes that join at a ridgeline atop the house. However, the ends of the ridge have the appearance of bending downward, creating “hips”.

Recommended Shingle Options: asphalt, steel, wood

Dutch Gable Roof

The Dutch gable roof is a hybrid design that begins with a hip roof. Instead of bringing the four sides all the way up to a single point, it is cut short, and a gabled roof is superimposed over the top.

Recommended Shingle Options: metal, architectural, asphalt

Gambrel Roof

While gambrel roof might not be a familiar term, if we called it a “barn roof” you’d have no trouble visualizing the look and shape of this roof design. Gambrel roofs have two different slopes for their two sides, with the lower portion rising steeply, almost vertically, and the top portion flattening out to a gentle slope.

Recommended Shingle Options: asphalt, wood, slate

Hip Roof

On a square house, the hip roof rises on each of the four equal sides toward a single point. It has a large surface area with high visibility/

Recommended Shingle Options: asphalt, shake, architectural, steel

Mansard Roof

The French-inspired mansard roof is four-sided and features double slopes like what you’d find in a gambrel roof. The steep sides showcase the roof shingles well, and the second (and lesser) slope comes up to a point over the center of the house.

Recommended Shingle Options: shake, architectural

Shed Roof

The shed roof is made of a singular, mildly sloped plane, like you might expect to find on a lean-to shed. This roof style is most frequently seen on porches and additions to existing structures; sleek, modern architecture is utilizing this roof style for whole houses.

Recommended Shingle Options: asphalt, steel, architectural

The Choice is Yours

When it comes to selecting the best shingles for your roof, you’ve got options, and those options become even greater when you consider color choices, budget, and style. Don’t let the decision become overwhelming. HomeWise Roofing and Exteriors has extensive experience with a variety of manufacturers and types of roofing shingles. We’d love to discuss your options and make recommendations that will keep your home protected and beautiful for many years to come. Give us a call today, and we’ll schedule a consultation.

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