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The Search for the Best Roofing Material – Part 2: The Classics – Asphalt Shingles and Slate

By October 23, 2015June 25th, 2020No Comments

Asphalt shingles and slate are both traditional roofing materials but they are very much different when their various factors are taken into consideration. Still, they are both viable roofing options, so you should take the time to get to know them.

Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles have been around for more than a century now but they remain the most popular roofing material in the country today. Asphalt itself has been used for roofing much longer but having the material in shingle form made it more convenient to install, which led to the growth in use of asphalt shingles.

  • Durability. Unlike other roofing materials, asphalt shingles are naturally immune to rot and rust, making them ideal in places that receive a lot of moisture. Different factors can contribute to how fast they wear out but typically asphalt shingles log at least 15 years in terms of service life.
  • Style. Asphalt shingles come in a range of color options so there’s sure to be one that will complement your home’s existing scheme. Aside from featuring various colors though, they also come in different types that also contribute to the shingle’s overall appearance and can even be made to mimic the look of other materials.
  • Energy Efficiency. To be considered a cool roofing material, which helps to reduce heat transfer into a home and aids in stabilizing indoor temperature, asphalt shingles had to feature white grains before. Thanks to modern technology, however, this is no longer the case. Certain asphalt shingle options now feature reflective coating, allowing them to bounce back heat better to cut back on heat absorbed by a home.
  • Cost. Asphalt shingles are one of the more affordable roofing options so it is perfect for anyone looking for savings and overall value for money.


Widely considered to be a high-end roofing option, slate is made from natural rock, cut from metamorphic rock created when mudstone or shale is altered. It is mostly gray in color, available in a range of shades from light to dark, but can also occur in tones of brown, purple, black, red, and green. The kind of color that slate takes on is usually affected by the level of and type of iron as well as organic material present in the rock.

  • Durability. As it is made from natural rock, slate is incredibly sturdy, capable of withstanding any kind of abuse from the elements. It is also immune to rot and rust like asphalt shingles but can last much longer, thanks to a service life of over 100 years.
  • Style. Slate can be heavy so it is usually limited to low- or medium-slope roofs. It also takes on a more traditional appearance so it is best installed over homes with more traditional architectural styles. Available colors will also vary because manufacturers will be limited by where they source their slate.
  • Energy Efficiency. Slate is considered a cool roofing material so it is a great option to consider when looking to boost energy efficiency in the home. But aside from helping reduce energy consumption, this roofing material is also a green choice because it is naturally occurring and requires very little processing to make.
  • Cost. Slate is a premium material so it also costs a premium. However, given the level of durability and long lifespan of the material, it offers one of the best value for money you’ll find in the market.

In the last part of this blog series, we’ll be taking a look at metal and wood roofing, two of the classic roofing materials available to homeowners today. Head on over to Part 3 to learn more!

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