December 12, 2020

What Is the Best Type of Shingles for Roofing in Chicago

basic roof triangle shape

Are you planning to replace your roof soon but you are having a hard time choosing a new one? You’re not alone. Many homeowners doing home renovations find it tricky, too. With so many roofing material options available today, each with a fair share of advantages, it is hard just to pick one and ditch the rest. You also don’t want to choose a roof type you won’t like in a few months.

Of all the choices, most homeowners seem to like shingles the most, and it’s easy to understand why. Not only do shingles give your roof a unique texture, but they are also excellent at shielding your home against the elements. The problem is there are different kinds of roof shingles as well, so you’re back to square one.

Types of Roofing Shingles You Should Explore

 While each type of roof shingle is lovely, not all of them fit your unique and specific needs. You have to find one that matches your house’s overall facade while still providing you with the best protection. This article will cover different types of roofing shingles and their pros and cons to help you make a sound choice.


When it comes to beauty and style, no shingle roofing type can rival asphalt shingles. It suits any modern residential architecture. Whether you live in an urban or suburban neighborhood, asphalt shingles will make fantastic roofing in Chicago. It comes in a wide array of colors, so you have more choices than with other roofing materials.

Asphalt shingles are also available in different thicknesses. If you want your asphalt shingle roofing to last for up to 30 years, go for the thickest type. Today’s shingles have fiberglass or cellulose reinforcement, so they are more resistant to damage than their older versions. They are waterproof, fireproof, and resilient—they can withstand the weight of thick snow. The only problem with asphalt shingles is that they have the shortest lifespan among all roof types—15 to 20 years. But that also makes them the least expensive.

Cedar Shake

Another elegant-looking type of roof shingle, cedar shake can give your home the rustic appeal. While it is ideal for log cabins and old-style countryside houses, cedar shake also looks great on modern houses. You have a handful of choices when looking at wood shingles, but nothing beats cedar shake. Even though it’s organic, it’s also termite-resistant and can withstand weather effects when adequately treated and sealed. 

That said, wood shingles have some apparent drawbacks. Not only are they prone to fire and rot, but they are also vulnerable to cracks during a hailstorm. Thankfully, cedar shake has both Class A Fire and Class A Impact Resistance rating. It means you can trust that cedar shake can last longer than other types of wood shingles. With proper care and maintenance, you can extend its lifespan to 25 years.


Who would have thought that something you can more easily install in long panel form may also come in shingle form? It turns out that this type of roof shingle also works quite well, particularly on stylish home designs. Depending on the kind of metal they are made of, metal shingles are incredibly durable—they can last for 50 to 100 years.

Aluminum, tin, and galvanized steel are the most common choices, but if you want something that can last for millennia, go for copper. The only problem with metal roofs is it absorbs heat fast. Your home can be uncomfortably hot on a sunny day or in summer. To reduce heat, consider painting your roof white. Bright colors tend to absorb less heat than dark colors. White color reflects heat to the atmosphere, much like how the Antarctic continent keeps itself the coldest place on the planet.


The heaviest, most durable, and most expensive roof shingle, slate is the roofing type of choice for homeowners looking for ultimate longevity. Slate roofs consist of relatively thick metamorphic rock pieces, so they are very hard. They won’t crack even when hit by the largest hailstones in Chicago. They are also resistant to fire and moisture. Overall, slate roofs can last for over 100 years, even with minimal maintenance. One downside is that it’s too heavy. You will need more rigid underneath support and trusses, factoring snow built-up.


If you want the beauty of asphalt shingles and the longevity of brick or tile combined, consider going for architecture or laminated shingles. Unlike the regular type, this one has a heavy fiberglass mat base, which prevents it from disintegrating. Its ceramic-coated mineral granules are also more intact and take longer to crumble.

Because the asphalt granules are also water-resistant, the odds of getting a leak is too slim compared to when you have the regular asphalt shingles or cedar shake. You can stretch architectural shingles’ life to 30 years through routine inspection, repair, and maintenance.

Leave Installation to the Experts

There are many other types of shingles that you can choose from, but the five I mentioned above are the most commonly used in the country, particularly in the Chicago area. While all of them are exceptional roofing options in their own rights, they can only do so much to protect your home against the element and complement its aesthetics.

To ensure that your roof will perform well throughout its functional life and will not give you the occasional headache, the best thing you can do is have a professional local roofing company like Muller Exteriors install and take care of it. When it comes to expensive projects like roof installation or replacement, you can never go wrong in hiring an expert. Don’t risk DIY.


reverse of rooftop triangle shape blue

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