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Roofing Options with a Focus On Shingles

Your home’s roof isn’t just a layer of shingles, it’s an important part of your house, arguably the most important.  It protects your investment and all of your belongings inside.  Ask anyone that has had to replace roofing, belongings or structural parts of their home due to a leaky roof and they’ll tell you they would have saved a ton of time and money if only they had been proactive in taking care of their roofing issue.  As a homeowner, you remember the importance that was placed on the state the roof was in during the buying process, and that is with good reason.  

According to, many insurance companies are refusing to renew existing homeowner policies if the roof is more than 20 years old without a special inspection.  If the inspection fails, the policy will not be renewed.  As we all know, insurance companies do anything to avoid paying out claims; so if they are so interested in the state of your roof, you should be too.

Aside from the structural aspects of a roof, the key feature to any roof is the covering used to protect the framing materials.  Today we’ll discuss the main choices you have in types of roofing material with a special focus on shingles. Shingles are by far the most popular roofing material on the market place.  Also, shingles offer a wide-variety of types, styles and materials that can bring character to your home and even raise the value of your home.  


When choosing roofing materials, consider a few things

Is the material available in a style or color that matches my home?

Are there any special building or fire codes in my area?

Is the material so heavy that it may require special framing?

How much is this going to cost me?

How long is it going to last?

What is the warranty?

Obviously these are just a few questions to start with.  Sitting down with a roofing specialist can help you answer these questions and more.  Also, one of our specialists can inform you on the latest in roofing materials and provide information for every budget, style and option.


The main choices in roofing material are:

  1. Concrete and Clay Tiles

  2. Metal Roofing

  3. Wood

  4. Slate

  5. Asphalt shingles

Concrete and Clay Tiles

This roof type gives the home texture and a European feel.  They tend to last a while, but can be pricey and are very heavy.  While this could be the perfect look for some homes, it is difficult for the average home to pull off the tile look.

Pros: These can last a long time and give the house a Mediterranean style.

Cons: They can crack, requiring replacement or sealing.  They weigh a lot and could require some structural changes to accommodate them.


Metal Roofing


Metal roofing can last you a lifetime and provide a rustic yet elegant look.  Metal roofing can come in panels or shingles and can be made of copper, stainless steel, zinc and aluminum.

Pros: High solar reflection to keep the house cool and the material is recyclable.

Cons: Metal roofing can be expensive compared to other options.


Wooden Choices

Wood roofing provides a rustic look and can really give your home character.  The most used materials are cedar, redwood and pine.

Pros:  Provide a unique look and are moderate in price.  

Cons: The wood can rot and some areas do not allow them because of their susceptibility to burning.



Slate roofing is a sustainable product that adds elegance and style to a home.  There a variety of colors to complement your home.

Pros: Durable, strong and fire resistant.

Cons: They are very heavy and could require additional framing to your existing roof.  Also an expensive material to purchase and install.


Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles are the most popular roofing material in the United States.  They are offer a wide variety in styles, types and colors to complement any home.  They are light weight and the installation is easier than other methods, which translates to savings for you and no need for structural reinforcement in most cases.

Pros:  Inexpensive and offered in a wide variety of choices.  

Cons: Darker colors can absorb more sunlight, leading to a shorter life span


A Focus On Shingles

Now that we’ve covered some primary types of roof coverings, let’s discuss the type most relevant to our area, the Baltimore metropolitan area.   As you’ve probably noticed, the vast majority of homes in Maryland use Asphalt Shingles. With a huge array of product offerings on the market, we think it is important for our customers and readers to know a little bit more about Asphalt Shingles.


Close up of new shingles on roof


The Types Of Asphalt Shingles

1.) Organic

2.) Fiberglass



Organic based Asphalt Shingles were the original asphalt shingle.  Most are made of compressed recycled paper or cellulose and are quite durable.  Due to the nature of the material, organic shingles can absorb moisture a bit and over their lifetime it is possible that they can warp if not of high quality.  Manufacturers attempt to avoid this by using up to 40% more asphalt covering in comparison with their newer, fiberglass counterparts.  The extra asphalt results in extra weight versus fiberglass.


Fiberglass Asphalt Shingles were introduced in the early 80’s and have become the go-to roofing material throughout the United States.  They are inexpensive, light-weight and when made properly, last a long time.  The material is an interwoven fiberglass mat covered and sealed in asphalt for waterproofing.  Then covered in ceramic granules just like the Organic shingles.  These granules give a textured look, but more importantly, they protect the asphalt’s water-sealing properties from the Sun’s destructive UV rays.


The Choice in Construction of Asphalt Shingles

Architectural vs. Three-Tab



Now we aren’t going to dive into all the choices in colors and styles of Asphalt Shingles as those are purely aesthetic and your choice will depend on your home, neighborhood and personal preference.  But it is important that you understand the two ways Asphalt Shingles are constructed and installed.  Your style and your home’s aesthetics definitely come into play when choosing between Architectural and Three-Tab, but it is also a question of cost, quality and durability.

The basic difference is that Three-Tab shingles are flat sections of 3 shingles, that when installed, a single piece looks like three separate shingles.  They are usually uniform and lay flat against your roof.  Architectural shingles on the other hand are individual shingles of a few varied sizes.  They are installed individually and they have some curvature to them that gives the roof texture.  Due to the ease of installing Three-tab and you install one shingle for every three architectural, the installation costs can be a bit lower.  Three-tab shingles are known as a reliable and economical choice on the market place, which is why they are the most installed style on the market.

Architectural shingles provide a bit more texture and are not uniform in their appearance.   The curve these shingles have gives the roof a look which could be considered similar to Wood Shingles.  Often times, Architectural shingles are thicker and may carry a longer warranty than their Three-Tab counterparts.  

According to, Three-Tab installations, while still the most used, are losing market share to Architectural shingles.


How Roofing Type Relates To Us and You

Every home is different and each family has their own identity.  Charm City Roofing believes your roof can show the world a lot about you in the style, color and type of roofing material you use.  Often times a new roof can completely change the way a house looks, but more importantly it can ensure you are protecting your investment, belongings and loved ones at the same time.  We are passionate about roofing and we strive to educate our customers so that they are passionate as well.

For more information, please feel free to contact us.

This Post Has 44 Comments
  1. Hello There. I found your weblog using msn. This is a
    very neatly written article. I will make sure to bookmark it and come back to learn more
    of your helpful information. Thank you for the post. I’ll certainly return.

  2. I’ve been wanting to hire a commercial roofing company, and I think that being able to get some tips would be good. I’m glad you talked about being able to choose organic shingles, which I think would be neat. I’m going to have to look for a good commercial roofing option and see what we can find!

    1. Hey Jordan, we noticed you’re linked to Danny Odom Roofing. Do they not do commercial work? Where are you located? Tell us a bit about yourself and why you’re looking for a commercial roofer.

    1. It’s uncommon in our area as well. We definitely do more torch down and shingles than metal. However, when we get a chance to do metal, we absolutely love it. And so do the property owners, knowing that the roof will last forever. Typically metal is installed on commercial buildings around here. What does America Roofing typically deal with in Phoenix?

    1. Absolutely, shingles can really make a house pop. Roof appeal makes a huge impact on a house. You can do all the yard work you want, but if your roof is hideous your lawn won’t matter. It’s like washing a car. Who washes from the bottom to the top? No one – or at least I hope not!

      Than why do people let their roof go to shambles but spend so much time on the yard? The top down approach, should be universal for spiffing things up.

      Bill tell us a little about your roofing business in Birmingham, AL.

  3. Don’t forget to mention the most environmentally friendly shingle of them all – the synthetic shingle. Made from recycled plastics, these roof materials are the future. Most manufacturers have 50+ year warranties.

    1. We offer the complete line of GAF roofing system products on all of our roof repairs and new roof builds! Can you tell us more about these recycled synthetic products and how they would compare?

  4. The roof in my parents’ home is damaged because of the storm last weekend. It was explained here that asphalt shingles are the most popular roofing material and are lightweight. Furthermore, it’s recommended to hire a professional asphalt roofing specialist for quality work.

    1. Hi Gillian, we see that you are linked to Young Construction. Feel free to tell us a little bit about the business. We’re sorry to hear about your parents’ home being damaged in a storm. That is very unfortunate. Shingles are definitely a lightweight option if they are interested in having their roofing replaced. Professional roofing companies are trained and have very thorough reliable processes that enable to execute more effectively and build more sound roofing systems. We definitely recommend hiring a pro!

  5. Our home has roof shingles and it was badly damaged because of the storm last week. It was explained here that when choosing roofing materials, it will be best to consider the warranty and how long it’s going to last. Furthermore, it’s recommended to hire professional roofers for quality roof shingles.

  6. It’s nice to know that metal roofing can last you a lifetime. I am going to look into getting this kind of roofing when I get my roof replaced. I would love to have a low maintenance roof.

    1. Low maintenance is a dream for any homeowner. If you’re looking for a roof replacement in the Baltimore area get a hold of Charm City Roofing!

  7. I didn’t know that fiberglass asphalt shingles were made in the early 80’s. My roof is coming apart and needs new shingles. We’ll have to consider getting fiberglass as an option.

    1. Bob, yeah fiberglass is a great option! They’re typically more environmentally friendly as well. If you’re in the Baltimore, MD area be sure to give us a call!

  8. I like how you mentioned that roofing tiles are popular because they’re available in a wide variety of colors and sizes. My husband and I just bought an old fixer-upper home that will need to have the roof replaced at some point, so we’ve been discussing which contractor to hire. I’m glad I read your article because it gave me some great idea to think about for choosing the roofing material, when we get to that point.

  9. I like that asphalt shingles are both inexpensive and last a long time. A heavy windstorm blew through my dad’s area last month, and he needs a new set of shingles to cover the damage done by it. I will send him this information, so he can find a roofer that can come and get that done for him.

  10. I like your tip about metal roofing. My roof takes a beating during the winter storms and I want something stronger. I’ll have to consider getting a metal roof to stand up against the hail.

  11. I know that my sister is not happy with her shingles on her new home’s roof. She wants a professional to look at it and fix it up. It might be helpful or her to know that architectural shingles will have more texture.

  12. Shingle roofs are a wonderful choice for beautiful and classy look for a home. When your shingle roof show some potential signs like cracked shingles or bald spots where granules are missing, then it’s time to get them replaced.

  13. Shingle roofs are a wonderful choice for beautiful and classy look for your home. But when your shingle roof show some potential signs like cracked shingles or bald spots where granules are missing, then it’s time to get them replaced.

  14. It’s good to know that you need to consider how heavy the material you want to use for your shingles is to determine if you need any special framing. My wife and I are working on designing a new house, and we want to use a heavier material for our shingles so that they don’t blow away. We’ll be sure to look further into using a special frame to help us support these heavier shingles.

  15. Shingle roofs are a wonderful choice for beautiful and classy look for your home. But when your shingle roof show some potential signs like cracked shingles or bald spots where granules are missing, then it’s time to get them replaced.

  16. I really appreciate that you went over different roofing options. I didn’t know that some materials may be heavy enough that they need special framing. That said, I wouldn’t mind learning of situations where heavy materials would be the most ideal option for a roof, like if the roof itself needs to be incredibly durable.

  17. My husband and I are looking to replace the roof on our house. Thank you for listing the types of shingles there are to choose from. We like how you mentioned that wooden shingles can add character to your home. It is nice to know some options before we go talk with a roofing contractor.

      1. ALWAYS make sure a warranty is involved. No reputable company would install a roof without some sort of warranty.

  18. The article provide us information regarding roofing options focus on shingles. Such content must be made more and more available. Thank you for this article! This is really very informative. I love this article, thanks for producing such great contents. I love your posts always. Do visit this For vital information that can be used again by anyone

  19. This article gives detail about roofing options focus shingles and this article shared so much information regarding the same… I enjoyed reading while going through this article and this is the best link for gaining all the information about it.

  20. As per info, Shingle roofs are a fantastic option for giving your property a lovely and refined appearance.
    When your shingle roof begins to show symptoms of wear, such as fractured shingles or bald places where granules are missing, it’s time to repair it.

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