Types of tiles: which is the best? - Craftsman world (2023)

Types of tiles: which is the best? - Craftsman world (1)

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Choosing the right tile material for your home is a crucial decision that can affect the appearance, durability and energy efficiency of your roof. With so many options available, it can be difficult to determine which material is best for your needs.

In this article, we look at the different types of tile roofing materials, their pros and cons, and the factors to consider when choosing the right tile for your home.

A quick note: not all roofs are clapboard

Be ablecovering materialTo be considered a tile, it must be made up of flat, rectangular shapes that overlap from the bottom of the roof to the top. They are usually placed over a liner material such as felt paper to prevent leakage, and are usually made of wood, asphalt, or fiberglass.

In some cases, ceramic and stone tiles are called roof tiles. These materials are not true roof tiles due to their thickness, general shape and method of installation.

The same applies to solar tiles and metal panels. Although they are the same size as shingles and are intended to lie flat on the roof, they are made from non-traditional materials and require a special installation method that differs greatly from standard shingles.

3 types of tiles

We will discuss three types of shingles that are widely available in the market: asphalt, wood and composite. Here you can find out what advantages and disadvantages they have, what they are best for and how much they cost.


Asphalt shingles, the traditional roofing material in North America, are readily available and can be very inexpensive. They consist of 12" x 36" fiberglass mats embedded in waterproof asphalt and coated with a layer of aggregate coated with a UV protective pigment (seehow fiberglass shingles look compared to traditional asphalt shingles).

The appearance of tiles varies widely as they are generally sold in the following shapes and qualities:

  • Three-tab tiles are the most common type. The sheets are scored to give the appearance of three individual tiles per sheet.
  • architectural tilesThey consist of a double-layer sheet that gives the appearance of overlapping lines. They are the highest quality tile design available.
  • Premium or deluxe tiles are cut into custom shapes and sizes to mimic decorative or antique designs. These tiles can be corrugated, zigzag or diamond-shaped, among others.

Asphalt shingles are excellent for most climates except for extremely rainy or humid regions due to mold and algae growth. They are fairly durable and can withstand wind speeds of up to 150 miles per hour when properly designed. They are somewhat fireproof and provide some insulation. Life expectancy is usually between 15 and 30 years, but in some cases they can last up to 50 years for architectural and luxury tiles.

The disadvantages of asphalt shingles are their shorter lifespan compared to other roofing materials. As mentioned above, they can be susceptible to mold and algae growth when wet and can be damaged by extreme winds. They are also quite susceptible to hail damage which, if left untreated, can lead to further deterioration of the tiles as well as leaks in the roof.

Shingles are typically priced per roof square, which equals 100 square feet. In 2023, three-flap shingles range from $51 to $124 per tile and architectural or luxury shingles range from $60 to $280 per tile.


Cedar shingles are made from the heartwood of cedar trees and are a beautiful choice for a natural look. Often confused with cedar shingles, cedar shingles are true individual shingles that are blade sawn and slightly wedge shaped to be placed on the roof. While not technically a tile, Cedar Shake is often treated as such, albeit with a more rustic feel, and is made from thicker planks that are hand split rather than sawn.

One of the key benefits of cedar shingles is their natural resistance to rot and insect damage due to the oils present in the wood. They are also impressively moisture resistant and have a life expectancy of up to 50 years.

Over time, cedar patinas take on a beautiful silver-grey color, which is a big part of their appeal. They can withstand winds of up to 173 mph and 90 pounds per square foot, with cedar tremors of up to 245 mph and 180 pounds per square foot. They are fairly resistant to hail damage and only need to be replaced occasionally if a tile cracks on impact.

They are excellent insulators and their lightness makes them a dream to install, although this type of tile is not an ideal option for dry regions where fire is a constant problem. Disadvantages of cedar shingles include higher cost compared to asphalt shingles, some additional maintenance needed to prevent weathering (if a patina is not desired) and rotting, and potential fire hazards if not followed.

On average, cedar shingles can cost anywhere from $4 to $10 per square foot, including installation costs.


Made from a mix of different materials, including but not limited to fiberglass, recycled paper and asphalt, composite shingles are a great, long-lasting "green" option. They have a lifespan of 30 to 50 years and some manufacturers offer a lifetime guarantee.

The advantages of composite materials are manifold. They are designed to mimic the look of slate or cedar shingles, making them a more economical alternative. They are resistant to moisture, mold and algae as well as being fire and impact resistant. These shingles can withstand wind speeds of 110 to 190 miles per hour, yet are very lightweight, making them easy to transport and install.

The main disadvantage of composite roofing is the higher price compared to other roofing materials. There are also some concerns about their environmental impact, as they require more processing than other materials and take longer to decompose in landfills.

Composite roofs are good for those looking for an upscale look at a more affordable price. The costs differ depending on the desired look. A cedar slatted look can cost around $14 to $18 per square foot, while composite slate ranges from $10 to $12, sometimes up to $20 per square foot.

We wrote more about this in a separate articlelike asphalt shingles compared to composite shingles.

What type of tile is the best?

Not all tiles are created equal, and while one tile type may be best for a particular situation, it may not be for other types of installations. Here are some situations where one material can overshadow others.

The best for your budget

It is difficult for the budget conscious homeowner to find a roofing material that is cheaper than asphalt shingles and offers the same beautiful aesthetic. The best thing about asphalt shingles is that there are so many brands and options on the market that you are sure to find something that suits your needs.

Best for dry climates

Of the materials on the list, composite is the best type of shingle for dry climates. Because of their resistance to ultraviolet rays and their ability to retain color over time, they have an advantage over asphalt shingles, which tend to fade and deteriorate faster in sunlight.

This is a huge plus for homeowners who want the look of a wood ceiling without increasing the risk of fire. In fact, CeDUR, one of the most popular brands of composites, reached temperatures in excess of 1400 degrees Fahrenheit in fire tests without ignition.

Best for humid climates

Due to their resistance to mold and algae growth, composite panels are also ideal for humid climates. The fiberglass and polymers in these roofs are less likely to warp, rot or develop leaks over time, meaning you have fewer maintenance issues overall.

Cedar shingles take second place in humid climates. Wood does absorb some moisture in rainy environments, although the slight swelling brings the shingles closer together, making it less likely for water to reach your home. In very wet or humid regions, rot and deterioration can become a problem and shorten the life of a wooden roof.

The most versatile tile

In general, asphalt shingles are the most versatile shingles in terms of availability, color, design, and price. They are a popular choice for homeowners looking for a roofing material that is both practical and aesthetically pleasing. These tiles are lightweight and can be used in various weather conditions. They are relatively easy to install and maintain, which can be ideal for homeowners on a budget or DIY enthusiasts.

Asphalt shingles are inherently quite flexible and are also great for non-traditional roof shapes and steep slopes. For these reasons, they remain the most popular roofing material on the market.


There you have it, a summary of the different types of tiles that are available. Each type of tile has its pros and cons, so it pays to do your research and consult a professional carpenter to make an informed decision.

With the right choice, you can enjoy a beautiful, durable roof that provides protection and adds value to your home.

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