Best Roofing Shingles for Residential Homes in 2021

So, it’s time for a new roof. Choosing the right roofing shingles can feel a bit overwhelming. Even if you aren’t going for anything fancy, like slate, clay or concrete tiles or the increasingly popular metal creations, the choices in roofing shingles have expanded over the years.

Aside From Looks, What Matters In A Shingle?

That depends. The most popular type of shingle by far is the asphalt shingle. That’s because they are an affordable choice. Yet, in recent years, manufacturers have developed more varieties, differentiated by style and cost. Because of the dynamic properties of composite asphalt, an array of specialty products span the shingle types, from 3-tab, to dimensional and luxury.

Whether you live in an area where severe weather and even hail are a concern, there is a damage resistant shingle for you, or if you live in an area exposed to a lot of hot summer sun, like Novato, you can choose shingles with a cool roof technology. If your home is located in the redwoods of Lucas Valley or the coastal strips of the Bay Area, an algae fighting shingle could be your best bet.

Many homeowners in Marin, Sonoma and Napa counties are painfully aware of the need to choose shingles that are fire resistant. Asphalt shingles meet that requirement.

Take a stroll in your neighborhood and note the variety of roof coverings from one house to the next. The mix of colors, patterns, shapes, thickness and styles may provide curb appeal, but what matters most?

Asphalt shingles are composed of asphalt adhered to a base of either fiberglass or felt paper. That base is coated wth a waterproof layer of asphalt that is topped with ceramic granules. How well those granules stick to the fiberglass or paper can determine how long your roof will be able to do its job effectively.

What Other Factors Are At Play?

  • When shingles are rated for performance and reliability, weight is a factor. Strip shingles or 3-tab are often the lightest, as they are flat. The heavier the shingle the longer it may last. But longevity relies on the quality and mix of the materials used to create the shingle. So, weight alone cannot determine quality.
  • Thicker shingles often mean heavier, but remember, the quality and the mix of materials also matter, as does the adhesion of the granules.
  • Dimensional and architectural shingles are visably thicker than 3-tab shingles. They may also have other minerals added to enhance their durability. Architectural shingles stand out because their pattern and color tone are less regular than a simple dimensional shingle and due to this, require greater attention and labor to ensure a pleasing pattern is achieved during installation. Some purposely seek to replicate the wood shake and natural slate roofing styles.

What type of shingle will be right for your home and location? A qualified roofing contractor can provide a variety of samples. Remember to get a shingle sample and slant it to the angle of your roof and look at it in the light, to see how you like it against your home’s exterior walls. The option of trying to determine what color and style look best through the use of a computer simulation can be fun, but it isn’t always very accurate, given screen resolution and color replication.

A roofing contractor can also make educated manufacturer suggestions based on their years of experience. Look for a contractor who has your best interests at heart. One who has been in business long enough to know that even brand name manufacturers have sometimes changed hands, leaving new leadership to skimp on quality, or fail to honor warranties, damaging reputations and losing market share.


The best shingles for a residential home will depend on the style of your home, its location and climate, in addition to your budget and design selections. There are a number of solid, reputable roofing material manufacturers to choose from, once you do a little homework.

If you have questions, or need more guidance than reviews on YouTube, or Consumer Reports can provide, call today and talk to one of our roofing professionals 415-924-2733. We’d be happy to help.