Design Ideas: Choosing The Right Asphalt Shingles For Your Roof

Posted on: 7 July 2016


With all the roofing options available, it may seem difficult to choose a product when it comes time for a new roof. Asphalt shingles are one of the most common and cost effective options, but you will still have a lot of choices to make. The following guide can help you choose the asphalt shingles that will best compliment your home.

Know your shingle types

Asphalt shingles comes in three main varieties:

  • Three-tab tiles: These are relatively common on older roofs, although you may still see them in use because they are generally the lowest cost roofing option. Each strip is split into three sections on the visible edge. Their appearance is relatively flat, with no dimension to the color. They also tend to be lighter weight compared to other asphalt options, so they may be the best choice on buildings with minimal roof support. Choose these when you need a basic shingle at a low-cost but when appearance isn't of the utmost concern.

  • Dimensional or laminated shingles: These are two names for the same thing. Dimensional shingles consists of several layers, which gives a richer and more varied appearance to the roof. Color variations along the same color family and slight differentiations in tab width create visual depth, making for a much more attractive roof. These do weigh and cost slightly more than basic three-tab varieties, but the improved appearance is worth the extra weight and cost. These are a good options when you need to balance your budget with an attractive roofing option.

  • Premium and specialty shingles: Premium shingles are made similarly to dimensional shingles in that they are several layers of materials bonded together. They then go a step further design-wise. For example, the shingles may be cut into different shapes, such as a scallop edge suited for an old world cottage look. Or, the layers may built up in such a way as to give them shape, such as curved tops that mimic clay tiles. Naturally, these extra design elements come with a cost, so only opt for these when appearance is your main motivating factor.

Choose the right color

Color is the next important aspect of your shingle choice. It's best to go with a neutral tone in most cases and save accent colors for the trim of the home. When choosing a color, consider the following:

  1. Are there permanent colors that are a part of your home, such as brick or stonework?

  2. How likely are you to repaint the siding or trim in the next 10 to 20 years?

Your first step is to match the roof to the permanent color fixtures. If these colors are on the brown and cream spectrum, then opt for neutrals that fall into the brown spectrum. A rich woodsy brown can look nice with both light and dark homes. You can also work in shades of yellow, red, and orange if you opt for a laminated or premium roof. Just make sure it won't clash with the paintable surfaces of your home, now or in the future.

For homes on the white, gray, and black spectrum, light grays to dark charcoal or even black work well. It is also possible to work some color in, depending on your trim or siding color preferences. For example, blue trim means that blue and green highlights in a charcoal roof will work well, while red trim means the highlights should remain within the red spectrum. If you plan to change the paint trim colors over the years, then stick with neutral highlights in varying shades of gray.

Click here to find out more about this topic.