What Are The Best Shingles For Georgia?

In Atlanta, and the state of Georgia in general, we have a particular type of climate. It's very hot and humid in the summers, and the winters here are mild to cold. It's whats known as a "Subtropical Climate". With this in mind, if you're thinking of replacing your roof, you may be wondering: what are the best shingles for Georgia? Below, we'll take a look at several popular shingle materials, and the pros and cons of each one.


What Materials Are Shingles Made Of?

Shingles can be made from a variety of different materials, and each material comes with it's own set of advantages and disadvantages. Some of these materials include:

  • Wood
  • Metal
  • Slate
  • Plastic
  • Asphalt

Lets talk a little more in depth about each shingle type and what it offers.


Wood Shingles

wood shingle roof blog image

Wooden shingles have a long history, they we're actually some of the first types of shingles roofs were made of. There are two options when looking at wood for your roof, shingles and shakes. Shingles are machine-sawn, and shakes are hand split. Shakes do tend to have better wind and water resistance between the two, because one side is always along the grain.

Pros Of Wood Shingles

  • Wood shingles are great insulators, because wood is a poor conductor of heat. This means a wood shingle or shake roof will help keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
  • Wood shingles are fairly resistant to wind damage, which is one of the main enemies of the ever popular asphalt shingle. Wood shingles are usually rated to withstand winds of 173 - 245 mph.
  • Wood shingles can also have a great impact resistance. This of course depends on the type and thickness of the wood, but wood shingles can be made to have  class-4 impact resistance rating. This means they are rated to withstand two inch pieces of hail.
  • Wood shingles are Eco-friendly. Obviously being made from an organic material makes them easy on the earth, and they can be recycled easily once they're removed.
  • Wood shingles are lightweight. They only weigh around 200 lbs per square - asphalt shingles can weigh up to 400 lbs per square. This means a wooden roof puts less stress on your home overall.

Cons Of Wood Shingles

  • Wood shingles require a lot of maintenance. Because they are an organic material, they are susceptible to certain types of problems and require special care. One of these is moss and algae growth. This can be mitigated with certain chemicals, but these need to be applied frequently to keep the problem at bay.
  • Wood shingles are not very resistant to fire. In order to keep your wood shingles up to code, fire-retardant chemicals must be applied every few years.
  • Wood shingles can attract insects, moreso depending on the kind of wood your shingles are made of. Wasps are a particularly common problem among homeowners with wood shingle roofs.
  • Wood shingles are also prone to wood rot. Sometimes, the bottom of the shingle has trouble drying out fully, and trapped moisture is never good for any kind of roof. One of the ways to mitigate this problem is by putting mesh underneath your wood shingles to allow airflow to all sides.

Are Wood Shingles Well Suited For Georgia?

Wood shingles can be a good choice for your home if you live in Georgia. You do have to be willing to take on the extra maintenance that comes along with a wooden roof though. With the heat and humidity that Georgia is known for, it creates prime conditions for moss and algae to thrive, which is one of the most common problems that wooden roofs see. The humidity in Georgia also makes it hard for your wooden shingles to thoroughly dry out after heavy rainfall, which we see a lot of. This makes it critical to go the extra step of installing mesh underneath your wooden shingles, so they can properly dry out after getting wet.


Metal Shingles

metal shingle roof blog image

Metal shingles are different from a standing seam metal roof. Metal shingles are exactly what they sound like, shingles made of metal. These give homeowners the choice to still have the look of a traditional shingle roof, while enjoying the benefits that come along with metal roofing.

Pros Of Metal Shingles

  • Metal roofs and metal shingles have one of the longest lifespans of any roof, they are capable of lasting upwards of 70 years if they are properly installed and maintained
  • Metal shingles offer great energy efficiency, and they can reduce a homes cooling costs by up to 25%
  • Metal roofs are another environmentally friendly option, most being made from 25-95% recycled material. They are also completely recyclable at the end of their lifespan.
  • Metal shingles can increase your home value, and in some states they can even decrease your insurance premium

Cons Of Metal Shingles

  • The first and biggest con of metal shingles is the price tag. Metal shingles are one of the most expensive materials to purchase and install, with costs ranging from 5k-28k.
  • Metal roofs are great at standing up to weather, but they can be noisy, particularly if you live in a rainy climate. While some people enjoy the sound of rain on a metal roof, many others don't appreciate the extra noise. This can be countered with insulation, but this adds an additional expense to a roof that already comes with a high price tag.
  • Metal shingles can be hard to match. If you need repairs down the line, finding metal that matched yours can be a bit of a challenge. You can always purchase extra shingles when you have the roof installed, but again, this is adding money to an already costly project.
  • Metal roofs experience expansion and contraction, particularly in areas with changing climates. This means the shingles need room to "breathe" and if they are installed improperly this can cause huge problems for you down the line.

Are Metal Shingles Well Suited For Georgia?

Most roofers agree that metal shingles are a great choice no matter where you live. They are durable, long lasting, and don't require as much maintenance as other types of roofing materials. They also reduce a home's cooling cost with their ability to reflect UV heat, so this makes them a particularly attractive choice for Georgia's hot climate. They do need to be carefully installed, because Georgia's weather changes rapidly, and can go from cold to hot very quickly, so metal roofs will experience a lot of the expansion and contraction we mentioned. All in all, if you can afford the additional cost that comes with opting for a metal shingle roof, it's definitely a good choice.


Slate Shingles

slate shingle roof blog image

Slate shingles are another type of roofing shingle that can be traced back centuries. Slate shingles are made of 100% natural stone with no additives, and that slate comes directly from the earth. Slate shingles have declined in popularity among recent years, but it still boasts many benefits as a roofing material.

Pros Of Slate Shingles

  • Like metal shingles, slate boasts an incredibly long life if properly installed - potentially up to 100 years.
  • Slate is naturally fireproof because it is stone, and this also makes it another environmentally friendly roofing option. Slate is mined from the earth, and completely recyclable once finished.
  • Slate does not have problems with insects that can affect other types of shingles
  • Slate is a dense stone, and therefore it absorbs very little water, meaning it will not be susceptible to water damage like many other roofing materials.

Cons Of Slate Shingles

  • Slate shingles, similar to metal shingles, come with a high price tag. A slate roof typically costs 2-3x that of an asphalt shingle roof.
  • Slate is extremely heavy, due to the density of the material. A square of slate roofing can weigh 800-1000 lbs. This puts a lot of extra stress on your roof supports.
  • Slate is not an easy material to repair, and it will always need to be done by a professional. While it's relatively easy to repair a shingle roof yourself, attempting to repair slate is much more complicated.
  • Slate is durable, but it is also brittle. This can make maintenance on your home an issue if it requires someone to walk on your roof. The slate can be prone to cracking and damage, which is never a good thing.
  • Because slate is a brittle material that is prone to cracking, it also requires a lot of knowledge on the part of your roofer to install correctly. This means it's not always easy to find someone who is capable of properly installing slate roofing.

Are Slate Shingles Well Suited For Georgia?

Slate shingles are a durable and environmentally friendly option no matter where you live. They stand up well to changing weather conditions, and can last a long time. Slate shingles are well suited for Georgia, but they are still tricky to properly install and come with a large initial price tag.


Synthetic Roof Shingles

vinyl shingle roof blog image-1

Synthetic roof shingles can be made of a few different things, like plastic, vinyl, polymers, or composite materials. Synthetic shingles are a good option for those who like the look of more expensive materials like slate, or cedar shake, but can't necessarily afford the price tag, or don't want the extra maintenance.

Pros Of Synthetic Shingles

  • Synthetic shingles are extremely durable. Many types of synthetic shingles come with a class 4 impact rating, which as we mentioned before means they can stand up to two inch pieces of hail. You also don't need to worry about them breaking when someone needs to walk on the roof for maintenance, like other types of roofing material.
  • Another advantage of synthetic shingles is that they are lightweight. The heavier your roofing material is, the more stress there is on your roof's supports. With a well designed roof, this isn't always an issue, but it's much easier on your home overall to have a lighter roofing material.
  • Cost is a pro for synthetic shingles if you are looking at something like a slate roof. Synthetic slate is going to be significantly cheaper than real slate. If you are looking at synthetic wood shake, the cost is about the same.
  • Synthetic shingles are relatively low maintenance, they don't warp, mold, or rot easily, they stand up well to many kinds of extreme weather, and they don't attract pests other types of shingles can.

Cons Of Synthetic Shingles

  • Even though synthetic shingles are cheaper than slate shingles, they will still cost you more than even the most expensive asphalt shingle roof. If walking away with the lowest price tag on your new roof is your goal, synthetic shingles are not a good option for you.
  • Synthetic shingles are a relatively new material. This means there are still a lot of unknowns about them - manufacturers offer a limited lifetime warranty of course, but there's always the chance there could be unforeseen problems down the line.
  • Synthetic shingles are made from a combination of rubber and plastic. Rubber carries with it a very distinct smell, which will be noticeable when you install your new roof. This will fade over time, but it's something to keep in mind when deciding whether or not to choose synthetic shingles.

Are Synthetic Shingles Well Suited For Georgia?

If you live in Georgia, synthetic shingles are a good option. They are durable, long lasting, stand up to many types of weather, and they aren't prone to mold or rot, which can be a problem in a climate like Georgia's where it remains humid for much of the year. However, if cost is your main concern, synthetic shingles probably aren't the best choice.


Asphalt Shingles

asphalt shingle roof blog image

Asphalt shingles are probably the most common type of roofing material. Asphalt shingles are made up of a fiberglass or felt base coated with a layer of waterproof asphalt which is then topped with ceramic granules. There are many benefits to an asphalt shingle roof, but like all other roofing materials, there are some cons too.

Pros Of Asphalt Shingles

  • Cost is a huge pro when talking about asphalt shingles. Asphalt shingles are one of the most affordable choices on the market today.
  • There are a wide variety of aesthetic options when looking at asphalt shingles. They come in many colors, 3tab, architectural, and premium designs. This means it's easy to find something that compliments your homes styles and raises your curb appeal.
  • Asphalt shingles are easy to install. This is part of what makes them an affordable option for homeowners. Roofers don't need any special tools to install them, and the entire process is fairly straightforward.
  • Asphalt shingles are relatively easy to repair and replace. When you opt for this kind of roofing material, it's even possible to make repairs yourself if you're handy.

Cons Of Asphalt Shingles

  • Asphalt shingles are vulnerable to things like wind uplift and hail damage. They can easily be broken or torn of your roof, making you vulnerable to leaks, so you need to be on the lookout for shingle damage frequently.
  • Asphalt shingles are not really an Eco-friendly option for roofing. They utilize fossil fuels to be manufactured, and they are not recyclable, so they contribute tons of waste to landfills each year.
  • Asphalt shingles can raise your cooling costs. They are not great at reflecting UV rays, and they get very hot, so if you live in a warm climate, don't expect an asphalt shingle roof to help keep your home cool.
  • Asphalt shingles don't have the longest lifespan. On paper, they can last 20-25 years, but realistically this depends on environmental factors, weather conditions, and more. 

Are Asphalt Shingles Well Suited For Georgia?

Due to being the most economical roofing material, no matter where you live asphalt shingle roofs are likely going to be the most common type of roof you see. They can be a good option for Georgia, but they do absorb heat, and in an already hot and humid climate this will raise your cooling costs. Of course, this is offset somewhat by the money you save on installation, but it's still something to keep in mind when choosing an asphalt shingle roof.

Questions About Shingles?

If you're in the market for a new roof, and you have questions about what type of shingle is best for you, give us a call at Colony Roofers. We have a knowledgeable team of roofing professionals ready to answer any questions you might have, we also come out and perform free 30 minute inspections, so you can be sure the advice you're getting is suited to your specific home.