It is important to know about the different types of shingles when choosing a roof for your home. While there are many different types of shingles on the market, the three most common types of shingles for traditional residential houses in the Midwest are asphalt, cedar, and metal.

There are many factors to consider when deciding which shingle is best for your home, such as affordability, quality, appearance, difficulty of installation and maintenance, durability, energy efficiency, and environmental friendliness. Those are many factors to consider, so we designed a chart for easier reference:

Pros and Cons of Each Shingle

Each shingle type has pros and cons, and it is essential to consider them all together when making important decisions about your roof. Slate and tile shingles are not being evaluated in this article because they are prohibitively expensive and not commonly seen in the Midwest.




  • Popular and Affordable: Asphalt shingles are the most common and most affordable shingle type when considering price and ease of maintenance and installation.
  • Lightweight
  • Fire-Resistant
  • Quality Lifespan: Asphalt shingles last roughly thirty years, and their low initial cost (and Big Fish Contracting’s fifty-year guaranteed warranty) makes them the “best bang for your buck.” Protective treatments are also available for an additional cost to make the shingles last even longer.
  • Variety: There are many options of colors, styles, and sizes for these shingles. Colors range from grays, browns, blues, and more. Asphalt shingles can be modified to look various ways, even like other kinds of shingles such as wood, slate, or tile.
  • Energy-Efficient: Asphalt shingles can have cool-roof technology to reduce the heat absorbed by your roof and lower your energy bills. If your shingles meet ENERGY STAR standards, you can receive rebates, which can save you more money.
  • Low-Maintenance: Damaged shingles are inexpensive and easy to repair or replace.
  • Easy Installation: Installation is shorter, simpler, and the least expensive of any kind of shingle.
  • Environmentally Friendly: Asphalt shingles were once bad for the environment, but now they have much less of a negative impact because new asphalt shingles can be layered directly on top of old ones; they are becoming recyclable as well.


  • Less Durable: Asphalt shingles are prone to weather damage and don’t have as long of a lifespan as other shingle types.
  • Not Meant for Flat Roofs: Flat roofs aren’t a good match for asphalt shingles because they will wear out from weathering much more quickly than on a steeper-sloped roof.




  • Appearance: Cedar roofs are known for being some of the most beautiful, which is why other shingle-type manufacturers have created shingles that can mimic the look of wood.
  • Environmentally Friendly: Cedar shingles are the best shingles for the environment because they are organic and biodegradable.
  • Lightweight
  • Energy-Efficient: Cedar shingles insulate the attic and allow the house to breathe by circulating air immediately underneath. Cedar shingles will reduce energy costs more than any other type.


  • Short Life-Span: Cedar shingles last roughly twenty to thirty years.
  • Expensive: The actual shingle pricing is affordable, but their expensive installation and maintenance processes makes them a more expensive shingle.
  • Extensive Installation: Installing and replacing cedar shingles are no DIY project—they are lengthy and expensive tasks, which require professional experience.
  • High Maintenance: Cedar shingles are incredibly difficult to maintain, and often times full replacement of shingles is needed instead of just repair.
  • Highly Flammable



  • Good for Flat or Extremely Steep Rooflines
  • Long-Lasting Durability: Metal roofs can last over fifty years and hold up very strongly to weathering and other damage without cracking, splitting, warping, or rotting.
  • Energy-Efficient: Metal shingles can reflect the sun’s rays, which keeps the home cool.
  • Fire-Resistant
  • Environmentally Friendly: Metal shingles are recycled and can often be installed over an existing roof.


  • Noise: During rain or hail, metal shingles are usually noisy.
  • Expensive: Metal shingles are not cheap, and they are initially expensive to install.
  • Not Common: Metal shingles are not seen on most residential homes because most people do not like their appearance.
  • Heavy
  • Difficult to Repair: Repairing metal shingles can be quite dangerous if done alone—professional help is recommended.


Final Recommendation

Though every home and family is different, Big Fish’s recommendation is an asphalt shingle because its affordability, quality, and maintenance make it the most valuable investment for homeowners. Contact Big Fish Contracting at or 1-262-470-1114 for further assistance in making informed decisions about your roof.