Share this blog post:

How to Choose the Right Roof Shingles

Published: 06/02/23

Window and door installer Sarasota

Your roof is the first line of defense against the elements. Therefore, its materials need to be able to stand up to everything our Florida weather can throw at it. This starts at the roof’s outer layer, the shingles, which form the “shell” of your roofing system.

The trouble is that in today’s market, deciding which shingles are most suitable can be tough to figure out. There is a wide variety of options available, each with their own pros and cons. In this article, we’ll guide you on how to choose the right kind of roofing shingles for your home, offering a complete overview of material types and important considerations.

Understand How South Florida’s Climate will Influence Your Needs

Florida is famous for its weather – both the good and the bad. Especially in South Florida, choosing the right roofing material is crucial because of the unique environmental conditions. Our region is prone to high winds, tropical storms, hurricanes, torrential rainfall, and thick humidity – all of which can significantly impact a roof's lifespan and effectiveness.

This means that weather resistance will need to be top of mind when selecting your roofing shingles. You’ll want to look for materials that resist wind damage, repel water, and hold up well under intense sun exposure. If you don’t make this a priority, you’ll find your new roof deteriorating quickly. Tailoring your choices to the climate will ensure that you get the most out of your investment.

Assessing Shingle Types and Their Features

Below, we’ve compiled a quick rundown of all of the characteristics of today’s top shingle materials. For price estimates, keep in mind that the numbers here are rough figures. The pandemic created a lot of volatility in the market regarding material availability, so prices can shift higher or lower in a matter of weeks.

Asphalt Shingles

Average Cost Range: $4.50 to $7.50 per square foot, including installation

Average Lifespan: 15 to 30 years

Asphalt shingles are one of the most cost-effective roofing options, making them a popular choice for homeowners on a budget. They come in numerous colors and styles, allowing you to easily match your roof to your home's exterior. In addition, asphalt shingles are relatively easy and quick to install. However, they are less durable than other options when faced with South Florida’s conditions, giving them a shorter lifespan. Another potential drawback is their environmental impact. Asphalt shingles contain petroleum and are difficult to recycle, making them a less eco-friendly choice.

Composite Shingles

Average Cost Range: $7.00 to $13.00 per square foot, including installation

Average Lifespan: 20 to 50 years

Composite shingles are highly versatile in that they can mimic the look of wood, slate, or tile at a fraction of the cost. They're relatively durable and require less maintenance than wood, making them a good option for homeowners who want the look of a more expensive roof without the added upkeep. Many composite shingles also offer good fire and wind resistance. They also hold strong against South Florida’s mold, algae, and insects. Some composite shingles have reflective qualities, enabling them to keep homes cooler under our region’s intense sunlight. That being said, the quality of composite shingles can vary significantly among manufacturers, and while they typically last longer than asphalt, they don't have as long a lifespan as tile or metal roofs.

Metal Shingles

Average Cost Range: $8.00 to $13.75 per square foot, including installation

Average Lifespan: 40 to 70 years

Metal shingles are a highly durable and long-lasting roofing solution that is becoming increasingly popular throughout Florida. They are naturally resistant to moisture, fire, wind, and insect damage, and can withstand extreme weather conditions better than many other roofing materials. Metal roofs also offer energy efficiency benefits, as they reflect sunlight and help keep your home cooler in the summer. It’s possible to find metal roofing material in two formats: the first is large, single sheets that cover a significant portion of your rooftop; the second is smaller sections that are installed more like traditional shingles. The latter is typically more desirable if you’d like a more classic look over the sleek style of metal sheeting. Metal shingles have a higher price tag than more basic shingle materials. While they may save you money in the long term due to their durability and low maintenance requirements, the initial cost may be a bit daunting. Compared to tile, however, their pricing is far easier to afford.

Tile Shingles

Average Cost Range: $12.00 to $22.00 per square foot, including installation

Average Lifespan: 50 to 100 years (longer for clay or concrete tile shingles)

Tile shingles are another reliable option. Clay or concrete tile shingles can be expected to last for decades. They are resistant to fire, wind, and insect damage, and their heaviness makes them an excellent option for homes in our hurricane-prone area. Tile shingles also offer a distinct aesthetic that is fully aligned with the Spanish colonial and mission styles often seen in South Florida’s historic neighborhoods. When it comes to drawbacks, tile shingles are one of the most expensive roofing options. In addition, due to their weight, not all homes have a strong enough structure to support them. If this is the case for your home, you’ll need to pay for structural reinforcement to be done before installation.

Wood Shingles

Average Cost Range: $8.00 to $14.30 per square foot, including installation

Average Lifespan: 20 to 30 years

Wood shingles offer a unique and natural look that is well-loved. They fit right in with the laid-back bungalow style of many residences in the area. Wood shingles can help insulate your home, keeping it cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. However, they require more maintenance than most other roofing materials, especially in South Florida. They need to be cleaned regularly to prevent the growth of mold or algae, and you may have to replace them more frequently due to damage from insects, warping, or rot. The durability concerns don’t end there. Wood shingles usually don’t withstand high winds as well as some other roofing materials, meaning that they can be more easily damaged when our tropical storms roll through. If you opt to go with wood shingles, it will likely be because you’ve deemed their aesthetic and authenticity to be worth the expense of extra maintenance.

Don’t Forget: The Contractor Matters, Too

If you want your new shingles to endure, they’ll need to be installed with skill and precision. That requires the work of an expert roofing contractor with all of the professional qualifications needed to protect your investment.

AKVM is one of the leading roofers in the area of Sarasota, Bradenton, and Tampa. We offer an excellent workmanship warranty, and installation standards that ensure full honoring of any manufacturer’s warranty or insurance claim.

If you’d like to explore your options, we’re happy to perform a FREE inspection and provide an official quote. Our experts are able to make recommendations that meet your needs, accounting for your budget and peace of mind. Contact us today to schedule a visit from one of our specialists.


professional roofing sarasota

See What Our Customers Are Saying