The Best Roofing Shingles for Your Next Roofing Project

The best type of roof shingles

Finding the best roofing shingles for your home can make all the difference. The next time you need a roof replacement, take the time to evaluate the different types of roof shingles available. Learning the basics will help you find the material, color, and value that perfectly fits your home and budget. 

There are quite a few details to consider when you need new roofing shingles. “What are roofing shingles made of?” “What is the difference between architectural shingles and 3-tab shingles?” and “Which roofing shingle brands are the best?” Minnesota Exteriors can provide answers to help you decide on the type of shingle, color, and brand, so you can have complete confidence when starting your next roofing project.

Attic pop out window surrounded by new shingles

Visit the MEI showroom in Osseo, MN to explore our collection of the best roofing shingles on the market. 

Why Choose Asphalt Shingles?

When it comes time to replace your roof, there are a few different options, but none compare to the quality and durability of asphalt shingles. They’re the most popular choice for new homeowners today as they are relatively inexpensive, easy to install, and widely available. Additionally, asphalt shingles can be painted if you’re interested in a temporary update before a down the road roof replacement.

Asphalt shingles are flexible, dependable, and manufactured specifically to last through the harshest weather conditions. The average asphalt roof will see 25-40 years of winter storms before it ever needs to be replaced. There are a number of great reasons asphalt shingles have been trending upwards in recent years.

  • Lifespan: When installed properly and ventilated correctly, an asphalt roof could last between 25-40 years.
  • Easy Install: Compared to metal or flat roofing systems, asphalt shingles are the easiest to install.
  • Low Cost: Asphalt roof shingles are the best value for homeowners because they’re inexpensive and will last just as long as the more luxury options.

What are Asphalt Roofing Shingles Made Of? 

Asphalt roof shingles are composed of several layers, the first of which is a thin fiberglass blended mat. Asphalt is then mixed with a fine mineral powder and applied to the top and bottom of the mat. The asphalt shingles are then coated with a colored granular surfacing and bonded together.

roof cap covering asphalt shingles

What are the Types of Shingles?

There are two basic types of asphalt shingles: 3-Tab shingles and dimensional shingles. The main difference between the two is their appearance on the roof. The most popular option is the layered, dimensional shingle for both aesthetic and practical reasons.

3-Tab Roofing Shingles

Made up of three tabs, these shingles are uniform in color, shape, and size, giving them a very traditional style. They lay flat against the underlayment of the roof and are meant to look seamless, which unfortunately could make them more difficult to install. 3-Tab shingles still stand out for their sleek, sophisticated look and unique benefits:

  • Lays completely flat on the roof 
  • Weighs less than dimensional shingles

Dimensional Roofing Shingles

Dimensional shingles are also known as architectural shingles or laminate shingles. In contrast to the uniformity of 3-tab shingles, these are layered, staggered, individual tiles. They are easy to install and maintain because of their thick asphalt coating which gives them their tile-like appearance.

Architectural roof shingles come in a wide variety of colors, shapes, and textures, including some that can mimic real slate or cedar shakes. They may not look exactly like cedar, but in areas with strict fire safety codes, they provide the best low-cost alternative. It’s no wonder dimensional shingles have become so popular with all their exceptional advantages:

  • Can imitate slate tiles or cedar shakes
  • Thicker construction for a longer lifespan 

Close up of asphalt shingles

3 Asphalt Shingle Brands You Should Know: IKO, GAF, and Owens Corning

There are more roof shingle brands than most people realize. Each one manufactures a variety of asphalt shingle styles. The brand you choose will impact cost, installation, and warranty options. Over the years, a few high-quality brands have become the preferred shingle manufacturers for a majority of homeowners and builders.

IKO Roofing Shingles

IKO is a Chicago-based company that has since branched out across the United States and to European markets. They have made a name for themselves with homeowners and contractors alike because they go beyond simple shingles.

IKO offers complete roofing solutions with eave protection, underlayment, starter shingles, and ridge caps. These four areas work together to create a perfect seal over your home. IKO carries 3-tab, dimensional, and luxury shingles, as well as a few other helpful roofing products. They’re a favorite brand because they offer:

  • A complete roofing solution
  • Widest variety of colors
  • Lower price points than other top brands

GAF Roofing Shingles

GAF architectural shingles are the originators of the dimensional style. They are still one of the most popular shingle lines in America and have won numerous awards.

GAF places a high value on quality and backs it up with an optional 50-year warranty when replacing the whole roof. Most warranties can be upgraded and transferred to a new homeowner. GAF shingles reviews are consistently positive after serving its customers for well over a century with the following:

  • Algae protection that provides anti-staining features
  • Warranties can be transferred once
  • Multiple options at a range of price points

Owens Corning Roofing Shingles

Owens Corning makes some of the best shingles in North America. Their brand popularity and sales are second in the United States only to GAF. Their color pallet is diverse and their services extend beyond the shingles for complete roof protection.

Owens Corning offers brand-certified training courses to ensure contractors know the proper way to install their roofing shingles. They have been an industry leader for years due to their aesthetically pleasing, high-functioning, and durable shingles. They offer:

  • Brand-certified training provided
  • Complete roofing systems that guarantee a tight seal
  • A varied and expressive color pallet

Handshake closing a deal on new shingles

How to Choose the Right Asphalt Shingle Brand

As you evaluate brands, you’ll also need to choose between a few different styles. There are countless images across the web that you can look at to help visualize the color and style that will fit your home. If you prefer to see physical examples, visit our showroom to find the roofing shingles that are right for you. Aside from color and style, there are a few additional factors you’ll want to consider.


The best roofing company will have studied the installation process directly from the shingle brand they are using. Roofing companies will need to be certified by the brand to offer a lifetime warranty on 50-year shingles. Even the best shingles won’t last a decade if not properly installed.

Keep in mind that if you need your old shingles torn down, there will be an added cost. Find a company that will work with you to get the best results from your new roof. Here are some guidelines for installation:

  • Look for brand-certified installers
  • Better installers can offer better warranties
  • Quality installation is just as important as quality shingles


Finding a certified roofing company will give you the widest selection of warranties to choose from. The most common warranty is for 30-year shingles. The majority of asphalt shingles have been shown to far outlast that time frame. There are only a few shingle lines that offer 50-year warranties, and only when the entire roof is replaced. The warranty that’s right for you will depend on your home’s exposure to the elements and your future plans to sell the property. Keep in mind:

  • Most warranties are non-transferrable
  • 30-year roof shingles are a popular option for new homeowners
  • Certified roofing companies will have the best warranties

Additional Tips for Choosing the Best Roofing Shingles

Take into consideration the climate your roof will be battling against. Thicker shingles will be able to stand up to harsher weather for longer and can be well worth the investment. Shingle color will also affect the heat of your attic, as darker colors attract more warmth that you can use to heat your home in the winter. Finally, the best shingles are only part of a complete roofing system, so find a great company with all-around service like your local roofing contractors at MEI. The most important considerations when it comes to roofing are:

  • Consider black roof shingles for a warmer attic
  • Thicker shingles can take more damage than thin ones
  • Shingles are only part of a complete roofing system 

Lakeside home with patterned shingles

Contact the Experts at MEI to Find the Best Roofing Shingles

Your roof protects your home from the heat, cold, moisture, high winds, and other extreme weather events. Our professional residential and commercial roofing contractors have the expertise to fit your home with the best shingles for your area.

At MEI, we’ve been the preferred roofing installers across the Twin Cities for decades. Don’t just take our word for it; listen to what our customers have to say. If you’re in the market for a new or replacement roof, contact our roofing experts to learn more about our shingle options and get a free estimate.

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