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High-Quality Vs. Low-Quality Shingles: Which Should I Choose?

September , 2023 | 6 min. read

By David Toth

large home on golf course with asphalt shingle roof

Choosing between high-quality and low-quality shingles for your roofing project is a significant decision that can have long-lasting implications for your home. Your choice will impact not only the immediate aesthetics and functionality of your roof but also its durability and maintenance requirements in the years to come.

Think about it this way: those cheap wine glasses you see at your local department store may look the same as the crystal, but will they hold up just as well as the real deal after so many uses and washes? At RoofCrafters, we’ve been installing shingles for over 3 decades, and just like those wine glasses, while these low-quality shingles you may see on the market look the same as the high-quality at the beginning, you’d be surprised at their appearance and functionality after years of wear and tear.

Now, that’s not to say there’s anything wrong with opting for the low-quality option; every homeowner has different budgets, aesthetics, and goals. With that being said, you’re probably wondering what sets high and low-quality shingles apart, and which to choose. You’re in luck, my friend, because in just a few short moments, you’ll get the chance to read a head-to-head comparison about these bad boys, and after that, you can brush up on some of the most popular shingle brands. So, let’s get started!

High-Quality Vs. Low-Quality Shingles


High-quality and low-quality roofing shingles can have significant differences in terms of durability, appearance, performance, and cost. It's important to choose the right type of shingles for your specific needs and budget. Here's a comparison of high-quality and low-quality roofing shingles:

High-Quality Roofing Shingles


Durability: High-quality shingles are often made from superior materials, such as asphalt, wood, metal, or synthetic materials like composite or slate. They are designed to withstand harsh weather conditions, including heavy rain, snow, wind, and hail, and can have longer lifespans.

Appearance: High-quality shingles typically have a more attractive and uniform appearance. They come in a wide range of styles, colors, and textures to complement the aesthetics of your home. Premium options may mimic the look of natural materials like wood or slate.

Florida-style stucco home with new asphalt shingles

Performance: These shingles often have better performance characteristics, including resistance to fading, algae growth, and fire. They may also come with warranties that guarantee their performance for a specified period, which can provide peace of mind for homeowners.

Energy Efficiency: Some high-quality shingles are designed to reflect more sunlight and absorb less heat, which can improve the energy efficiency of your home and reduce cooling costs.

Up close of premium asphalt shingles on a steep hip roof

Cost: High-quality shingles tend to be more expensive upfront compared to low-quality options. However, their longer lifespan and better performance may ultimately make them a cost-effective choice in the long run.

Low-Quality Roofing Shingles


Durability: Low-quality shingles are often made from cheaper materials and may not hold up well under adverse weather conditions. They may have a shorter lifespan and be more susceptible to damage.

rooftop shot of missing shingles and Jacksonville RoofCrafters truck

Appearance: These shingles may have a less appealing appearance and may not be available in as many styles or colors. Over time, they can fade or become discolored.

Performance: Low-quality shingles may lack features like resistance to algae and fire. They may also be more prone to leaks and require more frequent repairs or replacements.

rotten plywood damage at a valley transition of a roof

Energy Efficiency: Many low-quality shingles do not offer energy-efficient features, which can result in higher energy bills due to increased heat absorption.

Cost: Low-quality shingles are generally more budget-friendly upfront, but their lower durability and performance may lead to higher long-term costs as they may need to be replaced sooner.

Ultimately, the choice between high-quality and low-quality roofing shingles depends on your budget, climate, aesthetic preferences, and long-term goals for your home. Always consult with a roofing professional who can provide guidance and recommend the best shingle type for your specific aesthetic needs and ultimate performance goals. 

The Asphalt Shingle Color Guide

What Shingle Brands Should I Consider?


There are several popular roofing shingle brands known for their quality and durability. Keep in mind that the availability of these brands may vary depending on your location, so it's essential to check with local suppliers and roofing professionals. Here are some well-known shingle brands to consider:

  1. GAF (Timberline Series): GAF is one of the largest manufacturers of roofing materials in North America. Their Timberline series is highly regarded for its quality and variety of styles and colors.

  2. CertainTeed: CertainTeed offers a wide range of shingle options, including asphalt, wood, and composite shingles. Their Landmark series is a popular choice for asphalt shingles.

  3. Owens Corning: Owens Corning produces a variety of roofing materials, and their Duration series of asphalt shingles is known for its durability and wind resistance.

  4. IKO: IKO is a global manufacturer of roofing products, and their Cambridge series of asphalt shingles is known for its quality and aesthetic appeal.

  5. Tamko: Tamko offers a range of shingle options, including Heritage and Heritage Premium series for asphalt shingles. They are known for their vibrant colors and durability.

  6. Atlas Roofing: Atlas Roofing produces asphalt shingles, and their Pinnacle Pristine series is known for its high-quality materials and dimensional look.

  7. Malarkey Roofing Products: Malarkey offers a variety of asphalt shingles, including the Legacy and Windsor series, which are known for their impact resistance and energy efficiency.

  8. Cedar Shake & Shingle Bureau (CSSB) Certified Manufacturers: If you're interested in natural cedar shingles or shakes, consider products from CSSB-certified manufacturers, as they adhere to industry standards for quality.

When deciding on a shingle brand, it's important to take into account various factors, including your budget, the climate of your location, your preferred aesthetics, and the manufacturer's reputation. Furthermore, it's advisable to receive an in-depth inspection from a roofing expert who can offer guidance tailored to your roofing requirements and the specific climate conditions in your region. Their expertise will assist you in making the most suitable choice regarding the shingle brand and type for your roofing project.

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Should I Choose High or Low Quality Shingles for My Roof?


The decision to choose high-quality or low-quality shingles for your roof should be based on a careful assessment of your specific needs, budget constraints, and long-term goals. High-quality shingles offer superior durability, aesthetics, and performance, which can lead to a longer-lasting and more resilient roofing system. While they may come with a higher upfront cost, their potential for cost savings over time makes them a valuable investment.

Conversely, low-quality shingles may be more budget-friendly initially, but they often lack the durability and performance features needed to withstand the elements effectively. This can lead to higher maintenance costs and the need for more frequent replacements. Ultimately, it's best to have a chat with roofing professionals who can provide tailored recommendations based on your unique circumstances, local climate conditions, and budget.

By making an informed decision, you can ensure that your roof not only protects your home but also adds to its value and aesthetic appeal for years to come. If you’re interested in adding curb appeal to your home and saving on your energy bills, be sure to hit the “Schedule an Inspection” button down below, and one of our roofing experts will go further in-depth about the wonders shingles can do for your home, and what your options are!

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David Toth

My name is David Toth and I am the lead estimator in North Florida with RoofCrafters Roofing. Originally from New Brunswick, I have called Florida home for the past 47 years. I enjoy cooking along with traveling to different historical areas in Florida when I have free time.