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Which Is The Best Value for Your Money: Budget-Friendly or Premium Shingles?

Posted on : July 23, 2023

Which Is The Best Value for Your Money: Budget-Friendly or Premium Shingles?

When you are building a new house or replacing your old roof, it’s important to choose the right type of roofing shingles. If you are exploring your options, this guide on affordable and premium shingles will be a helpful resource.

Being a roofing specialist and a homeowner myself, I am here to help others by sharing my knowledge and experience in the field. In this blog post, I will discuss everything about premium asphalt shingles and compare them with less expensive asphalt shingles to help you make the right choice.

Let’s begin by going over the details of budget-friendly asphalt shingles.

Overview of Affordable Shingles

Pocket-friendly asphalt shingles emerge as a sensible choice for homes in pleasant weather conditions. Most 3-tab shingles and some architectural shingles fall into this category. Crafted from asphalt, mineral granules, and adhesive layer, affordable shingles promise good-quality protection while being gentle on your finances. Plus, you can easily find a shingle color that gracefully completes your architectural vision.

What are Premium Shingles?

Premium shingles, also known as luxury or designer shingles, are of higher quality and have a better overall performance compared to 3-tab, or other less expensive options. Premium options include designer asphalt shingles, slate tiles, and clay tiles.

Premium Architectural Shingles

Premium Architectural Shingles
Image Source: certainteed.com

Premium asphalt shingles have two or three layers and are made of fiberglass or rubber-reinforced asphalt and are infused with mineral granules. Whether you have a modern, rustic, or traditional style house, premium roofing shingles cater to diverse aesthetic preferences. Crafted through advanced manufacturing processes, luxury asphalt shingles showcase incredible weather resistance and durability.

Here are some of the best premium asphalt shingles:

For more information on premium-quality asphalt shingles, read our previous blog post on the best roofing shingles.

Slate Shingles

Slate Shingles

Slate shingles represent the epitome of elegance and durability in the roofing world. These shingles are crafted from natural stone, giving them a timeless and sophisticated appearance. The unique texture and color variations of slate can add a touch of grandeur to any architectural style. Moreover, slate roofs boast exceptional longevity, often lasting a century or more with proper care.

Clay Tiles

Clay Tiles

For those seeking a touch of Mediterranean or Spanish influence, clay tiles offer a splendid choice. These tiles are manufactured from natural clay and come in various shapes, including barrel, S-shape, and flat tiles. The captivating reddish-brown hues of clay tiles exude warmth and charm, making them a favorite among homeowners who desire a distinct and striking appearance for their roofs. Additionally, clay tiles provide excellent insulation and are resistant to fire, rot, and insect damage. With proper maintenance, clay tile roofs can last for several decades, making them a sustainable and visually stunning roofing option.

Equipped with features like high impact resistance, energy efficiency, and waterproofing, these high-end shingles stand as the ultimate choice for homeowners living in harsh climates or regions prone to seasonal storms.

However, some people may feel the initial investment is a little too much, but in reality, it’s worth it as in the long run these shingles are highly cost-effective.

Let’s compare premium and affordable shingles to determine which product is best for you.

Affordable vs. Premium Roofing Shingles: A Comparison

When it comes to the best roofing shingles, we typically see friendly competition between cheaper and more expensive options. Here is a comparison of the two shingles:

Cost: Are Premium Shingles Worth It?

  • Standard Shingles: Traditional, budget-friendly shingles have become the go-to option for homeowners seeking a quick and pocket-friendly fix.
  • Premium Shingles: Due to their composition and increased durability, designer and natural roofing shingles have a higher upfront investment. But they are more cost-effective over time as they require less maintenance and last for decades without repair or replacement.


  • Budget-Friendly Shingles: Offering reliable protection for 15 to 20 years, affordable roofing shingles may not match the durability of their premium counterparts. In the face of harsh weather, they generally succumb to damage more easily, prompting a need for more frequent repairs and replacement.
  • Luxury Shingles: Wondering how long premium asphalt shingles last? Designer shingles are made from higher quality materials compared to less expensive options and therefore withstand the elements much better. With their sturdy composition, premium roofing shingles can last more than 40 years!
  • Natural Shingles: Slate and clay tile roofs are derived from natural materials and are even more durable than the above two shingles, lasting over 70 years!

Aesthetic Appeal

  • Affordable Asphalt Shingles: With a number of patterns and a wide range of colors, budget-friendly shingles are available in many styles that match any homeowner’s aesthetic.
  • Designer Shingles: Like affordable shingles, premium shingles are offered in many styles and colors. But, luxury asphalt shingles are also available in creative designs resembling wood shakes and slate roofs. 
  • Natural Shingles: Natural slate and clay tiles can provide a more enticing look, though they don’t come in as many color variations. 

Performance Features

  • Affordable Shingles: While offering standard protection, budget-friendly shingles may lack advanced features that premium roofing shingles have that are necessary to combat extreme weather events.
  • Premium Shingles: Elevating the standards of performance, luxury shingles come adorned with an array of beneficial features, including hail resistance, UV protection, and higher insulation.

Installation Complexity

  • Budget-Friendly Shingles: Light on both the budget and installation complexities, pocket-friendly shingles prove to be the convenient choice, reducing overall installation expenses.
  • Premium Roofing Shingles: Luxury shingles are easy to carry and install, as they have a solid, yet lightweight composition that is not easily damaged. However, premium manufacturers often require you to hire a brand-certified contractor for the installation, which is necessary for getting extended product warranties.
  • Natural Shingles: Slate and clay tiles are much heavier, so you need to make sure that your roof’s existing structure is sturdy enough to withstand the added weight.

Overall, this is what you get for either option: 

Standard 3-Tab Asphalt Shingles:

  • Affordable, budget-friendly option
  • Last around 15 to 20 years
  • Limited patterns
  • Vast color options
  • Basic protection, may not handle extreme weather well
  • Easy and cost-effective installation

Premium Roofing Shingles:

  • Have a more expensive upfront cost
  • The average lifespan for designer shingles: 40 years; the maximum lifespan for natural shingles: over 70 years
  • Plenty of colors and patterns, offering a natural, luxurious look
  • Low-maintenance efforts and costs
  • Requires a brand-certified contractor for installation to maintain product warranties

So, which do you need, regular or premium shingles?

Assessing Your Needs: Which Roofing Shingle Is Best For Your Home?

You need to choose a roofing shingle that aligns with the local climate, type of residence, and desired aesthetics. 

Why Choose Standard Shingles?

  • Budget-Friendly: Regular shingles emerge as the wise choice for homeowners seeking a practical and economical solution.
  • Temporary Residences: For owners of vacation homes, bed-and-breakfasts, or similar properties, where simplicity is preferred over aesthetics and durability, budget-friendly shingles can be a suitable choice.
  • Rentals: Managing rental properties may require affordable roofing solutions without compromising functionality, making standard shingles a pragmatic option.
  • Financial Considerations: Homeowners mindful of budgetary constraints can rely on affordable shingles for a stable, protective roofing solution.

Who Needs Premium Shingles?

  • Investing in the Future: Families planning to reside in their current house for decades to come will benefit from premium shingles.
  • Weathering the Storm: Homes in areas prone to severe weather conditions will last longer with the strength of high-end shingles.
  • Aesthetic Aficionados: Homeowners who want expensive or natural exterior design will find their creative aspirations fulfilled by the vast selection of premium or natural shingles.
  • Eco-Conscious Homeowners: Embracing a sustainable lifestyle, eco-conscious homeowners will appreciate the energy-efficient features that come with premium shingles.

If you need help selecting the best type of roof in PA, we’re here to help you.

Making a Call: Get Free Roofing Advice From Our Experts

For many years, our team at McClellands Contracting and Roofing has been helping homeowners build the perfect home. As an expert in the field, I advise that your decision between budget-friendly and premium roofing shingles should be based on the above-mentioned parameters. Consider your budget, long-term plans, climate, and aesthetic inclinations as you take the first step to getting a new roof. The right way to get started is to seek guidance from roofing professionals, who offer personalized recommendations tailored to your unique requirements. Remember, a wise investment in quality roofing will not only upgrade your home’s value but also stand as a stronghold of protection for your family, providing safety and comfort for years to come.

For a free consultation and estimate on shingle roof replacement in Pittsburgh, call us at (412) 353-5660. Our experts are always ready to answer all your questions.


A. Slate shingles and tiles are the most expensive roofing material. On average, installing slate costs between $10 to $15 per square foot. As for asphalt shingles, the most expensive options are Belmont® by CertainTeed and Windsor® Scotchgard™ by Malarkey.

A. Premium shingles can be worth it, depending on your needs and circumstances. They are more durable, aesthetically pleasing, energy-efficient, and have a longer lifespan than standard shingles. Consider your budget, local weather conditions, and future plans before deciding. Consult with a roofing contractor for personalized advice.

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