Classic vs. Luxury Shingles

By HomeAdvisor

Published October 25, 2021

The exterior of a house with luxury shingles
Robert Kirk/E+ via Getty Images

Choosing between classic and luxury shingles can be tricky when you’re ready to upgrade your roof. Is it worth it to invest in classic shingles, or should you opt for premium shingles? Aside from cost, there are other differences between these different types of shingles.

Classic shingles, like cedar and slate, can cost more and tend to wear down over time but offer a high-end look and can last up to 200 years with proper care. Luxury shingles mimic the look of classic shingles for a lower price tag, but they may only last a few decades.

On This Page:

  1. What’s the Difference Between Classic Shingles and Luxury Shingles?
  2. Classic vs. Luxury Shingles
    1. Appearance and Variety
    2. Cost
    3. Maintenance
    4. DIY Ease
    5. Durability
    6. Repair
    7. Environmental Friendliness
    8. ROI
  3. Which Is Best for Your Home?

What’s the Difference Between Classic Shingles and Luxury Shingles?

Classic shingles include high-end options such as cedar and slate made from natural materials.

Despite the name, luxury shingles are actually less expensive than classic shingles. Also known as premium shingles, an asphalt blend composes luxury shingles. These shingles look similar to classic shingles, but they cost less and require less maintenance. On the other hand, premium shingles may not last as long as classic shingles.

Classic vs. Luxury Shingles

A beautiful 1920s house with cedar shingles in the roof
Image Source –

Both classic and luxury shingles each have their benefits and drawbacks. While classic shingles may last several decades, the natural materials will wear down over time. Luxury shingles can last a few decades with minimal maintenance and still look great, but they won’t offer classic shingles’ high-end look.

Appearance and Variety

A roof’s appearance is subjective, and luckily both classic and luxury shingles offer a range of attractive options that will boost your curb appeal.

Classic Shingles
Pros Cons
  • High-end appearance
  • Natural materials
  • Boost architectural design
  • Can show signs of wear quickly
  • Less variety
Luxury Shingles
Pros Cons
  • Mimic the look of classic shingles
  • Maintain their appearance with minimal care
  • Wide array of colors and cuts
  • Not as high-end in looks as classic shingles


Price is one of the most notable differences between classic vs. luxury shingles. Classic shingles are a steeper investment, while luxury shingles tend to be less expensive. Both options are more than the cost to install asphalt shingles, but classic and luxury shingles are also more durable than standard asphalt shingles.

Classic Shingles
Pros Cons
  • Wood shingles cost about $5 to $10 per square foot
  • Slate roofs can cost $15 to $25 per square foot
Luxury Shingles
Pros Cons
  • Less expensive at about $4 to $6 per square foot
  • Lower cost but need replacement more often at every 20 to 30 years


If you don’t want to hire roofers to repair your shingles or climb up on the roof frequently for inspections, you may want to opt for low-maintenance shingles. But if you’re willing to put in a little elbow grease and invest roofers’ help for shingles that require more maintenance, the payoff is a long-lasting roof.

Classic Shingles
Pros Cons
  • With proper maintenance, classic shingles may last 40 to 200 years
  • Require more maintenance, including inspections, sweeping debris, and re-cementing loose shingles
Luxury Shingles
Pros Cons
  • Require less maintenance
  • Withstand high winds, rain, snowfall, and heat better than classic shingles
  • Although they require less maintenance, luxury shingles may only last 20 to 30 years

DIY Ease

Installing shingles is a dangerous job, and roofing accidents are some of the most common DIY-related injuries. Still, if you have some DIY experience under your belt, you may consider installing your shingles. Keep in mind that both classic and luxury shingles are heavier than standard asphalt shingles, so they can be more difficult to install, even for skilled roofers. For both classic and luxury shingles, it’s best to hire a local roofer for installation.

Classic Shingles
Pros Cons
  • Will last several decades if installed properly
  • Slate shingles are heavy and hard to install
  • Wood shingles require time to acclimate and can be difficult to align
Luxury Shingles
Pros Cons
  • Will withstand extreme weather if installed properly
  • Luxury shingles, like slate, are heavy and thick, making them hard to install


When it comes to the roof over your head, you want durability. Some shingles are more prone to rot, mold, or damage from high winds, while other options are strong enough to withstand extreme weather and even fire.

Classic Shingles
Pros Cons
  • Treatments can improve wood shingles’ durability
  • Slate shingles are fire-resistant
  • Wood shingles are susceptible to rot, pest damage, and fire damage
  • Slate shingles can deteriorate and loosen over time
Luxury Shingles
Pros Cons
  • Resistant to high winds, snow, rain, and hail
  • May deflect UV rays to prevent fading or warping
  • Last up to 30 years compared to classic shingles’ 40 to 200 years


Detail of a worker’s hands in gloves installing new roof shingles
brizmaker –

Strong winds, heavy rains, harsh sunlight, high heat, hail, rot, or termites can damage roofs. If you stay on top of maintenance and repairs, such as sealing a roof, you can lengthen the life of your roof, no matter what shingles you choose.

Classic Shingles
Pros Cons
  • Keeping up with repairs can help classic shingles last for several decades
  • More easily damaged than luxury shingles, so may require more frequent repairs
Luxury Shingles
Pros Cons
  • Infrequently requires repairs
  • Requires fewer repairs, but replacements are typically necessary every 20 to 30 years

Environmental Friendliness

It’s more important than ever to make sure we build our homes or upgrade them with eco-friendly materials. Natural or non-toxic materials are safer for families to be around and better for the planet.

Classic Shingles
Pros Cons
  • Made from natural materials
  • Can often recycle after their lifespan
  • Untreated wood shingles are biodegradable
  • Special treatments or preservatives to improve durability of wood shingles may contain toxins
  • Mining slate and other stones are unsustainable
Luxury Shingles
Pros Cons
  • Can be solar reflective for energy savings
  • Often made with recycled materials
  • Made in part with petroleum products


Ultimately, you should keep ROI on your mind for any work you do on your home, especially if you hope to sell it someday. Investing in premium materials may feel costly upfront, but high-end materials often come with an improved ROI.

Classic Shingles
Pros Cons
  • Slate roofs have about 80% – 85% ROI
  • Cedar shingles have about 77% – 80% ROI
  • Costs more upfront

Which Is Best for Your Home?

Skylight windows on a roof with luxury shingles
bildlove –

As you can see, many factors will help you determine whether to go with classic or luxury shingles for your home. Luxury shingles cost less and are highly durable, but they aren’t as eco-friendly or long-lasting. Classic shingles offer a premium look at a premium price, and while they require a lot more upkeep, they can last several decades or even centuries.

If you have a flat roof, you’ll need to hire a local flat roof specialist. Any roof with a slope less than 2:12 can’t take shingles, as they won’t drain rainwater properly.

But for small homes, first homes, or investment properties, you might opt for the less expensive and more durable luxury shingles. If you’re restoring a Victorian-era home or building a home you’d like to keep in your family for generations, maybe you’ll opt for longer-lasting classic shingles. Either way, it’s hard to go wrong with each of these shingle options.

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