There are two main types of roofing materials used on homes and buildings in North America. If you look hard enough, you will find a home here and there that is roofed with a zinc metal sheet or clay tiles but, in general, most houses and businesses use either shingles or shakes. Both serve the same purpose and the main difference lies with the materials they are made of. Shingles refer to overlapping roof tiles that are made of slate, asphalt, polymer resins, or other materials. Shakes can be described as a type of wooden shingle that are made from split logs.
Both shingles and shakes make for excellent roofing tiles but, once again, the quality of the roof is more a function of the materials that the tiles are made of. Asphalt shingles are cheaper but tend to be less resistant to wind, water damage, and even fire (although more flammable paper-based shingles are being phased out and replaced with more fire resistant fiberglass-based shingles). Cedar shakes look beautiful and are naturally resistant to insects but have a low resistance to fire. On the other hand, both imitation slate shingles and fake cedar shakes made with resins have the highest fire resistance rating, are resistant to winds up to 110 mph, and come in a variety of beautiful color blends.