If your shingle roof is nearing the end of its life, then you're probably thinking of replacing it. However, shingle roofing has come a long way since 20 or 30 years ago when you probably had the last roof put on your home. Today, asphalt shingles come in an array of types of styles. There are even types with special qualities to suit the unique climate or challenges in your area. Here's a look at some of the newer shingle options to explore for your roof replacement.

Architectural Shingles

Standard, three-tab shingles were the go-to option for many years. But today, more and more homeowners are opting for architectural shingles instead. These shingles have a more varied look; the sizes of the tabs vary to give the roof extra "texture." What's more important, however, is the longer roof expectancy of architectural shingles. While standard 3-tab shingles usually last 20 years, architectural shingles have an average life expectancy of 30 years.

Algae Resistance

Having a tree overhang your roof used to be a death sentence. The tree shades the roof, which keeps it moist for much longer after a rain storm. This not only accelerates the deterioration of the shingles, but it also leads to algae growth. New, algae-resistant shingles help with this problem. They have granules of zinc or copper integrated into their structure; these metals keep algae from growing. While your roof may still deteriorate a bit more quickly if shaded by a tree, the problem will be less pronounced (and you'll also avoid those black algae stains) if you choose algae-resistant shingles.

Reflective Qualities

The more heat your roof absorbs from the sunlight, the higher your AC bills will be in the summer. Especially if you live in an area with hot summers, you should consider reflective shingles for your roof. These look very similar to standard asphalt shingles, but they're a bit more metallic looking. They either have metal particles incorporated into them, or they have been sprayed with a reflective "paint." As a result, they reflect more sunlight rather than absorbing it, so your home stays cooler.

Light-Colored Shingles

If you don't want to go all of the way and invest in reflective shingles, you can still lower your summer energy bills somewhat by choosing lighter-colored shingles. Light-colored shingles have become quite popular; black and brown are no longer your only shingle options. Just as you'll stay cooler in a white shirt than in a black one in the summer, your home will stay cooler with a lighter-colored roof. Choose a light cedar brown if you still want your home to have a pretty conventional look. White, tan, or pale green shingles will keep your home even cooler, but will look a bit less conventional. 

Wind-Resistant Shingles

Have you had a lot of problems with your shingles blowing off in big storms? Maybe wind is a common issue in your area, so most homeowners opt for tile roofs. Wind-resistant shingles are becoming more popular, and they're a great way to maintain a conventional architectural look without having to call for roof repairs every month. The shingles are made with heavier materials than standard shingles, and they also use better adhesive to keep them in place. Make sure you have them installed by an experienced roofer, as proper installation makes all the difference in keeping them on your home during a storm.

Shopping for shingles is a bit more complicated than it used to be, thanks to the abundance of new options. Consider the shingle options above to ensure you choose the style that's best for you, and talk to a roofing company like Acoma Roofing, Inc. for more advice.