By Stephani L. Miller. There's a lot more to roofing than simply covering a roof: It has become one more opportunity to make a design statement -- and the new favorite material of choice for making such a statement is the laminated shingle.

"Laminated shingles made their mark in the '90s," says Mike Loughery, communications manager for CertainTeed Corp., "and now represent about 50% of installed roofing shingles." According to Loughery, laminated shingles are quickly replacing three-tab shingles in popularity.

Laminated shingles offer a variety of design and style options, from wood shake to slate tile, and sidestep the installation and maintenance difficulties of these other materials, Loughery says. Plus, they offer a 3-D, custom appearance while maintaining a cohesive look with other homes in a neighborhood.

"They offer a completely different look, depth, and dimension," including shadowlines and color blending, says Loughery, "creating a roof that is more attractive than it used to be."

The Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association (ARMA) reports that in 1980, laminated shingles represented only 5.3% of the shipped shingle market. In 1996, that number had increased to 20%, and in 2002, that share leaped to 54%.

Courtesy Tasman Roofing

"It's the commitment of the asphalt shingle manufacturers to meet the needs of consumers, and I think that is what they have done," says Russ Snyder, executive vice president for ARMA. "Many manufacturers have done a nice job of offering a wide variety of color choices that can be applied to a wide variety of design applications," says Brian Chambers, product manager of residential roofing for Owens Corning. And, says Chambers, "from a contractor standpoint, they are very easy to install and apply."

Tasman Roofing. Manufactured of a corrosion-resistant, aluminum-zinc alloy coated steel, the Decra Shingle Plus profile features an increased edge thickness for the appearance of heavy-cut wood shingles. Available in five colors, the shingles can be installed with or without battens and weigh 11/2 pounds per square foot installed. A 120 mph wind warranty is included. (877) 463-3272.

Custom-Bilt Metals. The Titan line of metal roofing is available in several looks: traditional shake, modern tile, and smooth SnapLock Panels and Standing Seam Panels (shown here). Ultra-Cool coatings, which meet the EPA's Energy Star specs for cool roofs, are now available on the panels and help reduce heat absorption. The coating is available in 24 colors. (800) 826-7813.

Courtesy MonierLifetile

MonierLifetile. The Barcelona one-piece "S" tile provides the look of a two-piece tile for an Old World Spanish-style roof. An optional cap can be installed as a decorative tile to enhance the two-piece tile appearance. The tiles are available in several colors and blends and feature a shadowline on the center. (949) 756-1605.

TAMKO. Heritage XL laminated shingles provide a wider-cut appearance in five new colors: Canyon Brown, Desert Sunrise, Slatetone Grey, Black Forest, and Weathered Stone. A 10-year algae-relief limited warranty is included, and the shingles exceed ASTM D 3462 strength specifications. (800) 218-2656.

Courtesy Owens Corning

Owens Corning. Offering the look of slate with the durability of an asphalt shingle, the Berkshire Collection Shingles and matching hip and ridge accessories are available in 12 natural-slate colors. The shingles come with a 15-year algae-resistance warranty and a 110 mph wind warranty. The maker also offers the Berkshire Roofing System, complete with hip and ridge shingles, VentSure Ventilation Products, and Weatherlock Waterproofing Underlayment. (800) 438-7465.

Courtesy Slate/Select

Slate/Select. Slate/Select fiber cement roofing provides the appearance of natural slate but is made of a proprietary cement matrix with non-alkaline glass fibers. Available in a variety of colors, blends, and antiqued shades, the roofing is colored integrally with UV-resistant pigments to resist fading and is pre-notched for installation. (972) 276-2000.

CertainTeed. Color Companion Products is a new approach to matching low- and steep-slope roofing products. Available colors are Burnt Sienna, Colonial Slate, Heather Blend, Resawn Shake, Driftwood, Weathered Wood, Moire Black, Hunter Green, and White. (800) 233-8990.

Courtesy Georgia-Pacific

Georgia-Pacific. Laminated fiberglass Summit Series Architectural Shingles provide the appearance of wood shakes in a wide variety of colors, as well as in fungus- and algae-resistant versions. The shingles are available in two weights and are sized for re-roofing over most wood shingles. Other features include built-in nailing lines and a shingle shadowline with a textured appearance. (800) 284-5347.

Courtesy EcoStar

EcoStar. Manufactured of recycled rubber and plastic, Seneca Cedar Shake Tiles offer the traditional appearance of wood shakes in a lightweight alternative, says the maker. The tiles are available in nine colors and in random widths of 6, 9, and 12 inches. They also come with a 100 mph wind resistance warranty and feature a Class 4 Impact Resistance. (800) 211-7170.