Asphalt shingles offer distinctive styles, a range of price-points, and are very versatile. They are excellent in reasonably stable temperatures like the Northwest and Northeast and hold up well in rain and snow.
Asphalt shingles are known by many names which are often used interchangeably, but may have nuanced meanings. Here are some of them:
- Architectural Shingles: premium asphalt shingles that are much thicker and come in more styles
- Asphalt Shingles: layers of asphalt with a fiberglass reinforcement and a coating of colored granules
- Composite Shingles: not asphalt, made of rubber or synthetics like plastic, polymer, etc.
- Dimensional Shingles: Multilayered shingles with greater style and durability
- Designer Shingles: Thicker long-lasting shingles in more interesting shapes and colors
- Strip Shingles: 3-tab asphalt roofing material
- 3-Tab: a specific type of single-layer shingle with straight edges and evenly-spaced cuts that create the appearance of three tabs per strip
Options for Asphalt Shingles
Quality shingles are great but upgrades can bring additional benefits.
- Energy Star qualified asphalt shingles may reduce your HVAC bills (IRS credits come and go, check with your tax professional)
- Some types resist the algae that looks like dark stains on older roofs
- Class A fire resistance may earn you a discount on your homeowners insurance
- Class 3 or Class 4 levels of impact resistance may also earn you a discount on your homeowners insurance
- One to three layers gives you more style and durability choices
- A few premium colors have a surcharge but give you a distinctive look
Roofing Costs for Asphalt Shingles
Compared to other roofing materials asphalt shingles are very affordable. 3-tab shingles are incredibly reasonable, but rarely make it to their second decade. Quality Designer or Architectural shingles are modestly priced and can last decades with basic care.
They also have lower labor costs than many other roofing systems because they install quickly. A standard home can be completed by an experienced crew in a day or so, not counting tear-off of the old roof.
How to Maintain Asphalt Shingles
Asphalt shingles are very low maintenance; primarily keep them clear and check for damage periodically. Avoid friction like walking on them or rubbing from nearby tree branches.