Asphalt shingles are a popular roofing material choice that comes with many benefits. They are a lightweight, durable, and affordable option. These shingles also come in a range of colours, so you never have to compromise on your vision. So, what do you need to know about asphalt shingles and what makes them the most popular go-to shingles for residential roofing?
What Are Asphalt Shingles Made Of?
As the name suggests, asphalt shingles are composed of asphalt. However, there are more parts to these shingles, and it’s essential to know how this affects its structure! Asphalt shingles typically are made from four things:
- Fiberglass Mat: This Holds The Asphalt, Is Lightweight & Resists Tearing
- Asphalt: Good For Its Weight, Toughness & Ability To Resist Moisture
- Mineral Granules: The Visible Part Of The Shingle Is Coated With Mineral Granules, This Also Provides The Colour
- Sealant Strips: These Are Layers Of Raw Asphalt At The Top Of Shingles That Are Covered By The Next Layer, Also Bonds The Shingles Together
Asphalt Shingles & The Different Types
There are three types of asphalt shingles, and the kind of shingle affects more than just the appearance of your roof. Asphalt shingles typically come in three-tab shingles, also known as 3-tab shingles and strip shingles, dimensional or architectural shingles, and premium or luxury shingles. Shingles also come in more specialized types for specific weather conditions, such as:
- Impact-Resistant Shingles
- Wind-Resistant Shingles
- Solar-Resistant Shingles
- Stain-Resistant Shingles
Typically, the three regular types of asphalt shingles should suffice for your roof, but depending on where you live, it might be worth it to look at one of these other options.
For decades three-tab shingles were the only choice for asphalt shingles. Appearance-wise they’re designed to look like slate tiles and are flat and lightweight. Three-tab shingles are an extremely cost-effective option for asphalt shingles, and due to the flat design, it’s harder for the wind to pull at the edges and lift them. However, because they’re so lightweight, if the wind does happen to get under them, it’s likely the shingles will tear.
A significant downside to the three-tab shingles is that they also typically do not last that long. The oils in the asphalt get washed away or dry up, causing the shingles to get weak and brittle. The thicker the shingle is, the less likely this is to happen.
Dimensional shingles are also known as architectural or laminate shingles. They feature a thicker base of fibreglass and has pronounced notches. This creates a thicker look, which people generally like on their roof. Dimensional shingles are more expensive than three-tab shingles, but they are well worth the cost. They have a longer life span than three-tab shingles and are the better choice for high-wind areas.
Premium, or luxury, shingles are very thick and heavy shingles. The look of these shingles imitates cedar or genuine slate roofs. Premium shingles, as the name suggests, come with a premium price tag. This is an expensive option when it comes to asphalt shingles.
Benefits Of Asphalt Shingles
Asphalt shingles can have many positive benefits, including:
- Cost-Effective & Affordable Option
- Good Value Considering Durability Versus Cost
- Variety Of Colour & Style Options
- Special Shingle Options For Condition Specific Environments
- Lightweight & Won’t Put Extra Strain On Your Roof Structure
- Requires Minimal Maintenance
- Can Handle Extreme Weather Conditions
Drawbacks Of Asphalt Shingles
While there are many benefits to choosing asphalt shingles, there are also drawbacks like:
- It Isn’t As Durable As Other Options, Such As Clay Or Concrete Tiles
- If Your Asphalt Shingles Are Improperly Installed, You Could Experience Water Damage & Leaks
- Warranties For Asphalt Shingles Can Sometimes Be Strict & Easily Voided By Improper Installation
With So Much Versatility, How Do I Choose?
When choosing asphalt shingles, you will never be pressed for choice. You will be able to choose from a large variety of colours, and like mentioned above, different types of asphalt shingles have different looks. Matching your roof to the rest of your house’s exterior should be a breeze! So, how do you choose?
Matching Colour To Your House
Your roof is a significant portion of your house’s exterior, so it deserves to be chosen carefully! Choosing the colour of your shingles affects more than just the aesthetics of your home. Lighter coloured shingles can sometimes help keep the interior of your home cooler.
Traditionally people like to pick shingles in the brown and black range of colours, but recently there has been a surge of lighter grey and blue-shingled homes. Additionally, you don’t have to commit to one solid colour for your entire roof! Many options incorporate a blend of colours or a mix of coloured shingles to create a stylish effect. Picking a combination of colours can add dimensionality and depth to your roof, and stop it from looking too flat! Iko has a great resource, including a chart to help you match your house colour to your roof.
No matter what style or colour of shingles you choose for your home, it’s ultimately essential to select a roofer that will properly install your shingles. Without proper installation, you’re likely to void your warranty and end up with roof damage later on.