What are Roofing Shingles
Roof shingles on a residential home or commercial multi-family building are a roof covering consisting of individual overlapping elements. These elements are typically flat, rectangular shapes laid in courses from the bottom edge of the roof up, with each successive course overlapping the joints below. Shingles are made of various materials such as wood, slate, flagstone, cedar, metal, plastic, and composite material such as asphalt shingles. Asphalt shingles are the most commonly used. The two styles are Architectural or dimensional shingles and older style“3-tab” shingles. Architectural shingles are most commonly used due to the cost, how they look and perform over time.
- 89% of homes have an asphalt shingle roof.
- 5% of homes have a slate roof.
- 1% of homes have a ceramic tile roof.
- 80% of Re-roof installations are with asphalt shingles.
- 94% of homeowners rated “cost-effective products” as one of the most important characteristics of roofing materials, which is why they frequently settle on asphalt shingles.
- 88% of homeowners rated “cost-effective installation” as one of the most important characteristics of roofing material.
Asphalt shingles are economical to produce, relatively easy to install and widely available, asphalt shingles are today’s most popular roofing material—not only because they’re less costly than wood, wood shakes, tile, metal or slate, but also because their guaranteed lifespan pits them favorably against competitors. At least a dozen major U.S. and Canadian building-product manufacturers market asphalt shingles, including GAF, CertainTeed, and Owens Corning. Asphalt shingles come in two varieties: Fiberglass and organic.
Fiberglass shingles are made of a woven fiberglass base mat, covered with a waterproof asphalt coating, and topped with ceramic granules that shield the product from harmful UV rays. Because of the composition of the fiberglass mat, less asphalt is needed to give the shingles their durability and strength. The result is a lighter weight and thinner roofing material. Fiberglass shingles also have a higher fire rating than organic varieties and generally carry a longer warranty. Fiberglass shingles were developed in the 1980s, but have quickly become the roofing material of choice for most homeowners and contractors today.
The traditional organic mat-based shingles are made from a recycled layer of felt paper, asphalt-saturated for waterproofing, and coated with adhesive asphalt into which the ceramic granules are embedded. With 40 percent more asphalt than their fiberglass counterparts, the traditional organic mat-based shingles are heavier, thicker and more costly. While organic shingles are considered more rugged and more flexible, they are also more absorbent and can warp over time. The additional asphalt content also makes them less environmentally friendly.
Types of Asphalt Shingles
Regardless of whether they are fiberglass- or organic-based, asphalt shingles generally measure 12 by 36 inches and are commonly manufactured in two different types:
Three Tab Asphalt Shingles are distinguished by cutouts, i.e. tabs made along their long lower edge. The result, says Joan Crowe, a technical services director for the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA), is that “each shingle looks like three separate pieces when installed, but it’s only one.” Three-tab shingles have been around a long time and are still the most economical and most popular shingle today.
Architectural Asphalt Shingles contain no cutouts, but their lower portions are laminated with an additional asphalt layer. This creates the contoured, dimensional look that gives them their name. Asphalt sealant bonds the layers, reinforcing the shingles’ waterproof capability. Though durable, architectural shingles are not recommended for low-sloping roofs, which are more vulnerable to wind-driven rain.
Style and Color of Asphalt Shingles
Installed properly, asphalt shingles are no longer easy to identify. Why? Some are made to convincingly mimic the look of slate, wood shakes or even tile. And shingle shapes can be similarly varied; consider the scalloped-edge tabs that complement Victorian architecture or the square, slate-like shingles perfectly suited for Colonial homes.
Color choices are more varied than ever, depending on your taste and the style of your home. You’ll generally find tones ranging from pale gray to black, beige, reddish and medium brown to dark brown, plus shades of blue and blue-green. There are also variegated looks achieved by mixing light and dark tones skillfully, plus weathered looks designed to make a new roof-look suit a vintage house. There are interactive tools online that can help you “try on” colors and styles to find the asphalt shingle best suited to your home or business.
Aesthetically, a new roof gives your home instant curb appeal and helps ensure an overall good first impression. A new roof with an attractive and distinctive appearance can separate your home from others. This is especially important if and when you decide to sell your property because a new roof can be a very attractive feature for prospective home buyers. Remodeling Magazine reports that return on investment for a roof replacement averages 53.4% for a full replacement and 61.7% for a minor rehab. If your roof needs work, call TSCR for a free onsite inspection and estimate at 615-784-4628. We can then provide you with options tailored to your specific roof and needs.