When researching and making a decision on what type of roof you want to install for your new home or home renovation, you are going to encounter an overwhelming amount of information that can sometimes make the process more difficult than it should be. If you have already spent some time looking around for a new or replacement roof, then it is likely that you have come across the asphalt shingle option.
Asphalt shingles are by far one of the most common roofing materials that are used in homes all across North America, and there are several reasons why. If you are still unsure what type of roof you want to install, or just want to learn a bit more about the option of using asphalt shingles, then you should be aware of a few things.
Asphalt Shingle Basics
The first thing that you want to keep in mind when considering asphalt shingles is whether or not it is even the right option for your roof. Asphalt is a material used both in roofing and paving — the majority of streets in North America use asphalt.
Asphalt is a form of petroleum, which is a naturally forming liquid that is found underneath the Earth’s surface. It is made up of hydrocarbons and other organic compounds and is also used to produce various types of fuel, like the gasoline that powers most of our cars.
For roofing, asphalt is layered on top of a mat, or shingle, and then coated with mineral granules. The inner core of each shingle is made of fiberglass, and the mineral coating is added on the top to serve as a protective layer that shields the shingle from ultraviolet radiation, fire, and exposure to other environmental conditions. Outside of these basic characteristics, asphalt shingles can come in different forms, each with its own pros and cons.
Types of Asphalt Shingles
With a basic understanding of the material being used in your new roof, it is now time to look into the different types of asphalt shingles you can add to your home.
- Three-Tab Shingles
- Three-tab asphalt shingles used to be a very common option on the market, but in recent years their popularity has begun to decline. They consist of single-layer, individual tabs that have an average lifespan of around 20 years. These lightweight shingles look flat when applied to your rooftop, and only come in one size and shape for your roof’s set. This gives 3-tab asphalt shingles a more standardized look. They are on the cheaper end of the spectrum, so if you are on a budget, this could be a good option for you.
- Dimensional Shingles
- Dimensional shingles have more character to them. They are multi-layered and vary in size and shape. When added to your roof, they have a three-dimensional quality that makes them stand out and have more of a presence. The different sizes and shapes can be used to create very unique roofing designs.The properties of dimensional shingles make them much more durable and heavier than 3-tab shingles, which may explain their rise in popularity. This leads to an increased longevity—dimensional shingles should last no less than 30 years in typical conditions. Although they cost more than 3-tab shingles do, they are still significantly less expensive than wood, tile, or metal roofing materials.
- Premium Shingles
- Premium or luxury shingles are highly customized asphalt shingles that can take on the appearance of many other materials like stone or wood. This is accomplished through the addition of a laminated layer, which can sometimes bring added benefits like extra reflectivity or insulation. GAF Timberline and BP Mystique asphalt shingles are two good examples of products that would fall in this classification.Luxury shingles share all of the qualities of dimensional shingles, however they are treated in different ways that lead to greater aesthetic appeal. As you can expect, these are the most expensive type of asphalt shingle, yet they still are much cheaper than the non-asphalt alternatives.
Pros and Cons of Asphalt Shingles
Within the asphalt shingle category itself, there are a number of options. Some of the pros and cons of each type of shingle are outlined above, but how do asphalt shingles in general compare with other roofing materials?
As we touched on above, asphalt shingles are by far the cheapest option for your rooftop. Even when you go with one of the higher-end shingles, you are still going to spend about 50% less than you would on other roofing options.
The cost for a new roof can be broken down to the price per square foot. On average, an asphalt roof will cost you anywhere from $2.50 to $5.00 per square foot, or $250-500 per square (10-by-10 foot area of roof). This correlates to a full cost of anywhere from $6,000 to $12,000 based on an average US single-family household of 2400 square feet.
On the other hand, a metal roof ranges from $5.50 to upwards of $10.00 or more per sq. foot. Tile and stone roofs can cost even more than that. So, why are these roof types so much more expensive than asphalt shingles?
The answer has to do with several factors, including the generally wider availability of asphalt, as well as a simpler manufacturing and installation process. Metal, tile, and stone roofing all require a high level of expertise to be properly installed. Also, these materials are much more durable and practical for your home if money is not much of an issue.
Lastly, the appearance of an asphalt shingle, even of a luxury shingle, is still noticeable to some eyes. Ultimately, the cost is perhaps the most influential factor in the purchase of asphalt shingles for most individuals.
At Roofr, we have plenty of experience installing roofs of all types, and asphalt shingles happen to be one of the most popular. Our experienced roofing experts have helped hundreds of clients balance cost with aesthetics in their search for the perfect asphalt shingles.
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