AT A GLANCE
- Cost: $
- Lifespan: 20-50 years
- Wind Resistance: 60-130 mph
- Composition: Asphalt coated fiberglass covered with crushed stone
- Advantages: Economical. Fire-resistant.
- Disadvantages: Shorter lifecycle. Limited protection from hail. Susceptible to algae staining. Not environmentally friendly.
Asphalt shingles are the most common type of roofing material in the United States. The shingles can be expected to last 15-30 years depending on a variety of factors, including the slope of the roof, exposure to the sun, and climate conditions. Shingles in warm Southern climates like North Carolina generally do not last as long as they do in other parts of the country.
TYPES OF SHINGLES
- Three-Tab Shingles: These shingles, which feature cutouts that create the appearance of three smaller shingles, provide double coverage due to the overlap from one shingle to the next. These shingles are typically the most economical type of asphalt shingle. Manufacturer warranties typically last 20-25 years.
- Architectural Shingles: These shingles, which replicate the random appearance of cedar shakes, are the most popular shingle used in new roof construction. These shingles are created by laminating a top shingle with cutouts to a half shingle to create a dimensional pattern on the roof — the extra thickness and random design is more visually appealing and can hide imperfections in the roof decking that might be seen with a three-tab shingle. With three to four layers of protection, architectural shingles also prevent joints between the tabs from being exposed to the weather. Examples of architectural shingles include GAF-Elk’s Timberline Shingle, Owens Corning’s Oakridge Shingle, and Certainteed’s Landmark Shingle. Manufacturer warranties typically last 30-50 years depending on material thickness.
- Designer Shingles: These shingles, which use modern laminating technology that provides increased thickness and additional protection from the elements, are designed to replicate the look and thickness of real slate and cedar shake roofing materials. Due to the increased weight, some structures cannot support designer shingles. Examples of designer shingles include GAF-Elk’s Grand Canyon Shingle and Certainteed’s Grand Manor Shingle. Manufacturer warranties typically exceed 50 years. (Note: With designer shingles, it is important to install heavier gauge flashing materials and accessories designed to last as long as the shingles.)