Choosing the right shingle for your home or building is an investment. It is an investment into the aesthetic value of your home, but more importantly, it is an important factor in protecting your home and everything in it from the volatile weather elements.
A 3-tab shingle is the most basic shingle available. A typical 3-tab shingle is a flat, 2-dimensional mat, made of fiberglass, that is coated in asphalt and covered in ceramic granules to create different color blends. They don’t look as nice as architectural shingles, because they are 2-dimensional, while architectural shingles are 3-dimensional.
3-tab shingles are lower in quality; they will blow off a lot sooner than other economical options, which makes these shingles a more costly maintenance item in the long run. Many people are surprised to learn that 3-tab shingle are actually similar in price to their higher quality competitor, architectural shingles. The average homeowner saves only about $100 overall when installing 3-tab shingles on their roof.
Part of the reason for this is that it is easier to install an architectural shingle properly. Although it is more difficult to install a 3-tab shingle, they have less holding power as the nails penetrate only one thickness of shingle compared to the architectural shingle which has a double thickness or laminate at the nail line.
Architectural Shingles are heavier than traditional roofing materials, without the need of added roof support. They consist of a thick, heavy mat made of fiberglass or organic materials, then coated on the underside with a special material, with the top layer covered in colored granules. Because of the 3-dimensional nature of these shingles, manufacturers can create intricate color blends that will better compliment your color pallet.
If you are selling your house, architectural shingles are usually the best option. An economical architectural shingle will increase your homes curb appeal by a large amount, making it worth more than just the $100 more you will spend vs. a 3-tab shingle.
To give a bit of a history on the evolution of these shingles, a shingle that held a 25 year warranty a decade ago soon increased to hold a 30 year limited warranty without any increase in quality. Recently, and again without any quality increase, these same shingles have moved from a 30 year warranty to a lifetime limited warranty. One brand even decreased the amount of asphalt in their shingle as they increased their warranty period. Basically, this means that these shingles that were initially 30 year shingles will still last essentially 30 years. If there is a manufacturing defect that causes them to wear out, the manufacturer will cover the costs of the shingles, but not the labor required to replace them (unless an upgrade warranty is purchased at the time of application). Keep this in mind as you select an architectural shingle.
Asphalt Designer Shingles
Designer shingles are asphalt shingles constructed to mimic real slate or wood shake shingles. They are very thick and heavy, with an elegant and intricate look. These shingles are about double the cost of architectural shingles. They typically cost about $3,000 more to install on an average house. However, they cost less to install than real slate or shake shingles.
These shingles look best on steep sloped roofs, where you can actually see the shingle and the pattern well. On a lower sloped roof, you end up only seeing the butt-end of the shingle which can be unattractive and disappointing.
If you like the look of designer shingles enough to spend the extra money, it is a great way to go because they are stout and last longer. Because they are so heavy, they can withstand winds up to 100-130 mph. Their thickness, proportions and natural color blends can give your home a perfect touch, increasing your curb appeal by up to 40%. People who invest are typically very happy with the end results.
Traditional or Natural Roofing Materials
Slate, Wood Shakes Clay and Concrete Tiles have all been used successfully as roofing products for many years. These can be a beautiful addition to your home. These roofs have a majestic, authentic air, and in some cases they are much more durable. However, these roofing materials are very expensive and may not be right for every home.
Slate roofs are the most versatile natural roofing material. GAF offers a slate roofing material that is thinner and lighter for your home, although it still offers the protection and look of traditional slate roofs. These roofs are very expensive, but are known to last for hundreds of years.
Clay and concrete tile roofs are very durable, but are also very heavy. Typically, it is best to plan to install these roofing materials as you are building the home, so extra support can be built into the roof structure. Tile roofs are popular in warm, dry areas because of their energy efficient properties.
Wood shake roofs have a look that some people love and some people don’t care much for. This is a very traditional roofing choice, dating back hundreds of years. The problem with wood shakes is that they require vigorous and consistent upkeep and typically are installed without a warranty period. Most authentic wood shake roofs last 25-30 years.