Although shingles are the most popular roofing material in the United States, it doesn’t mean they are all the same. Today’s manufacturers have developed a wide palette of shingles to meet all construction and color requirements.
Prior to investing in shingles as your roofing material, it’s important to gather key information such as:
Building codes. If you live in a neighborhood with a homeowner’s association, be sure to check with them on approved roofing materials. In addition, some communities restrict the number of shingle layers they allow on a home before requiring a complete tear-off for a new roof.
Roof slope. Have a roofing professional evaluate the pitch of your roof to get a sense for which roofing materials would work best. A steep pitch will reduce your choices of roofing materials.
Climate. If you live in a damp, humid region, algae can accumulate on the surface of your roof. Look for shingles treated with copper or zinc particles to increase algae resistance.
Following are the main choices of shingles and other roofing materials, from the least expensive to the most expensive:
Asphalt shingles. Conventional, three-tab asphalt shingles offer a relatively low cost roofing material. Asphalt shingles are available in a wide assortment of colors. When selecting asphalt shingles, be sure to check the warranty length (which may vary from 20 to 40 years), as well as for fire resistance ratings (A-rated offers the best protection).
Architectural shingles. Architectural shingles use the same material as standard asphalt shingles but they offer a thicker, more substantial look more closely resembling slate or wood shakes. Although they are more expensive than standard shingles, they tend to be easier to install. Premium laminate shingles are a new innovation offering more color and texture choices. Architectural shingles are often backed by warranties up to 50 years.
Wood shingles. Wood shingles are smooth and uniform, unalike wood shakes which have a rough and varied appearance. Wood shingles are generally cut from cedar or pressure-treated southern yellow pine. Due to the higher material and installation costs, they are a more expensive choice, but they should last 30 to 50 years.