What should I look for in roof shingles?

shingle roofing with a skylight

Are there different grades of asphalt shingles?

From ceramic tiles to metal, there are many roof materials on the market today. A homeowner could get confused in choosing the one that is right for their home, and their budget. No matter what new roofing material that hits the market today, asphalt shingles are still the main go-to.

Asphalt shingles are made of are not 100% asphalt. More accurately, asphalt shingles use a base of either a felt paper or fiberglass base coat and have a waterproof layer of asphalt, finished with a topping of ceramic granules. Asphalt shingles hit the house construction scene in the 1980s, and gained immense popularity quickly, and are still popular today. 

Asphalt shingles come in three grades, typically referred to by contractors and roofing manufacturers as to good, better, and best. Asphalt shingles’ benefits vary between each grade, with each grade having better and more benefits. All three grades have one thing in common: they are versatile. Where other roofing materials can be complicated, asphalt shingles are different, and the more you know about them, the easier they are to understand and choose the right one for your home. 

Asphalt shingles have a tiered system starting with lower-priced, mid-range, and high-end. The cost increases as you move up the tier, as does the durability and warranty. Let’s look a bit at the different tiers and their benefits (or lack of benefits): 

  • The lower tier is also referred to as 3-tab asphalt shingles, the simplest of all asphalt shingles and is the lower-priced grade. These have been standard go-to asphalt shingles since the 1980s. They are very flat, not as thick as the others and come with the shortest warranty period, and they are the least expensive of the asphalt shingles.
  • The better asphalt shingles are the mid-range priced and the best category asphalt shingle is the high-end priced. We know these two as architectural shingles or dimensional shingles. Both are thicker and heavier, with the luxury/premium products being as thick as three layers of standard asphalt shingles.
  • These two categories of shingle are available in more shapes and with the thicker layers, their texture is more visual, comes with a longer warranty.

How long do asphalt shingles last?

There are several influences that can affect the lifespan of asphalt shingles, starting with which asphalt shingles you choose. Other influences are the climate, weather, and how the homeowner is with maintenance and upkeep. Some reports put a 20-year life on them, and others give them 30 years. The average runs between 15 years and 25 years, but let us look at the lifespan for the different grades:

  • The 3-tab asphalt shingles, basic and least expensive grade, used on the slopped roof have a typical lifespan between 10 years to 20 years. For roofs in storm-prone areas, this shingle is not recommended. They can take winds up to 70 mph and when exposed to a lot of direct sun or quick weather changes, they tend to break and crack.
  • Architectural Asphalt Shingles or Dimensional Asphalt Shingles are thicker, making them more durable and have a longer lifespan between 15 years to 25 years, depending on the climate, environment and homeowner’s care and maintenance of the roof. They typically have a wind resistance up to 110 MPH, but with a special installation and roof bracing, they can withstand winds of 130 MPH.
  • Premium Asphalt Shingles are the top-of-the-line, fancier asphalt shingles found on high-end premium homes. These are thicker asphalt shingles and has a lifespan up to 30 years, depending on the factors of climate, environment, and homeowner’s care and maintenance. They typically handle the same wind speed of the architectural and dimensional asphalt shingles. We can upgrade these to have a cool roof rating, more impact resistance, and UV ray resistance.

Will black shingles make the house hotter?

The controversy of light color vs dark color asphalt shingles is one that may never be 100% settled. It can depend on where you live whether the light color would be better for you home or if the dark colors make more sense. The answer would be no. Your house will not be hotter in the summer with dark asphalt shingles. Allow us to explain this answer:

The temperature in an attic will differentiate as much as 10 degrees between black asphalt shingles and white asphalt shingles. When you compare browns, greys, and tans, your attic may have up to a 3-degree difference than the black asphalt shingles. These are attic temperatures, not the interior of your home.

While the color of the asphalt shingles may influence the attic temperature, what really affects the temperature in your home is will be the grade of asphalt shingles you choose, the amount and quality of attic insulation, and the ventilation in your attic.

What color roof is most energy-efficient?

The light-colored asphalt shingles will absorb less heat in the summer, resulting in less strain on the air conditioner, lower energy bills. Yes, the dark color asphalt shingles will increase the temperature in homes with high ceilings and the air conditioner will work harder to keep your home cool, which will increase your energy bills.

The opposite of all this is true in the winter, with dark color asphalt shingles absorbing more heat from the UV rays, which is a plus for homes in the north where winters are long, and summers are short. How about snow though?

Does the snow melt faster on dark asphalt shingles than it does on light color asphalt roofs? Not that much. The sun does most of that work and in the further north you go, the less sunlight houses have during the winter, thus, the longer the snow stays on the roof.

grey shingle roof with windows

How do you clean asphalt shingles?

Depending on the size of your house, and we’re talking about the height and the square footage, you may be better off calling a professional roof clean expert. They have the experience and the equipment to climb the various heights, pulling that equipment up ladders and walking along asphalt shingles rooftops safely.

However, if you are a DIY homeowner, algae and moss can be cleaned from asphalt shingles with a mixture of household bleach and water of 50/50. Apply the mixture with a sprayer and let it sit at least 15 minutes, 20 minutes if the algae and moss are thick. Then simply rinse with clear water with low-pressure water hose.

Asphalt shingles on flat roof structure should be replaced with rolled asphalt roofing due to possible water intrusion. Hire a contractor that has experience in flat roofs to install rolled asphalt roofing and rolled asphalt roofing on a warm day. The warmer the temperature, the easier it is to install.

No matter which grade of asphalt shingles you choose for your home, the quality of the shingles will only be as good as the installation by the contractor. Get several written quotes and compare the details of each quote with the type of asphalt shingles, the price, the warranty offered by the manufacturer and by the contractor. Make sure they are certified, insured, and licensed and check their most recent reference. Call (940) 441-4544 today for the asphalt shingles you need for your home in Justin & Fort Worth, TX.