Cheap shingles are a good short-term choice if you plan to sell your home in less than 10 years; better shingles offer a good combination of cost and durability that is a good value over 20-25 years.
Asphalt shingles will last for about 15–30 years. They are, far and away, the most popular roofing material because of their cost-effectiveness.
When it comes to durability, though, be careful. Never choose the cheapest asphalt shingles, even if the cost is a major issue for you. Look for shingles that have a decent hail rating, a good indicator of impact resistance and overall durability.
Because they’re so common, their quality ranges wildly.
Unfortunately, asphalt is a petroleum-based material. This means that it’s not the most sustainable roofing material option available. Fortunately, asphalt shingles are recyclable—just find a local shingle recycling center and they’ll ensure that your asphalt shingles don’t end up in a landfill.
Asphalt/Fiberglass Composition Shingles
Most homes are roofed with asphalt shingles, though that number is slowly shrinking thanks to the more energy-efficient and durable metal roofing.
Asphalt (composition) shingles dominate the market because they are affordable, offer a variety of attractive options, and do a good job protecting homes from nature’s elements.
There are two main types of asphalt shingles:
Fiberglass shingles start with a fiberglass mesh mat that is covered in asphalt and topped with granules that provide colour and reflect some of the sunlight. Shingles made with fiberglass are lightweight and resist tearing.
Organic asphalt shingles begin with the paper, often recycled, that is saturated in asphalt and covered with granules. The shingles are heavier and harder to work with than fiberglass, but they generally offer better stability in high winds. Although you can still see them on many roofs, organic shingles have been mostly phased out or discontinued over the course of the last decade. Why? Manufactures have stopped making organic shingles due to their tendency to dry out, become less-waterproof, and more prone to excess moisture absorption.
Pros and Cons of Asphalt Shingles
The reasons to choose asphalt shingles are:
Fiberglass shingles offer good fire protection
Look good on any style of home
Shingles are often the most affordable roofing option, especially in good/better ranges
The best asphalt shingles are a 30-year roof solution installed on homes located in moderate climates
The cheapest 3-tab shingles are an affordable way to spruce up a home before putting it on the market
A broad selection of colours and styles including affordable three-tab and architectural shingles that mimic shakes and slate
DIY asphalt shingle installation is possible for those with good skills, experience, and equipment
No support beyond standard roof sheathing is required for shingles
3-tab shingles are rated for 60-70 MPH wind uplift, while standard architectural shingles are rated for 110 MPH winds; high-wind shingles are rated for 130 MPH
High-impact shingles such as the ones manufactured by GAF should be used for heavily-wooded locations and areas where large hail is possible
Some shingle repairs are easy and cost-effective
A few words of caution about asphalt shingles:
The lifetime cost of shingles is higher than metal, tile or slate because composition shingles must be replaced more frequently
Cheaper asphalt shingles last as little as 10-15 years in hot, sunny climates
Rapid temperature changes can cause asphalt shingles to crack
A poorly vented attic will trap heat and significantly shorten asphalt shingle lifespan by cupping or cracking them
While the asphalt shingle industry boasts that its products can be recycled for paving, few recycling facilities take asphalt shingles, and they are among the least eco-friendly roofing options
After the second layer of shingles needs replacing, all layers must be torn off the roof, creating extra expense and a lot of potential landfill waste
Mold or algae can be a problem on shingles in shady areas unless treated with anti-algae/anti-stain treatments
Organic/felt shingles are heavy; getting them to the roof in bundles can be a challenge
These are the shingles that have been the most popular choice among roofers and homeowners alike for decades. This popularity is due largely to the fact that they are so durable and are the most inexpensive of all roofing options. Other benefits include the ability to get them in a wide range of colours as well as the fact that they hold up well to extreme temperatures. Asphalt shingles also provide reliable waterproofing and are fairly easy to install for a quick upgrade project. Most asphalt shingles have a lifespan of around 20 years, and in some cases, they can last as much as 30-40 years with proper care and maintenance. The major drawback to asphalt shingles as roofing materials is that they do not hold up well to foot traffic and can be prone to problems in high wind areas. . If you are using asphalt shingles in areas prone to severe thunderstorms and hail, the shingles can be damaged by high wind or hailstones and become dislodged. They can be a bit heavy when used on larger roofs, so this needs to be taken into account as well when making your decision.
Asphalt shingles have been used on roofs for over 100 years. They were created right here in the United States in 1903. At first, these shingles were made of rags, but eventually, manufacturers were looking for a roofing material that was more fire retardant. That’s because there were not many fire departments in service in the country at that time, and once a home caught on fire, it burned easily. Asphalt is very fire retardant, which makes them a great choice for roofing material. Currently, asphalt shingles are made from either fiberglass or another material and then covered in asphalt. Some shingles are covered with asphalt on one side only, while other shingles have asphalt on both sides. The shingle top is then coated with stone such as mica, schist, or quartz. The back of the shingle has sand, mica, or talc, which helps the shingles stick together on the roof.