Asphalt shingles have been a favorite roofing choice for many years for several reasons: The shingles are economical to purchase and install; the material can be very durable; and the styles and colors on the market today can be used to complement almost any architectural design.
Who makes asphalt roofing and what styles are available?
There are numerous manufacturers of asphalt shingles, but several companies stand out as the most popular choices of roofing contractors:
- Owens Corning
These companies' products can be found on roofs in just about any part of the country.
Speaking of parts of the country--roofing manufacturers often design product lines for specific climate regions and conditions. A roof in Florida needs different protective qualities than a roof in Vermont or South Dakota. When shopping for asphalt roofing from these or other companies, look for products suitable to your region and local weather.
Most roofing manufacturers offer a number of different styles of asphalt shingles. Just about every company has three-tab shingles in their model line; and these basic designs are usually budget-friendly. This shingle is designed to lay flat against the sheathing to create an inconspicuous, protective roof covering.
Many homeowners prefer that their roofs contribute to the exterior design of their homes. This is one reason that architectural shingles have become so popular. Architectural shingles are sometimes called "dimensional" or "designer," because their varied shapes and heights create attractive shadow lines. Heavier architectural shingles can even give a home the appearance of having slate or Cedar roofing--at a fraction of the cost.
How much does asphalt roofing cost and how long should it last?
Most manufacturers offer a warranty period for their asphalt roofing. The length of that time period is related to the weight or thickness of the shingle style, which in turn impacts pricing. Material and installation costs of shingles are figured in measurements known as squares. A roofing square is defined as 100 square feet of roofing area.
Three-tab asphalt shingles are usually the most economical choice for covering a roof. They start as low as $60 to $70 a square for the materials. These shingles usually have a 20-to-30-year limited warranty from the manufacturer. Architectural shingles are normally much thicker than three-tabs, so they have a longer warranty and come with a higher price tag. They start around $100 a square, and can cost $130 a square or more. The good news is that the pricier shingles often carry 30-year warranties, and some styles have a limited warranty of 40 to 50 years.
Can asphalt roofing increase your home's energy efficiency?
Traditionally, many homeowners favor dark colors for shingled roofs, because those colors are better at hiding dirt. Black, brown and blends containing both colors have been popular choices for decades. These preferences may be changing, however, as manufacturers introduce lighter-colored, energy-efficient asphalt roofing with properties that reflect the sun's heat, thereby lowering summer cooling costs. One of the largest roofing manufacturers in the U.S., GAF estimates that using their energy-saving shingles could lower an average home's cooling costs by 7 to 15 percent annually, even more if you live in a Southern state.
Where do I start?
The first step in having a new roof installed is finding a reputable contractor. The form on this page can assist with that task, or you might try one of these avenues:
- Ask a neighbor or friend, who recently had a roof installed for the name of their contractor.
- Check with local roofing or exterior building material distributors for recommendations.
- Talk to a local homebuilder about reputable roofing contractors in the area.
Old House Web and Reliable Remodeler are also good sources for finding articles on roofing and leads to reputable roofing contractors.