The integrity of your roof is important for a number of different reasons. Without a solid roof, rain and snow can infiltrate your home, causing damage to a level where repairs are too expensive to even consider.
When you choose the right type of roof shingles, you are making a solid investment in your home and, in the spirit of keeping you informed, we’re going to study the topic in-depth and tell you everything you need to know about roof shingles.
Types of Shingles
Choosing shingles for your roof can be intimidating considering there are so many different types to choose from. In the upcoming paragraphs, we are going to talk about the most common types, so that you know exactly what to expect when choosing any of the following.
Asphalt shingle roofs
These is basically a type of roofing that uses asphalt for waterproofing purposes. Since it’s fairly easy to install and doesn’t require a big upfront investment, it is one of the most widely-used roofing options in North America. Asphalt shingles are available in three different types: architectural style asphalt shingles, fiberglass asphalt, and 3-tab asphalt.
The latter category is the cheapest, but their long-term durability is questionable, since they tend to wear out faster because they come with an organic-mat paper base. On average, it will cost you about $4,286 to $6,429 to replace a 3-tab asphalt shingle roof on a single story 1,800 sq. ft. home.
Architectural shingle roofs are the most durable out of all the three aforementioned options. They cost around $1.50 to $5.50 per square foot but they are available in luxurious styles for those looking to spruce up the exterior of their homes. Due to their solid construction, they can last even more than 50 years when properly cared for.
Metal roof shingles
Another common option because they are relatively easy to install. One of the reasons why some people prefer these is because they are lighter in weight, making them more suitable for homes that can’t support too much roof weight. With proper care, metal roof shingles can last up to 100 years, being one of the varieties with the longest lifespans out there.
Installing these will have a cost that depends on how much professionals charge in your area (assuming you don’t plan to install it by yourself). On average, they cost around $5.25 to $12.50 per square foot and they are also available in the form of sheet panels. There are plenty of roof shingle colors to choose from as well. The most common materials used to make these include zinc, aluminum, tin, steel, and copper.
These are made from different varieties of wood which are cut into thin sections. When shopping for these types of shingles, you are going to come across two major types: wood shingles (which are cut into perfect shapes) and wood shakes (which are sawn-off and hand-split to give the pieces a more rustic appeal). Installing these will usually cost from $4.25 to $9.50 per square foot.
Wood shakes are mostly made from cedar wood and come from trees that can be up to 300 years of age. The name of this type of shingle comes from the fact that the logs are cut into sections which are referred to as “shakes”. These shakes will give your roof a rougher look. Wood shakes are typically more expensive compared to wood shingles. Both of these options are known for having a longer lifespan compared to asphalt shingles, but they are not very eco-friendly.
Clay and concrete shingles
This kind falls under a broader category called “tile roofing shingles”. They are amongst the most durable options on the market, but it’s really important for them to be properly installed. For instance, installing them on mortar beds can cause them to slip in about 10 years.
While the tiles aren’t expensive to purchase, the cost of installation pretty much compensates for each penny that you save. In some situations, the roof has to be strengthened in order for it to support such weight. With proper maintenance, the tiles that fall under this category can last up to 100 years. Aside from clay and concrete, some other tiles that fall into this category include stone slate tiles, polymer tiles, and composite tiles.
Rubber roof shingles
Similar in design to asphalt shingles. They are also simple to install and calling in a professional can end up costing you between $4.00 to $8.25 per square foot. They aren’t the most durable option on the market, as even with proper care, they don’t usually last for more than 25 years. The cost of installation will also depend on the rubber membrane chosen. Some of the most affordable options are made from PVC and TPO, while EPDM roofs tend to be more expensive.
These are amongst the more modern choices currently available on the market. As you probably guessed, they do more than just protect the home: they also help generate electricity by producing it through solar light absorption. Installing them will usually cost around $21 to $25 per square foot.
It’s important to note that you don’t need to have the installed across the entire surface of the room, not unless you need a lot of electricity to power up everything inside your home. They can be paired with other types of roof shingles. They need to be installed on the south side of the roof in order for them to be most efficient. They can last up to 25 years.
As mentioned before, asphalt roof shingles are widely spread across America and Canada as they are affordable solutions that are also easy to install. Asphalt roofing shingles can be divided into three main categories: strip, dimensional, and luxury, so let’s take a further look to understand what each of them is.
Also goes by the name of “3-tab shingles” and, as mentioned before, they are the most basic type of asphalt shingles. They are constructed with a single layer of asphalt and very much resemble a slate because of their flat design. With their single-layer construction, they tend to be very inexpensive, but also pretty lightweight.
Before the 1980s, strip shingles were the most common choices on the market. Today, they are preferred by contractors that build inexpensive homes, but also offered as a solution for people who are looking to save some money when installing a new roof.
This is another name for “architectural shingles”. They are made with at least two layers of asphalt merged together to create a thicker and multi-dimensional shingle. When gazed upon from afar, they look very much like wooden shakes or natural stone tiles. Because of their multiple layers, they are heavier compared to strip shingles and they usually come with longer warranty coverage periods.
These are high-quality laminate shingles, being the most expensive and heavy out of all the three categories. They are available in more roof shingle colors compared to the other two, and they strongly resemble quarried slate roofing and wood shake.
How to Shingle a Roof
As you can imagine, installing shingles on a roof is going to depend on the type of shingles chosen. In some situations, it’s a good idea to call in a professional, especially if this isn’t the kind of thing you’ve done before. If you want to know how to install roof shingles, here is a simple 15-step tutorial that can guide you or at least give you a moderate idea on what to expect:
- Planning ahead is an important part of installing a new roof. This includes everything from planning the layout of the shingles to making sure that you remove everything that could be in the way (from patio furniture to your car). You basically want to remove any valuables that could get damaged if something falls on them from a height.
- You also want to make sure that you have all the materials needed nearby. If you block the shed door and some of your tools are trapped inside, it will cause nothing but frustrations, so make sure that you have a checklist with everything that you need before you get this project started.
- You will also need the roof measurements before you start working. Make sure you have the length and width for each roof section, multiply them to calculate the area, and then add the areas for each section. When you divide the given number by 100, you will get a number of squares that needs to be multiplied by three. This is the number of bundles you need to buy.
- Safety is super important when working on home improvement projects and, considering the fact that you literally have to climb on the roof this time, chances of injury are even further increased if you’re not really careful. You need to have as much of the recommended safety equipment as possible: work boots, work hat, protective goggles and gloves, and even a harness. A tool belt can go a long way in your safety endeavours because it limits the amount of times you have to move around and reach to grab some tool.
- To prepare the roof, you’re going to need to make sure there is a way to catch all the debris that might potentially fall off. That means a tarp should be laid on the ground surrounding the house.
- You can use a shovel or a roofing fork to start removing the shingles. The metal flashing also needs to be removed, but you can keep the parts of it that are still in good shape.
- Give the roof a good sweep and make sure you remove any debris or nails that might be left behind.
- When you’re placing your new shingles, you want to start at the bottom of the roof. Using a piece of chalk, you can trace a guideline.
- You want to use starter shingles for the best wind protection.
- The glue strip should be placed along the eave, drip edge, and rake edge.
- When the shingles are in place, start nailing them down.
- When you’re installing your new shingles, you want to layer the courses working your way up and across. You need to be really careful with your nailing technique, as you want the nail to hold the top edge of the course underneath.
- Following the lining pattern to place one shingle against the next, always hammering them down in place.
- When you’ve reached the ridge, you can bend the shingle over it to make each side equal. Don’t forget to nail it down into place (you can use one nail on each side). Repeat the process with the next shingle, until the far edge of the ridge.
- When you’ve reached the last shingle, cut it down to size, making sure no parts of the roof are left exposed.
How Long Does a Shingle Roof Last?
The lifespan of a shingle roof depends on two things: how well you care for it and what type of material it’s made of. We can give you an estimate of how long different shingle roofs will last, but keep in mind that you are capable of prolonging the lifespan when proper maintenance is applied:
- Aluminum-coated roof shingles last between three and seven year.
- Asphalt 3-tab shingle roofs should last about 20 years.
- Asphalt architectural shingles have a lifespan of around 30 years.
- Clay roofing shingles can last up to 100 years.
- Same goes for concrete tile roofing.
- Metal roofs have a lifespan between 40 and 80 years.
- Slate stone tiles can last anywhere from 60 to 150 years.
- The average lifespan of wooden shingles is around 25 years.
Roof Shingle Colors
Aside from practicality, you’re most likely interested in having a roof that looks good. Some types of shingles are available in a wider range of colors, and that includes asphalt shingle roofing, architectural shingle roofing, metal roof shingles, and slate tile roofing shingles. A few rules you may want to keep in mind when choosing roof shingle colors are:
- Red house siding works best with dark green, dark gray, and dark brown roofing.
- Blue house siding is best paired with white, gray, brown, or black shingles.
- While house siding works well with red, blue, gray, green, black, and brown shingles.
- You can blend multiple colors when it comes to roofing. For instance, you can mix shingles with a charcoal base with shades of brown and green to make it more appealing.
- Roofing can be used to complement the architecture and setting of your home. For example, orange and rusty red shingles would look great on a house with Floridian flare, while white beach houses would look amazing with blue roofs.
How to Install Metal Roofing Over Shingles
Metal roofing can be installed over shingles, and this is actually something that might bring forth a lot of benefits, including the fact that your roofing might last twice as long and the noise is reduced because of the extra roof layer. For those of you planning to install the metal roofing by yourself, here is what you need to know:
- Make sure you check with your local building department to see if you are allowed to install metal roofing over shingles.
- Every roof needs an underlayment, and if you’re going to install metal roofing over shingles, you can do this in one of two ways. The first method is to install 1 x 4 purlins over the shingles, which is the most expensive but the best method out of the two. The cheaper alternative would be to apply an approved underlayment over the existing shingle roof, but this won’t result in an event surface for installing your metal roof.
- Fastener application is very important in this situation, so make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions by the book. Make sure all the right screws are in place and avoid using nails because screws tend to work much better in this situation.
- Make sure you place the screws about 24 to 30 inches apart from one another. Some experts recommend skipping every other rib to prevent making more holes in the roof than necessary.
- Trimming is an important part of making your roof look good. Wrap the edges with flashing not just for cosmetic reasons, but also to help protect against wind, rain, and snow.
- Don’t rule out ice guards even if you have gutters installed.
NOTE: Before you proceed with this idea, keep in mind that the shingles that will remain underneath the metal roof can contract and expand in time, which can cause damage to your metal roofing. It might be a good idea to remove the shingles before installing a metal roof.
What are the longest-lasting roof shingles?
Slatestone tile roofing can last up to 150 years with proper maintenance. Some other long-lasting options include concrete and clay tile roofing, with each of them having a lifespan of a century.
What type of asphalt shingle is best?
Multi-layered architectural shingles are considered to be the best because they are the thickest and most expensive options out of all three asphalt shingle categories.
What are the top 5 roofing shingles?
The best roofing shingles come from brands such as Atlas, CertainTeed, Owens Coming, Tamko, and GAF-Elk.
What is the difference between 3 tab shingles and dimensional shingles?
3-tab shingles are made with three asphalt tabs on each tile. They are composed of a flat and lightweight layer, resulting in a uniform shingle. Dimensional shingles come with tabs that are available in different sizes. When they are installed, they create a more interesting layered effect. They are usually made with at least two layers, which makes them thicker and heavier compared to 3-tab shingles.
Choosing the right roof shingles for you can turn out to be complicated if you have a little more money to spend. The simplest choice would be to opt for asphalt roof shingles, as these are a common and affordable choice that can easily be found on homes across entire North America. However, when you want to try something different in terms of style and lifespan, there are other options that might cost you more, but can add value to your home, whether you decide to live in it or sell it.