Asphalt shingles are the go-to roofing material choice for many homeowners. There are a number of reasons for that, including versatility, lower cost, and easy installation. While getting the best shingles for your home isn’t too complicated, your decision will involve more than just considering the colors and styles.
Shingles come in a variety of levels of quality. Thanks to recent product innovations, you can have a roof with all the qualities needed to protect your home from the elements for a long time. To make an informed decision and ensure your roof lasts as long as possible, you should be aware of the attributes of high-quality asphalt shingles.
Consider the Type of Shingles
There are two main categories of asphalt shingles. What makes them different is the material used to hold the shingle together. Those materials can influence each shingle’s durability, weight, and protective capabilities.
Organic shingles consist of a cellular fiber substance (paper or some other product made of wood components) that is soaked in asphalt and compressed under high pressure. The process creates a waterproof shingle that can withstand cooler temperatures. Compared to fiberglass shingles, organic asphalt shingles are more flexible and more resistant to tearing. They are heavier and can tolerate higher winds and extreme changes in temperature.
Fiberglass shingles have a fiberglass base layer soaked in asphalt and covered with ceramic granules. They are lighter than their organic counterparts because they require less asphalt for manufacturing. This type of shingle is better suited for warm weather. Fiberglass shingles are also more heat-resistant and have a higher fire rating. They do not tolerate cold temperatures and strong winds as well as organic shingles.
Choose the Right Grade
There are three grades of asphalt shingles available today, ranging from good to better to best:
At the lower tier, we have “3-tab” shingles, which are the most common and least expensive. They are built from a single layer of asphalt and are recognized by their clean, horizontal appearance. They are comprised of three tabs that are quite flat without much thickness. 3-tab shingles have a wind rating of up to 60 miles per hour. They tend to have the shortest warranty duration but can last for 10-20 years.
Next up are architectural shingles, better known as dimensional shingles. These are made with two or more layers of asphalt that give a thicker and multi-dimensional appearance. They are typically thicker and heavier than 3-tab shingles. This thickness may provide them with an advantage in performance and weather resistance.
Architectural shingles replicate the appearance of natural slate and cedar wood shakes. The multi-dimensional texture creates shadows and depths that increase visual appeal. They also have a wind rating of up to 130 miles per hour, have high waterproofing qualities, and are resistant to shingle curling. They come with more extended warranties and have an expected lifespan of 15-20 years in Florida.
Premium designer shingles, often called “luxury” or “premium” shingles, are the highest-quality laminated shingles available. They are made up of several layers of fiberglass coated in asphalt.
These shingles offer maximum energy efficiency, premium weather resistance, and the highest-end multi-dimensional designs. They take on the most realistic look of old-world wood shake and natural slate roofing. Luxury shingles cost double the price of 3-tab shingles. They come with an enhanced warranty and can last up to 20 years plus.
Consider Performance Capabilities
The performance and durability of roofing shingles depends on temperatures and weather situations. Your roof should be able to withstand weather conditions that are common to your area. When choosing roofing shingles for your home, consider your overall climate and look for features like fire, impact, and wind ratings.
You want a roofing material that can stand up to high winds and storms, especially if your home is in a hurricane-prone area. Consider the overall wind rating when choosing the best shingles for your home. Shingles are classified based on their ability to resist uplift forces when tested at specific wind speed gusts. Some shingles can only withstand wind gusts up to 60 mph, while others are more weather-resistant and can resist uplift at wind speeds of up to 150 mph gusts. Most shingles cannot withstand sustained winds that high.
Impact resistance is a measurement of how tough an asphalt roof shingle is against overhead impact. This resistance measurement is especially important in areas that experience hailstorms and high winds, which increase the risk of debris. The ratings range from Class 1 (the weakest resistance) to Class 4 (high-impact resistance).
There are three fire ratings for asphalt roofing shingles – Class A, B, and C. Shingles with a class A rating have the highest fire resistance. Class B offer moderate fire resistance and Class C offer light resistance. Fire resistance might not seem initially important, but choosing a material with a fire rating makes it less likely to burn when embers carried by high winds are blown onto your roof, especially if you live in an area prone to wildfires. And during a blaze, the roof won’t burn right away, making it easier to safely evacuate without overhead harm.
Choosing the best shingles for your home can be a challenge, but Westfall Roofing is here to help facilitate your decision-making. We proudly carry some of the best dimensional asphalt shingles in the industry, including Owens Corning’s TruDefinition® Duration® Shingles and TruDefinition® Duration® Designer Shingles.
We hold the highest level of certifications from industry leaders and offer professional, high-quality roofing services. Contact us to find out more about our products and to request a free estimate. We serve homeowners in the Tampa Bay,Sarasota, and North Port areas.