The Pros and Cons of Asphalt Shingles

The Pros and Cons of Asphalt Shingles

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Asphalt shingles are an incredibly popular roofing material in North America. Despite all other types of roofing materials on the market, they have maintained their spot as the most common residential roofing option in the United States.

Today, we will look at the advantages and disadvantages of this type of roofing and why it may (or may not) be right for you.

5 Advantages of Asphalt Shingles

First let’s take a look at some advantages of asphalt shingles, which includes cost, availability, and ease of installation.

Cost

The first advantage of asphalt shingles is the convenience in cost. Because of the style options available, asphalt shingles range in price and can be very affordable.

In addition to this, they are easy to install and lightweight, which means both the transportation and installation costs are lower than other roofing options. In 2023, the average installation for a 2,000-square-foot roof is between $8,500 – $24,500.

Styles and Availability

Being the most popular roofing material in North America, asphalt shingles are readily available in a wide variety of colors, textures, and styles. The most popular options are the budget-friendly single-layer 3-tabbed asphalt shingles and double-layered architectural shingles, which are a little more costly. Other options like luxury shingles are available for those that want a more custom look.

Ease of Installation and Maintenance

The installation method of asphalt shingles is relatively simple. Homeowners can install a shingle roof themselves with a chalk line, hammer, utility knife, roofing nails, fasteners, and shingles. A roof harness is highly recommended, and in areas that see frequent snow and ice, we suggest a moisture barrier for the bottom of the roof.

The same can be said for maintenance–with a little dedication and learning, a homeowner can easily repair sections of shingles themselves. If DIY roofing isn’t on your bucket list, the combined availability and easy installation mean that it won’t be difficult to find a contractor to do the job.

Light Weight

Asphalt shingles are on the lighter end of the roofing spectrum, weighing between 60 – 80 lbs per bundle. In perspective, this doesn’t seem very lightweight but is considerably lighter per volume when compared to other materials.

When considering the cost of shingle installation or repair, labor makes up about 60% of the total cost. The lighter weight makes it easier to carry or lift the shingles onto the roof, helping you pay less for labor.

Warranties

With so many options on the market, many manufacturers offer a lifetime warranty as a leg up on their competitors. These warranties typically cover defects from the manufacturing process, such as shingle curling, granule loss, and thermal splitting.

In addition to this, some contractors offer a warranty of their own, guaranteeing repairs from wind and hail damage and regular wear and tear. A shingle with a manufacturer or contractor warranty is a big plus.

3 Disadvantages of Asphalt Shingles

Some common disadvantages of asphalt shingles include the maintenance needed to control mold and algae growth, wind damage, and a potentially short lifespan.

Mold and Algae Growth

Asphalt shingles aren’t impervious to mold and algae growth. In areas that are humid or see frequent rain, it’s not uncommon to see a buildup of mold and algae. There are shingles laced with copper granules, which creates an inhospitable environment for algae, but they can be costly.

Overall, it’s difficult to avoid this growth, which can stain and damage your roof over time. It’s not difficult to remove and control the buildup with a scrub brush and bleach solution, but it does require maintenance when it becomes an issue.

Lifespan

Compared with other roofing materials like clay tiles or metal sheeting, asphalt shingles have a short lifespan. Manufacturers guarantee between 15 – 30 years, though some architectural shingles can last 50 years with proper care. If you don’t want to replace your roof once or even twice throughout your life in your forever home, asphalt shingles may not be for you.

Wind and Weather Resistance

Made from thin layers of paper, fiberglass, asphalt, and granules, shingles aren’t impervious to damage from wind and storms. There are different shingle ratings designed to resist different wind speeds. The highest class, H, resists uplift from windspeeds up to 150 mph, and damage may occur in storms and winds with speeds higher than this.

Areas with frequent shifts between temperature extremes can also see premature damage in their shingles. Very hot and sunny climates like the Southwestern United States aren’t the best climate for this material, as the constant UV rays can break down the asphalt. Repeated heating and cooling can also dry out the shingles, causing them to break.

Overall, Are Asphalt Shingles Good?

Asphalt shingles are a great option for homeowners in moderate climates that like the look and feel of a shingle roof. They’re suitable to most budgets, and most climates, and are widely available, making the materials and installers easy to find. Maintenance is also easy, keeping the window open for an experienced DIYer that might like to cut costs.

Finally, while the shingles don’t last as long as some other roofing materials, they do still have a respectable lifespan that can be extended with proper care. For those that like to keep the option open to restyle their home and have the budget for it, the shorter lifespan can be an advantage, allowing you to completely overhaul the look of your home at an affordable price.

Summary

So there we have it. We’ve examined five great benefits of asphalt shingles and three not-so-great drawbacks. When considering using this material for your roof, factors such as cost, longevity, and maintenance are important to review.

You might also want to see how asphalt shingles compare with other types of roofing shingles before making your final decision.