Asphalt Shingles are one of the most common choices for roofing materials. As a matter of fact, at least 75% of the homes in the United States use asphalt shingles. Asphalt shingles come in various styles and costs and have warranty packages from 20-40 years.
There are two types of asphalt shingle construction: Fiberglass mat based shingles and Organic mat based shingles.
Fiberglass based shingles are thinner and lighter, as their backing is made out of a fiberglass mat. Note: A bundle of asphalt shingles can weigh between 70 and 140 lbs and there are typically 3 bundles of shingles per square (100 sqft per square of shingles). Consequently fiberglass mat based shingles are easier to lift making a roofer's job easier when carrying shingles up a ladder. Fiberglass mat shingles are also more fire retardant and typically have slightly longer warranties than organic based shingles.
Organic based shingles are heavier and considered more rugged as their mat backing is made out of felt paper and asphalt. They are heavier due to the fact that there is literally more asphalt used in them than a Fiberglass mat shingle. Organic mat based shingles are also considered more flexible than fiberglass shingles, however they are known to be more water absorbent and can warp over time.
As a result of these differences Fiberglass mat shingles are used much more prevalently in the southern and central part of the United States, and Organic mat based shingles are used more in the northern part.
Fiberglass Asphalt based shingles used on your home should be compliant with ASTM D-3462 standards, and Organic based shingles used on your home should be compliant with ASTM D-225. More and more municipalities are requiring shingles to meet these standards, so you should check with your local building inspector and read the label on the shingles prior to purchasing them.
Fiberglass and Organic mat based shingles are comparably priced. They can range anywhere from $25 to $80 per square.
3-Tab shingles have been around for a long time and are still the most common shingle installed, however more and more homeowners are moving towards architectural shingles. Architectural shingles are a little more expensive but are actually easier to install, as less care is needed in ensuring straight lines. Architectural Shingles typically also have longer warranty periods.
3-Tab shingles typically require greater skill and longer installation times as the roofing contractor needs to ensure that wavy shingle lines are not created when installing the shingles. Architectural shingles, on the other hand, are a little easier to install as the lines and shadows are designed to be more complex. As a result, imperfections in the installation process of architectural shingles can be more difficult to see.
Architectural shingles typically cost most than 3-Tab shingles, however their cost may be somewhat mitigated by a lower installation cost.
Whatever shingles you decide to use, make sure you read the shingle packaging labels and check with your local building inspector first. Your home's roof is one of the most import aspects of your home. An improperly installed shingle job or the installation of the wrong shingles can lead to expensive water damage and high repair costs.
For more help on Shingling Your Home's Roof, see HomeAdditionPlus.com's Asphalt Shingle Roofing Bid Sheet. The Asphalt Shingle Roofing Bid Sheet will help to ensure that your roof won't end up with a blue tarp over it and a dumpster sitting in your yard for weeks as you wait for the roofing contractor to come back and finish roofing your home.