Photo source: Owens Corning

Shingle Roofing Guide

Shingle Roof Basics

Asphalt shingles, also referred to as composition (comp) shingles, are the most popular residential roofing choice in the United States. In fact, four out of five homes in the U.S. have shingled roofs. More than 12.5 billion square feet of asphalt shingle material is produced each year, enough to put a roof over 5 million homes, according to the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association (ARMA).

Shingle roofing is available in a variety of styles, colors and qualities. Modern shingles are manufactured to resemble the look of slate, wood shake, clay tile and of course traditional shingles. You can get shingles in virtually any color to match your home or business, which is one of its most appealing aspects. Some of today’s top-quality roofing shingles carry lifetime warranties.

Shingles are installed over top a layer of underlayment, also called felt paper. The felt paper provides temporary protection from weather while the shingles are installed, as well as acting as a secondary waterproofing layer once the shingles are laid. Additional ice dam protection is recommended by the NRCA where climates dip down to 30-degrees or lower during the winter months.

Overall, comp shingles offer an affordable and durable roofing solution to homeowners and businesses. Shingles are suitable for moderate-to-steep pitched roofs and virtually any climate.

Shingle Roofing Types & Styles

There are two main types of shingle roofing available today, along with many different styles and colors. 3-Tab shingles are the most basic type of shingle on the market. These shingles come from the factory as a single row of about 36 inches long and three tabs, as the name implies.

Architectural shingles, also known as laminated strip shingles, are also a popular choice. This type of shingle features several layers of individual shingles producing a highly-desirable 3D effect on the roof. These shingles typically cost more than 3-tab shingles.

3-tab shingles vs architectural shingles

Both types of shingles have a factory-applied strip of adhesive that bonds to the layer of shingles above it as the sun heats the roof. The shingles are also attached using nails or other type of fastener.

Asphalt shingles come in a wide variety of styles and in an unlimited color palette. You can get the look of slate, shakes, flat-shingle or a 3D effect. Solar panel and metal shingles are being manufactured today as well.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Shingle Roofing

Advantages:

  • Most inexpensive roofing choice
  • Up to lifetime warranty
  • Wide variety of styles, colors and finishes available
  • Can walk on it without damaging it
  • Composition, metal, wood, solar shingles available
  • Most comp shingles are class “A” fire-rated
  • Low maintenance
  • Easy to install/repair

Disadvantages:

  • 12-17 year average lifespan (asphalt)
  • Hail, wind and ice can take a toll on lower-quality shingles
  • Not suitable for flat roofing

Cost of Shingle Roofing

The total cost of installing a new shingle roof can vary significantly due to the wide range of styles and product qualities available. The prices below can give you a ballpark figure for the cost of tearing off an existing single layer of shingles, materials and installation of the new asphalt shingle roof. Metal, solar and premium shingles cost significantly more.

Shingle Roof Pricing:

City

Tear off/Materials/Installation Cost for 2,000 Square Foot Roof

Chicago

$4,500 - $10,900

Atlanta

$4,200 - $9,800

New York

$4,800 - $12,100

Los Angeles

$4,400 - $10,700

(These prices can vary based on multiple factors, including your exact geographic location and the brand-name/quality of shingle. The pricing does not include removing/installing sheathing, flashing, underlayment or gutters. Contact your local shingle roofing contractor for an accurate quote)

Shingle Roofing Manufacturers

The biggest manufacturers of shingles in the U.S. include Owens Corning, GAF, CertainTeed and Tamko. Each produces a wide variety of shingle products ranging from basic 3-tab shingles up to lifetime warranty premium shingles.

When choosing a shingle, be sure to consider not only the length of the warranty but also its wind rating (130 mph or higher is very good), algae resistance, impact resistance, efficiency (Energy Star rated ?) and whether or not its suitable for the climate you live in.

Shingle Roofing Warranty Information

There are two types of warranties to consider when getting a shingle roof replacement or installation. First, the manufacturer’s warranty covers the shingle itself for defects, and this will typically range from 20 years to lifetime.

Most roofing contractors also offer workmanship warranties covering the work they do on your roof. These warranties typically start at one-year and go up from there. Workmanship warranties cover things like leaks and wind damage incurred during the warranty period. Always ask your roofing contractor about workmanship warranties!

Generally, minor shingle roof repairs, such as leaks or hail damage, are inexpensive and easy for the roofing contractor to remedy. This type of damage may or may not be covered under warranty, so be sure to read the fine print. Weather-related damage may be covered by your homeowner's insurance; your roofing contractor will often work directly with your insurance company to make the claims process quick and easy.

Make sure to keep all documentation associated with the roofing work in case you need to exercise the warranty several years down the line.

Hiring a Shingle Roofing Contractor

The important things to consider when choosing a shingle roofing contractor for the job are the company’s reputation in the community and its overall experience/knowledge of the roofing system you desire.

At Hometown we make choosing the right roofing contractor easy by publishing verified customer reviews and project pricing details to provide complete transparency to you as the customer. That way you can make a more informed decision when investing your hard-earned dollars in a roofing contractor.

We only work with reputable, local roofing contractors committed to providing customers with exceptional customer service and affordable pricing. We prescreen each and every roofing company to ensure they meet our high standard of service, including verifying its license and insurance information, Better Business Bureau standing, roofing certifications, experience and more.