Choosing a Roofing Shingle? What Brand? What Type?


Installing a new roof can be an expensive home improvement. Be sure to consider all your options before pulling the trigger on this project that should only be done once by the average homeowner. When installed per the manufacturers requirements, your new roof should last you 30 years in a regular climate.

1. Style / Design

Yes, there are many styles and designs to choose from when shopping for a new roof. I will share that about 95% of the new roofs installed nowadays are of the 30 year dimensional asphalt shingles. This design provides the most bang for your buck. 20 year shingles are the least expensive, however, are being phased out of many of the manufacturers product lines. 25 yr shingles, also referred to as ‘3 Tab shingles or strip shingles’ are a less costly alternative, but not by much. With the 30yr dimensional shingle, you are getting a heavier, more durable and aesthetically pleasing shingle. The multi-dimensional profile hides many of the dips and swoops you may have on your aging home.

In some areas of the country, such as Florida and Southern California, clay tile roofs are very common. These roofs are considerably more expensive, but do not need future replacement.

Given the average American climate, I would start my search in the 30yr dimensional market.

2. Brand

Stick with the most pronounced, popular, and time tested brands. Having installed and handled at least 20 of the main shingle brands, I feel I have a good idea on the quality that each of the manufacturers produce. In my opinion, the top two in the industry are   GAF  (Timberline is the 30yr product) and CertainTeed (Landmark is their 30yr product). Your installer will have access to these two brands through their supplier. As a tip, Home Depot exclusively carries the  GAF  brand. Some other brands to consider are the Owens Corning shingles (exclusively carried at Lowes and most shingle supply houses) and Tamko shingles.

Be aware and do your research on any brand that your installer suggests. Make sure it is reputable and has a history. Often installers push a product that they may get the best rebates on, which doesn’t necessarily make it the best shingle. In fact, in many cases you may see a roofer pushing an off brand shingle that has horrible quality because it may be the cheapest shingle available to him, allowing him to make a larger margin on the job.

3. Color

Many customers ask me how large a role color plays on the heat of their attic space. It is true that the darker the roof, the more sun it attracts. Remember that most all roof colors are dark, so most every color is going to take on heat. The difference between a brown and a black roof, in terms of heat, is not much at all. I would definitely not advise considering installing white shingles. They do make these, but white shingles get dirty right away and look horrible after a short time.

My answer is that if you vent your attic space sufficiently using Continuous Ridge Vent or Powered Vents, you should not have to sacrifice the look of your house because of the concern of a dark color attracting too much heat. Feel free to choose a color for your shingles based on what matches the exteriors of your home best. As a tip, most designers try to choose a shingle color that shares a hue that is held in the color of the front door or shutters. Concentrate your efforts on making sure the installer provides for adequate ventilation, and you can choose your color based on what cooperates well with your existing exterior.

Tip: Most installers or local suppliers should be able to provide you with a list of addresses of homes in your area that have a specified color that had been recently installed. Sometimes it is very difficult to envision a shingle color based on an internet photo or small sample board.


Source by Paul A Golin