Shingles are the most common roofing material in the United States. Shingles are popular with roofing contractors and with consumers because, among other things, they are lightweight and easy to install – with a reasonable amount of do-it-yourself experience, roof shingles can be replaced without the need to call in a roofing professional.
Shingles, in one form or another, are the most common roofing material in the United States. Whether made from asphalt or from wood (cedar, most commonly) shingles are popular with roofing contractors and with consumers because, among other things, they are lightweight and easy to install – with a reasonable amount of do-it-yourself experience, roof shingles can be replaced without the need to call in a roofing professional. That’s not to say that just anyone can replace them – a roof can be a very dangerous place for those without the experience and know-how.
Due to their light weight, shingles are well suited to just about any roof, save for the flattest (those with a roof pitch of 2:12 or less). Roofs rarely require additional structural reinforcement for the installation of shingles; despite this, they are durable and resilient enough to withstand being walked on, such as during inspections, maintenance, or repair work.
Asphalt shingles are one of the most inexpensive roofing options available today. Despite that, they provide good protection from the weather, have good fire resistance, and are reasonably durable; asphalt shingles have warranties that last upwards of 20 years. Some manufacturers sell asphalt shingles with warranties for up to 50 years, but the longer the warranty, the more expensive that shingle model will be.
One of the main reasons for the popularity of asphalt shingles is that they are available in a wide range of colors and styles, varied enough to suit just about anyone. They also have options such as fiberglass reinforcement, which increases durability and resistance to fire, as well as zinc plating, which reduces the rate of algae buildup. As with longer warranties, the more added options, the more expensive the shingles will be.
Wood shingles and shakes are typically made from cedar or redwood, though southern pine is occasionally used, too. Shingles are distinguished from shakes in that wooden shingles are cut by machine, whereas shakes are painstakingly handmade (and thus more expensive).
Despite being a lot more expensive than asphalt shingles, wooden shingles and shakes are a popular roofing material because of their aesthetic appeal, and give homes a warm, elegant look and feel. As a roofing material, wood is just about as durable as asphalt, and last up to 25 years. Depending on the local building codes, however, they may need to be treated with a fire retardant.
Coming soon will be the last part of this series, where we will take a closer look at your roofing options at the other end of the price spectrum.