What comes to mind when you hear the phrase roofing shingles? Perhaps all you picture is the same bland rectangular pattern infinitely stretching out to oblivion, and it depresses you to no end. It may even be that you are having trouble thinking of a subject that bores you more than those asphaltic slabs above your head. If this is you, then you're probably also under the impression that it doesn't matter what type of shingles you put on your roof, as long as they're cheap and don't take too long to install. We at My-Pros are here to tell you that, while we respect your opinion, we vehemently disagree with it, because quality shingles are so much more than flat rectangles.
In this article, you will find that, while the standard type of shingle is pretty dull in its flat uniformity, there are whole other dimensions of asphalt shingle roofing out there to explore. And we're sure the exciting possibilities found in these dimensions will fill you with a fresh enthusiasm for what a quality roof can do for your home. By adding some dimension and distinction to your roof, you will not only become the envy of your neighborhood but also give your roof more stability for many years to come.
So what do you say? Are you ready to explore new shingle dimensions? Good. Then let's begin.
Before we can get to the fun stuff, we have to take a quick look around at the dull world of 3-tab shingles:
For many years, standard 3-tab shingles have been the most popular choice for homeowners because they are cheap and don't take very long to install. These shingles lie flat on a roof and form rows and rows of the same rectangular slabs. Sound familiar? These are the vapid shingles most folks associate with roofing. And not only do these shingles look bland, but they also don't do any favors for the structural integrity of your roof.
The reason 3-tab shingles are the least expensive type of shingle is that they aren't as substantive as the other superior styles out there. 3-tabs are so flat and flimsy that, if you have flaws in your roof decking (as many roofs do), they won't adequately conceal those flaws. And because of their flimsiness, most 3-tab shingles only have a wind rating of 60 mph and a warranty of only 20-25 years. Certainly, these shingles don't inspire a lot of long-term confidence! They may be cheaper upfront, but they will only end up costing you more in the long run. And to top it all off, they probably won't do the value of your property any favors because your home simply won't look as good as it would have had you taken your roof to the next level.
In the 1970's innovations were made to bring roofing shingles into the third dimension, and dimensional shingles were born. Unlike three tab shingles, dimensional shingles don't just lie flat in rows of uniform rectangles. Instead, they consist of staggered layers, which form an alternating pattern with some shingles situated above and overlapping their neighbors. These shingles accomplish something for a roof that standard 3-tab shingles never could: they give a roof character and aesthetic appeal. But that's not all they can do for your roof.
Because they come in layers, dimensional shingles are much heavier than 3-tab shingles, which translates to a stronger and longer-lasting roof. Many dimensional shingles have a wind rating of 130 mph, and their warranties often last between thirty and fifty years. We think this long-term security and peace of mind is certainly worth paying a little more up front for than you would have had you gone with standard shingles. We should also note that the cost of dimensional shingles, which was a lot steeper than 3-tab shingles when they first came out, has been decreasing over the years as manufacturing techniques have improved. So now the difference in cost between the two is not nearly as bad as it used to be. And as the price of dimensional shingles lowers, their popularity continues to rise among homeowners.
Now you may be saying to yourself, "So what if dimensional shingles give a roof a more body and depth? They're still boring rectangles!" To which we respond, who said they had to be rectangles?
One of the best kinds of dimensional shingles is called architectural shingles. Also known as designer shingles or premium options (depending on what shingle brand you choose to go with), these impressive asphaltic specimens liberate the concept of roofing shingles from being limited to one particular shape and look. If rectangles bore you, then there are architectural shingles available in all sorts of different shapes and patterns. There are wavy shingles; there are diamond shingles; there are even shingles that contain several uniquely sculpted shapes in the same pattern! All sorts of options are available out there in the world of designer shingles. You just have to be willing to open your mind to new possibilities other than the standard rectangular pattern.
If you like the idea of going beyond the flat rectangle but aren't sure what type of architectural shingle is best for your roof, you can't go wrong with seeking advice from a seasoned roofing contractor. A contractor with a lot of experience installing architectural shingles will be able to inform you of the types of shingle that tend to work best with your type of home and even give you examples of previous jobs to look at for yourself. Remember, it's always good to have peace of mind knowing that you're working with a trustworthy contractor before making the dimensional shift.