How To Choose Shingles

Orange County Roofer choosing shingles

In this article, we discuss how to pick the best shingle for your roof. We will go through the different features of shingles without mentioning any manufacturers because regardless of the manufacturer there are few things to look for individually when choosing shingles.

Consider is how long you plan to be in your home

If you’re planning to be in your home for less than 20 years then you should consider a shingle that only lasts around 20-25 years. But if you’re planning on being in your home a lot longer then it’s best to go with a 50-year shingle.

Standard or Architectural Shingle?

Generally, there are three grades of asphalt shingles to choose from which range from good to better to the best in class.

Lower tier shingles are “3-tab” shingles, which are shingles comprised of three tabs. They’ve been a mainstay in the roofing industry for decades and feature a flat look with minimal thickness. They also come with the shortest warranty duration.

Better shingles are architectural shingles, which are also referred to as dimensional shingles. Within the architectural shingle category, there are “better” and the “best” options. These shingles are thicker than 3-tab, with a thickness of three standard shingles as part of the premium/luxury product choices. You can also get a better selection of shapes to choose from, with increased visual appeal thanks to more texture. They also come with longer warranties.

When you are shopping for shingles, you will notice this tiered system featuring lower-priced economy shingles, mid-range shingle products, and high-end premium shingles. There are a few features that separate them and make them unique, these are mainly cost, durability, and the all-important warranty longevity.

There are some shingles that look really fancy almost like slate. These shingles are more expensive because of their appearance but not so much because of their functionality. Sometimes it pays to go for the better or best shingle regardless. For example, is your home either in a place that has high winds, or is it a three-story townhouse? If the answer is yes to either you should definitely consider an architectural shingle over a standard shingle because architectural shingles have a much higher wind resistance (see our Consumer Report article on shingle testing).  If you are in an area that has a lot of hail you could get a shingle that has higher hail resistance or if you are going for something that’s more energy-efficient then there are Energy Star-rated shingles.

Shingle Appearance

Some architectural shingles come with just basic color and when installed they look very similar all the way across the roof. Then there’s another type that pops a little bit more. The squares tend to have different brightness  so when you step back from your roof you can see the color transition and they kind of pop a little bit more which is a very nice aesthetic feature

Shingle Manufacturer

Finally, when it comes to picking between the leading manufacturers it is really down to the warranty and the installer because regardless of whether you have a cheap or really expensive shingle if your installer doesn’t install them correctly then it doesn’t make any difference, it’s still gonna leak. So be sure to read our article on how to hire a roofing contractor.