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To The Maxx

Buyer’s Guide to the Best Roof Shingles

April 3, 2020

Your roof is what keeps you protected. It provides you with peace of mind, knowing that you and your family are safe from rain, snow, hail, wind, heat, and cold. When it comes to choosing a roofing material, it's critical that you select one that can withstand weather elements and has a long lifespan. Because asphalt shingles can do both and are inexpensive, easy to install, and widely available, they've become the most popular roofing material in the United States.

What are asphalt shingles? Why are they so popular? How can you know which contractor provides the best roof shingles? In this guide, we'll discuss how asphalt shingles are made and compare different roof shingle types and costs to help you choose the best shingles for your home.

What are Asphalt Shingles and How are They Made?

Though you may think that asphalt shingles are made up entirely of asphalt, they're actually made from a variety of raw materials. Every manufacturer will have a unique blend of these materials. Most asphalt shingles are made from limestone that has been crushed into a very fine powder. This powder is then mixed with the asphalt to create a filled coating.

Next, huge mats of fiberglass are fed into a coater where the filled coating is applied. The filled coating is heated to nearly 400 degrees Fahrenheit and added to both the top and bottom of the fiberglass mat. This is what creates the base of the shingle.

To give a shingle its color, texture, and protective coating, granules are added. Granules are made from mined rock that has been crushed. A layer of sand is added to the base of the shingle, which is then fed into a press to embed the granules. To protect against wind and hail damage, the sheet is covered with a strip of sealant. Finally, the mats are cut into individual shingles, bundled, and sent to roofing companies.

Asphalt shingles are available in two primary forms:

  • Three-tab: These are the most traditional, basic kind of shingles. They typically have a very flat appearance and generally weigh and cost less than dimensional roofing shingles. However, three-tab shingles are decreasing in popularity and have almost completely disappeared.
  • Dimensional roofing shingles: Most homeowners prefer these types of shingles because they're available in a variety of colors, styles, and textures. Additionally, these shingles are typically thicker and offer more protection.

Lifespan of Shingles

While most asphalt shingles are designed to last between 25-50 years, some roofs don't last more than 7-10 years. There are a variety of factors that affect the lifespan of your roof, including climate, roof design, installation, and material. Long-term exposure to harsh weather conditions can cause your shingles to deteriorate quickly. They lose their flexibility, durability, and waterproofing, which leaves your roof vulnerable to leaks and other structural damages. If you notice that your shingles are cracked, curled, or missing granules, it could be time for a serious roof repair.

Top Asphalt Shingle Brands

As you're considering which brand of shingle to use, there are a few factors you'll want to consider, including cost per square foot, lifespan, and durability. Listed below are a few of the top asphalt shingle brands.

IKO

Crowne Slate
  • Price per square foot: Cost will vary widely depending on your location.
  • Pros:
    • Give your home a high-end look at a reasonable cost.
    • Lightweight material makes for easy installation.
    • Wind warranty of 130 mph that decreases the chance of uplift, curling, blow-off, and water penetration.
    • Built-in algae resistance and UV protection.
    • Strong, heavy-weight material.
  • Cons:
    • Lower-rated brand.
IKO Nordic IR
  • Price per square foot: Cost will vary widely depending on your location.
  • Pros:
    • Extra blow-off protection.
    • Designed to lie down and stay down.
    • Built-in algae resistance.
    • Resilient fiberglass mat provides additional strength.
    • 130 mph wind warranty.
    • Class A fire-resistance rating.
    • Class 4 impact-resistance rating.
  • Cons:
    • Fewer color blends to choose from
IKO Marathon
  • Price per square foot: Cost will vary widely depending on your location.
  • Pros:
    • Weather-resistant design.
    • UV-resistant granules.
    • Fast, easy installation.
    • More affordable.
    • Four color blends.
    • 60 mph wind warranty.
    • Class A fire-resistance rating.
  • Cons:
    • Creates a flat appearance.
    • Not algae-resistant.
    • Does not have a Class 4 impact-resistance rating.

IKO Summary

Overall, IKO shingles have poor consumer ratings, but the company is working to improve their products. If you're considering using IKO shingles on the advice of your roofing contractor, it could be a decent choice, but you may want to look into a higher-rated brand.

Owens Corning

Owens Corning Duration
  • Price per square foot: Cost will vary widely depending on your location.
  • Pros:
    • Total Protection roof.
    • Underlayment and moisture barrier.
    • Extra coverage for shingles.
    • Proper attic ventilation.
    • Large selection of shingles.
    • Algae and wind protection.
    • Energy star shingles.
    • Class A fire-resistance rating.
    • Class H wind-resistance rating with a 130 mph wind warranty.
  • Cons:
    • Color variation issues.
    • Complaints of warranty misinformation.
    • Poor sealing in cold or cloudy weather.
    • Poor recycling record.
Owens Corning 3-Tab Supreme
  • Price per square foot: Cost will vary widely depending on your location.
  • Pros:
    • 25-year warranty.
    • Energy star rating.
    • Wide selection of colors available.
    • 60 mph wind warranty.
    • Class A fire resistant.
    • Class H wind resistant.
    • Traditional 3-tab appearance.
    • Good balance between curb appeal and weather resistance.
  • Cons:
    • Shingles do not conceal roof deck imperfections.
Owens Corning Berkshire
  • Price per square foot: Cost will vary widely depending on your location.
  • Pros:
    • Top-of-the-line shingles create an elegant, timeless look.
    • StreakGuard algae-resistance protection.
    • Limited lifetime warranty.
    • Unique shadow lines that add to the look of dimension.
    • Class A fire resistant
    • Class H wind resistant
  • Cons:
    • Expensive installation and material costs.

Owens Corning Summary

Owens Corning shingles are second in market share. The company produces high-quality shingles at a great price and has superior customer service in comparison to other brands. If OC shingles are correctly installed, you can be assured that you have a strong roof that will last for years.

GAF

Woodland Shingles
  • Price per square foot: Cost will vary widely depending on your location.
  • Pros:
    • Affordable.
    • Sophisticated design.
    • Custom color pallet.
    • Stays in place.
    • Features StainGuard algae protection.
    • Class A fire rating.
    • Wind warranty of 130 mph.
    • Good Housekeeping rated.
  • Cons:
    • Woodland shingles are not extreme weather-impact tested.
    • Not Energy Star rated.
Timberline Ultra HD
  • Price per square foot: Cost will vary widely depending on your location.
  • Pros:
    • Architecturally stylish.
    • Affordable.
    • Features a dimensional look.
    • DuraGrip Adhesive reduces the chance of blow-off.
    • StainGuard protection to reduce blue-green algae from staining shingles.
    • Good Housekeeping rated.
    • Creates a wood-shake look.
    • Wind rating of 130 mph.
  • Cons:
    • Limited color selection.
    • Not extreme weather-impact rated.
Royal Sovereign
  • Price per square foot: Cost will vary widely depending on your location.
  • Pros:
    • Affordable for those on a budget.
    • Upgraded warranties.
    • Strong wind resistance.
    • Highest fire-resistance rating.
    • Excellent durability.
    • Color Lock Ceramic Firing help maintain color.
    • Made with Advanced Protection Shingle Technology to reduce the number of natural resources needed for production.
  • Cons:
    • Roofing installers are not masters.
    • Warranty costs are unclear.

GAF Summary

GAF is one of the most popular roofing brands in the country and has consistently produced high-quality roofing materials. GAF shingles are sure to safeguard you from most weather elements. However, the biggest consumer complaint against the company is warranty hassles.

CertainTeed

Grand Manor
  • Price per square foot: Cost will vary widely depending on your location.
  • Pros:
    • Comprehensive warranties.
    • Includes a 10-year SureStart warranty that covers 100 percent of labor and replacement costs due to manufacturing defects.
    • Great choice for homes with steep, sloped roofs.
    • Strong impact resistance.
    • 110 mph wind-resistance warranty.
    • Class A fire resistance.
    • Wide selection of colors.
  • Cons:
    • High material and installation costs.
Landmark
  • Price per square foot: Cost will vary widely depending on your location.
  • Pros:
    • High-quality.
    • Triple-laminate shingle.
    • Strong, durable shingle.
    • Natural shadow lines.
    • Most affordable dimensional shingle.
    • Class-leading warranty.
    • Three-piece laminated fiberglass construction.
    • Available for export.
    • 110 mph wind-resistance guarantee.
  • Cons:
    • Expensive warranty extensions.
XT 30 IR
  • Price per square foot: Cost will vary widely depending on your location.
  • Pros:
    • Superior impact resistance.
    • Comprehensive warranty.
    • Designed with self-sealing adhesive strips.
    • Easy installation.
    • Extra-strong base to withstand hard impacts.
  • Cons:
    • Customers denied claims due to warranty hassles.
    • No wind-resistance warranty.

CertainTeed Summary

If you're planning on staying in your home indefinitely, then CertainTeed is a great choice. Their shingles are strong and have good consumer ratings. However, you'll want to ensure that you carefully choose a roofing contractor who will make sure your shingles are installed correctly.

Tamko

Elite Glass-Seal
  • Price per square foot: Cost will vary widely depending on your location.
  • Pros:
    • Wide selection of vivid shingle colors.
    • Fiberglass shingles are able to withstand hard impacts.
    • Features discoloration resistance.
    • UL listed for wind resistance.
    • Class A fire resistance.
  • Cons:
    • More susceptible to tearing.
    • Unsuitable for areas with winds that are stronger than 80 mph.
Heritage
  • Price per square foot: Cost will vary widely depending on your location.
  • Pros:
    • More affordable.
    • High-quality shingles.
    • Distinctive granule mix creates vivid color and textures.
    • 15 different colors are available.
    • Class A fire-resistance rating.
    • 90 mph wind rating.
  • Cons:
    • Limited warranties.
Heritage Premium
  • Price per square foot: Cost will vary widely depending on your location.
  • Pros:
    • Available in rustic hues and bold textures.
    • Adds warmth and dimension to your home.
    • Increases curb appeal.
    • Comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
    • Thicker than Heritage shingles.
    • Class A fire rating.
    • 110-130 mph wind rating.
  • Cons:
    • Difficult to determine warranty costs.

Tamko Summary

If you're looking for a more affordable shingle and are ok with a relatively limited warranty, Tamko is a perfect choice. Additionally, if you're planning on moving in a few years, Tamko shingles are a good choice because of the low cost. However, if you're willing to pay more for shingles that will last longer, you may want to consider another brand.

PABCO Roofing

Paramount Advantage
  • Price per square foot: Cost will vary widely depending on your location.
  • Pros:
    • Heavyweight, laminated design for extra durability.
    • Available in five colors.
    • Features an algae defender.
    • Limited lifetime warranty available.
    • Class A fire resistance.
    • 110 mph wind warranty.
  • Cons: High installation and roof shingle cost.
Tahoma
  • Price per square foot: Cost will vary widely depending on your location.
  • Pros:
    • Traditional shingle design.
    • Most affordable roof shingle from PABCO Roofing.
    • Very versatile.
    • Available in 9 colors.
    • Features a 3-tab design.
    • Class A fire-resistance rating.
    • 60 mph limited wind warranty.
  • Cons:
    • Not suitable for areas with winds over 60 mph.
Cascade
  • Price per square foot: Cost will vary widely depending on your location.
  • Pros:
    • Unique diamond shape is a good choice for homes with a steep roof.
    • Shingles feature an algae defender.
    • Features a diamond open tooth design.
    • Class A fire-resistance rating.
    • 110-130 mph wind warranty.
  • Cons:
    • Only available in four colors.

PABCO Roofing Review

Most customer reviews of PABCO Roofing shingles are positive. Consumers are pleased with the low price, thickness of shingles, and warranty coverage. Additionally, residents love the colors and curb appeal it adds to their homes and businesses. The primary complaint against their products is that they do require some upkeep.

Atlas

GlassMaster
  • Price per square foot: Cost will vary widely depending on your location.
  • Pros:
    • Creates a classic look.
    • Built-in algae resistance.
    • Comprehensive warranties.
    • Strong shingles that can withstand hard impacts.
    • Strong 3-tab shingles backed with a 30-year limited warranty.
    • 60 mph wind warranty.
  • Cons:
    • Don't seal well in cold weather.
    • Tend to crack if installed over rigid foam insulation.
Castlebrook 35
  • Price per square foot: Cost will vary widely depending on your location.
  • Pros:
    • Designed to give your home extra protection.
    • Atlas Signature Select Roofing System warranty available.
    • Has the ability to withstand strong winds.
    • Available in more than ten colors.
    • Class A fire-resistance rating.
    • Wind warranty of 150 mph.
  • Cons:
    • Excessive granule loss in areas with extreme weather conditions.
Legend
  • Price per square foot: Cost will vary widely depending on your location.
  • Pros:
    • Available in bold cuts and vivid colors.
    • Affordable cost.
    • Features ScotchGuard Protector to keep shingles from getting black algae streaks.
    • Signature Select-eligible.
    • Wind warranty of 150 mph.
    • Class A fire resistance.
  • Cons:
    • Warranty loopholes and lack of information.

Atlas Summary

Atlas is on the same level as GAF and Owens Corning, but their one advantage is that they do have better warranties. If you're searching for high-quality shingles at an affordable price, Atlas is a good choice.

The Verdict

In the end, the best shingles for your home depend on your location, budget, style, and climate. There are some asphalt shingles that are more suited for your area than others. You'll want to do careful research into each roofing manufacturer to ensure you choose a shingle that's best for you. To learn more about which shingles are best for you, click here.

Extend the Lifespan of Your Roof with Roof Maxx

Rather than spend the time and money completely replacing your roof, rejuvenate it with Roof Maxx. Our state-of-the-art roofing spray helps you avoid costly roofing repairs and puts life back into your asphalt shingles by replacing the critical oil that provides shingles with flexibility and waterproofing. With three treatments, you can extend the lifespan of your roof up to fifteen years.

Contact us to learn more about how Roof Maxx can save your roof.

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