Asphalt shingles are the most common form of roofing material used in the United States, primarily because they are so affordable. With a wide variety of colors and styles, asphalt shingle roofs are an economical and attractive way to spruce up your residence. One criticism of shingles used to be that the boring or repetitive look caused every roof on the block to look the same. Those days are over thanks to the advent of dimensional shingles.
Dimensional shingles, also known as architectural or laminated shingles, are asphalt shingles with a twist. Regular asphalt shingles have three regularly spaced asphalt tabs, giving the roofing material a very repetitive pattern. Dimensional shingles have two layers of shingle material bonded together. However, random notches have been taken out of the shingle, exposing the bottom layer. This gives these new shingles a three dimensional look, with different high and low tabs.
Because of the double bonded layer, dimensional shingles actually offer more protection from wind and hail — with the heaviest grades able to withstand 120 mph winds. They also have a longer lifespan — 40 years compared to the average 20 years for the single layer asphalt shingles. Click here for more information on the Pros and Cons of Dimensional Shingles (link to the What are Dimensional Shingles article).
Advantages to asphalt shingles:
- Affordable: A big advantage of asphalt shingle roofs, including dimensional shingles, is their cost. Because they are easy to manufacture and to install, asphalt shingles are inexpensive compared to other roofing materials.
- Easy Installation: Asphalt shingle roofs are easy to install, flexible and sturdy, making them compatible with many roof designs.
- Look Great: Asphalt shingles come in dozens of designs and textures, including the new dimensional asphalt shingles. Also, asphalt roof shingles can be manufactured to look like more expensive, natural materials. You can have a roof that looks like cedar shakes, slate, tile, or wood.
- Light Weight: Materials like slate are extremely heavy and may not be suitable for certain types of roofs. Although asphalt shingles are not the lightest material (foam has that honor), they are compatible with almost every roof type.
Some roofing materials require regular maintenance (like shake shingles), whereas asphalt shingles require almost no maintenance. While they aren’t as tough as tile shingles, they do hold up fairly well to the challenges of Mother Nature. If they are damaged, asphalt shingles are easily repaired and cheap to replace by qualified roof replacement and maintenance experts.
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