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Everything you should know about asphalt shingle roofing

The market offers a wide array of asphalt shingles, from simple builder-grade to high-end textured ones. Depending on the material's grade, they all have a relatively long lifespan, from 15 to 30 years. Most people give their preference to asphalt roof shingles as they're easy to install and upkeep. Besides, the abundance of shingles' colors allows homeowners to coordinate the roof with the home's exterior. Below, we will take a closer look at the advantages and weak points of asphalt roofing, crunch the average installation prices and share a few tips regarding maintenance and cleaning.

Everything you should know about asphalt shingle roofing

What are asphalt roof shingles?

Generally, there are two common asphalt shingle types - organic and inorganic. Organic shingles utilize cellulose or cardboard as a reinforcing mat. This mat is covered with asphalt to ensure better water resistance. The top layer of mineral granules provides color and helps protect the asphalt layer.

Inorganic shingles are similar to organic ones, but in this case, the reinforcing mat is made out of synthetic material, such as fiberglass. Shingles made of fiberglass are lighter than organic products and less likely to crack or curl because of temperature fluctuations. 

If you want to install an asphalt shingle roof in a fire-prone area, consider fiberglass roofing with a Class A fire resistance because organic products are rated class B or C. Please note that although fiberglass shingles have a longer lifespan, they still require maintenance and proper cleaning.

Does asphalt shingle roofing fit your climate conditions?

As it's claimed by the manufacturer, an asphalt roof of a premium class should last not less than 30 years. However, an expected lifespan depends on the climate in a particular region. For instance, if you live in California, you don't have to worry about significant changes in temperature, algae, or ice, so your asphalt roof may last longer than in another state with a more challenging climate.

Those who live in areas with hot and long summers may find themselves replacing the roof with asphalt shingles more often than people from regions with cooler summers. However, severe winters may also take their toll on your roof because the ice may penetrate small cracks.

In subtropical areas, fungus and algae growth is the most common issue. In this case, you should conduct regular cleaning to protect your roof. You may opt for asphalt shingles with copper-covered ceramic granules to prevent moss and algae growth.

It makes sense to call out a pro roofer to conduct inspections once in a season to know if asphalt roof replacement is required. If you see missing, curled, lifted, or cracked shingles, it's time to replace them with newer ones.

What are the different types of asphalt shingles?

There are many roofing types available, so choosing the one that fits you best can be not an easy task. When it comes to asphalt shingles, you may pick one of the three types, each having its unique features and advantages.

  • Three-tab shingles. This is one of the most common roof types made of asphalt. Such tiles have three tabs (cutouts) in their lower half. They remain exposed after the installation, so each shingle looks like three separate tiles.
  • Architectural shingles. These tiles, also known as laminated or dimensional, are another common type of asphalt roofing that homeowners often choose for re-roofing projects. Architectural shingles don’t have cutouts, and they are also thicker than three-tab tiles.
  • Synthetic shingles. Also called luxury ones, these shingles are often used instead of expensive high-end roofing materials, such as cedar shake or natural slate. For instance, prices of roofing shingles that imitate slate can be 10 times lower than those of a natural slate roof. At the same time, a synthetic asphalt roof may look no different from a more expensive material.

How much do asphalt shingles cost?

Type of asphalt shingles                                Average price per square foot               
Three-tab $1 to $4.50
Architectural $4.50 to $5.50
Synthetic $5.50 to $9.50

The quality and longevity of the selected material affect the cost per square foot. Thus, the price of 30-year shingles made of architectural asphalt would cost around $450 per square. If you can't afford such a costly roofing option, you can always go for its counterpart from the 3-tab composition, which is as cheap as 0.90 cents per square foot.

Considering the average cost per square to install shingles, you should also calculate labor spending. Contractors' rates may vary depending on your region, the type and complexity of the roofing job, covering material, and a range of other factors. For instance, the cost might depend on whether you're installing a new asphalt shingle roof or replacing the existing one. Generally, you should expect to pay $1 to $3 per square for removing the current material.

Besides, the overall price depends on the steepness of your roof. Less steep roofs are more affordable to shingle than steep ones. If the pitch exceeds 9:12, a roofer will have to use additional safety equipment, and therefore the asphalt shingle roof costs for the homeowner will increase. 

The process of cleaning asphalt roofing

No matter how good the chosen shingles are, they still require proper maintenance. The main reason to keep asphalt roofing clean is to make sure it looks neat. Besides, regular cleaning also prevents moss and algae growth. As moss thrives, it gets thicker, taking more space between the shingles. Without regular cleaning, they may wear out, curl and crack. Such unevenness may fill with debris that will eventually lead to water buildup and make the roof prone to leakage.

Usually, asphalt roofing cleaning involves the use of various chemicals. However, if you care about the aesthetic aspect, you may avoid using harsh chemicals because they may shorten the lifespan of the asphalt shingles and ruin their visual appeal. 

The best way to go is to mix a chemical cleaner with water and bleach and carefully spray the obtained solution down your roof. Once the whole area is treated, take a break for about 15 minutes. After this, wash off the solution with a garden hose. Don’t apply too much pressure to avoid possible damage to the roof. If you notice problematic spots, you can also wash individual tiles until you’re satisfied with the result.

How to find an expert roofer to install an asphalt shingle?

As mentioned above, some asphalt roof shingles are easier to install than others. Therefore, it's essential to ensure that your contractor has the necessary experience to complete your project. Besides, the installation cost may change significantly depending on the state and town.

If you want to find a reliable contractor in your county, you will need to spend a lot of time and energy contacting different companies and discussing your project's details. Fortunately, you can save yourself the trouble using contractor-matching platforms like HomeQuote. 

The simple request form, dozens of offers from local roofers, clear-cut quotes, and knowledgeable support - the advantages of our platform are countless. The best part of it, though, is that you can use our service for zero cost. 

HomeQuote's platform automatically matches you with contractors who have the necessary experience. You can compare their offers in real time without the obligation to hire someone.

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