What are the different types of shingles I can get for my home?

  • Composite Shingles which are made from primarily asphalt and fiberglass
  • 3 Tab Shingles (flat plain appearance)
  • Architectural Shingles (profiled shingles)
    • Standard
    • High Profile
    • Impact Resistant

Composite Shingles

Composite shingles are what most people think of when they picture a residential roof. More than 90% of homes in the United States, and more than 95% of homes in the greater Austin area use composite shingles. Shingles are comprised of layers of asphalt and fiberglass that are woven together. The thicker the shingle, the more interwoven layers there are. Composite shingles are also impregnated with ceramic pebbles, called granules. These granules are what give shingles their sandpaper-like texture. The granules also protect the shingle, as they reflect the sun’s heat away from the roof. For many years, composite shingles were made of primarily asphalt, a petroleum product, but in more recent years filler materials like limestone have helped improve the quality of composite shingles, while reducing their dependency on petroleum. Over 90 percent of residential roofing in the United States is composite roofing.

Variations in composite roofing:

There are two styles of composite shingles that dominate the residential market, 3-tab and architectural.

Architectural Shingles

A step up from 3-tab shingles in terms of thickness, longevity and style, architectural shingles have more of a 3 dimensional look to them. There are no cuts across them, but because there are profile changes, the shingle has a more detailed appearance. Standard architectural shingles typically weigh about 230 pounds per square (a 10 foot by 10 foot area). Within the architectural shingle family, there are also high profile architectural shingles, which are thicker than standard architectural shingles, typically weighing upwards of 335 pounds per square. There are also Impact resistant architectural shingles, which are impregnated with SBS modified rubber in an effort to drastically reduce damage from hail stones or other foreign objects that might impact a roof in high wind areas. High Impact shingles have become extremely popular in Texas in recent years because of the large insurance incentives homeowners receive for using them (anywhere from 20-30% reduction in Homeowners Insurance premiums).

Metal Roofing:

Metal roofing has been around for many years, but recent design improvements and the addition of other non-metallic elements have helped transform the industry from something as simple as tin on an old barn to an upscale alternative for some homeowners. Most metal roofing is designed to last forever, and subsequently it has a price tag to match. However, like the composite roofing market, there are variations in metal roofing as well. Metal roofs today are generally made from either steel, which can range in price from anywhere from $600-$1400 per square, aluminum ($1400-$2100), or copper which costs a homeowner more than $4000 per square.

Standing Seam:

These roofs have a seam or fold every 8 to 12 inches moving horizontally across the roof. Originally designed for commercial purposes, standing seam roofs soon found their way onto residential homes. Standing seam roofs are typically less popular here in Texas because of our climate. As metal heats up, it expands and contracts very readily, and often times it will wrinkle, giving the home a “cheapened look.”

Tiled or Panel Roofs:

These roofs are a more logical option for customers in the greater Austin area, as they have been designed and manufactured with more weather sensitivity. These panels, or tiles, are much smaller than the pieces used in standing seam roofs. In fact they are pre cut pieces are sized more like traditional composite shingles. These shingles float so that they allow expansion and contraction without buckling. They also lock to one another assuring for more solid fastening. Tiled roofs certainly provide an upscale look and add longevity to a home.

Copper Roofs:

There are copper roofs in the United States that are over 300 years old. A homeowner who decides to invest in a copper roof is making a major architectural statement and is generally trying to construct something akin to a monument. They are making a statement that will last for generations.

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