Shingles remain the number one roofing material of choice. But if you are in the market for a new roof, how much do you really know about this popular option? Did you know that there are several different types that feature their own benefits?
Shingle is really just a generic term referring to the overlapping nature of individual roofing components. There are actually many material options for shingle roofing systems. How does a homeowner know which style is best for their home? Here’s a handy guide to understanding roofing shingles, as well as how to select the right professional for roof shingles installation in Northville, Michigan.
This is, by and large, the most affordable roofing material available. It is also the most widely used material for a home’s topmost barrier. But even with asphalt shingles there are choices. Among asphalt shingles, there are, generally, 4 options:
A fiberglass base-mat underlies the asphalt shingle. Between the mat and the shingle surface is a waterproof coating. Urea-formaldehyde bonds these layers together. Mineral fillers are often added to the asphalt coating to enhance waterproofing characteristics. The benefits of opting for fiberglass asphalt shingles:
Warranty: 15-25 years
Durability: Lifespan of 20-30 years
Suitability For Michigan: Fiberglass shingles can become so cold they will crack during installation. Plan your Michigan roofing job featuring fiberglass shingles in warmer weather months. Asphalt shingles are also not recommended on low-pitch roofing systems.
Gaining popularity, this roofing material option consists of asphalt shingles mingled with elements like recycled cardboard or paper, wood chips and even recycled fabrics. If the term “felt mat asphalt shingles” is discovered while browsing roofing material options, it is referring to organic shingles. Key features:
Heavier than fiberglass shingles
Shorter life expectancy than fiberglass shingles
Suitability For Michigan: Organic shingles are prone to saturation. In Michigan’s freezing winters, this can spell disaster for a roof that is exposed to sub-zero temperatures several months out of the year. Organic shingles that often freeze tend to degrade faster, become brittle and experience more breakage than other roofing options.
The most common design for asphalt shingles, three regularly spaced tabs create a regular pattern with the shingles. The result is a flat, one-dimensional appearance of layered shingles. To create this uniformity, shingles are thin yet still perform well with other attractive benefits:
Warranty: 15-25 years
Durability: Lifespan of 20-30 years
Suitability For Michigan: The thin nature of 3 tab asphalt shingles creates a vulnerability to become brittle in the freezing temperatures common to Michigan.
Architectural asphalt shingles may also be referred to as dimensional shingles. That’s because they feature two layers of materials with a curved effect. The result is what many luxury homeowners are looking for: performance and affordability of asphalt with the look of wood or stone tile. Roofs take on a more ornate, custom appearance. Such options reproduce the illusion of higher-end materials yet without the high-end price tag. However, designer architectural asphalt shingles are stilll more costly than their traditional asphalt counterparts. But homeowners get more than just beauty for the extra expense:
Enhanced fire-resistant properties
Warranty: 40-50 years are not uncommon
Enhanced UV resistance
Enhanced wind resistance, heaviest grade can withstand 130 mph winds
Custom colors and finishes
Suitable for any pitch design
Suitability For Michigan: If an asphalt shingle roofing system is to deliver the best performance possible in Michigan’s climate, upgrade to architectural shingles.
Asphalt Shingle Alternatives
There are many options to standard asphalt shingles. A homeowner may wonder if any are more suitable than others for Michigan’s climate. Affordability is the primary reason asphalt shingles remain in high-demand. However, if a certain aesthetic is desired for a home’s roofing system, cost becomes the secondary consideration. Here are the most common shingle systems when homeowners opt out of asphalt:
Wood: Also called “shake”, this type of material always presents a greater fire hazard. They also have a shorter lifespan, being prone to mold, rot and splitting. Michigan’s freezing temperatures should be considered where splitting is concerned.
Slate: Although expensive, the charm and elegance of slate is hard to resist. It also performs better against fire and wind. Of all shingle materials, it features the longest lifespan but requires a steep pitch for installation. Slate is also the heaviest roofing material. It may be necessary to reinforce the existing roofing structure if upgrading to slate. However, a lifespan of a century or more makes it all worth it for your Michigan home.
Solar: Federal tax credits and going green has great appeal for the new generation of solar shingles now available. They resemble asphalt shingles yet, overall, save a homeowner money and actually increase the home’s value. Perfectly suited for Michigan’s climate which gets, on average, 180 sunny days every year.
Clay/Tile: With beauty and lifespans comparable to slate, these materials also are heavy and require a strong support structure. Although less expensive than slate, clay and ceramic are also more fragile and prone to chipping and cracking. In Michigan, where a winter hailstorm is common, this might not be the roofing material of choice. Sturdier slate should be preferred.
Finding A Professional: Now that you have determined your best shingle option, it’s time to find a roofing company. It may be tempting to get a recommendation from a neighbor. But when it comes to replacing the most critical infrastructure of your home, it pays to do the right research. Here are 10 things to consider on your roofing company quest:
Permits & Inspections: Before a single shingle is removed, a permit needs to be in hand. If not, a homeowner can get stuck with fines and fees. Ask each roofing company if they handle the permit process and any required final inspection by local authorities.
Recommendations: It’s great to interview roofing companies that have been recommended by friends and family members that you trust. But don’t be afraid to broaden the scope of your search. Reputable roofers will have a portfolio of completed jobs that can be referred to. Quality work will result in satisfied customers happy to provide a recommendation. Take the time to follow-up with the referrals they provide.
Online Reviews: Any contractor worth their salt in this day and time will have an online presence. That means online reviews should be available. Angie’s List, Yelp, Google Business Pages, check them all out. Visit a company’s social media pages, like Facebook or Twitter, and see what the latest chatter is all about.
Business Organizations: Organizations like the Better Business Bureau (BBB) are great resources to find out more information about any company.
Credentials: What kind of trade certifications does a contractor carry? Are their technicians trained in any specialties or particular roofing materials, like GAF?
Roots: How long has a roofing company been in business? What are their ties to the local community? Without old-fashioned brick-and-mortar roots, you could find yourself regretting a sub-par roofing system installed by a fly-by-night roofer who is nowhere to be found.
Contract Details: Don’t be shy when it comes to discussing the details of a bid. What exactly is included in a contract? Are you just getting a roofing system? Don’t forget that tearing out an old roof and installing a new one can be a messy job. Who is responsible for the cost of site clean-up and removal of waste and old roofing materials? Find out up-front and avoid unexpected costs at the outcome.
Insurance: Again, don’t just take a contractor’s word for it that it carries proper insurance coverage. Confirm that liability and Workers’ Compensation coverages are in place. Placing a call to a contractor’s insurance provider is a quick and easy way to make sure that coverage is up-to-date.
Warranty: In addition to any warranty attached to the materials used, what kind of warranty does a contractor offer for their own workmanship? This says a lot about what a roofing company thinks of itself. The best roofing company, confident in their craft, will offer a no-leak, money-back guarantee on the quality of their work.
Did you know that there is one contractor in Michigan with more than 25 years of experience installing, repairing and maintaining roofing systems? GAF certified and offering one of the best workmanship warranties in the industry, why not streamline your contractor search and contact us?