Parts of a Roof: Shingles

When you think of the word “roofing,” you typically picture what you can see on top of a home or business – the shingles! While there are many elements to your roofing system, such as the roof decking, underlayment and drip edge, the most aesthetic and crucial item is your shingles.

Shingles are the most common sloped roofing material! Other options do exist: metal for sloped roofs and rubber for flat roofs. Yet, shingles continue to be the most popular option when homeowners reroof their house.

What are shingles?

Roofing shingles are materials that overlap and seal onto each other, creating a water-shedding barrier that looks great and lasts for years. The lifespan of shingles varies based on the manufacturer and style. However, most shingles last about 20-30 years!

This exterior roofing material was created to protect the roof decking and underlayment from all weather conditions. 

joyland roofing roofer installing GAF timberline shingles over top GAF feltbuster underlayment with the caption "The purpose of shingles is to protect the roof decking & underlayment from water & sun damage"

Types of Shingles

A few types of shingles exist: asphalt shingles, wood shingles, and metal shingles. The most common roofing shingle is asphalt.

What are asphalt shingles made of?

Asphalt shingles are not 100% made from asphalt. They are made of asphalt, glass fibers, and mineral granules. This combination of elements makes for a moisture wicking, durable shingle. 

What should I know about asphalt shingles?

Not all shingles are created equal.

If your roof is over 15 years old, it’s likely time to have your roof inspected by a roofing professional. Many roofing systems installed 15+ years ago were not made to last as long as they are now.

Today, improved shingle manufacturing technology has created an expectation that shingles will last more than twice as long!

worn out and discolored 3-tab shingles taken by a joyland roofing inspector with the caption "If your shingles are discolored or lack granules, they've reached the end of their life"

With shingles missing or blowing off or a very noticeable discoloration from their original shade, it’s likely the tabs have reached the end of their life.  

Our friends at GAF warranty their shingle roofs for 50 years. These powerful, modern shingles will keep your home safe, dry, and worry-free. With shingles like GAF’s on the market, there’s no reason to settle for a roof that’s not going to stand the test of time.

It’s Not Just About the Shingle

Shingles have come a long way, and that’s great, but that doesn’t mean much without old-fashioned quality workmanship.

Shingles have to be installed with an attention to detail that ensures the nails are placed correctly and the overlap of the shingles is perfect. This way, you can know that the interior of your home is safe from potential leaking in the future. 

A chance the manufacturer’s materials could fail is possible. That’s why, many shingle manufacturers offer a strong warranty because they believe in their product. 

shingles and underlayment are prepared for installing a flat roof below the shingled portion by a joyland roofing roofer with the caption "Select a shingle manufacturer and roof installer that back up their product & workmanship with warranties"

However, if it’s not a manufacturer imperfection, you’ll want to have a workmanship warranty included with your roof replacement. Finding a roofer that offers a promise on the work their crew will do and has great reviews is a great start!

If you think you will move before your workmanship warranty expires, find out if your roofing contractor will stand behind their workmanship warranty when the home changes ownership!

What About Shingle Color?

Choosing a new color of shingles is a tough decision for a lot of our customers. It makes sense – if you’re going to be looking at them for fifty years, you want to make the right choice.

You will want to choose a color that complements your home’s exterior, but you will also want a shingle color that has a positive impact on your home’s energy usage. Whatever color shingle you choose, your roofing contractor can match your drip edge and gutters to make your home look pristine!

If you’re getting a new roof and aren’t sure what color works best with your home, we recommend checking out GAF’s Style Guide for shingle-picking tips.

You can even use their Virtual Home Remodeler to see different shingle colors and designs on your own home.

 

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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2018 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness in January 2021.