asphalt shingles guide

Table of Contents


When it comes to roofing materials, asphalt shingles have remained a popular choice for homeowners across North America. With their durability, versatility, and affordability, it’s no wonder that over 80% of American homes have shingle roofs. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the different types of asphalt shingles, their benefits, and the installation process. Whether you’re considering a new roof or looking to replace your existing one, this guide will provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision.

Why Choose Asphalt Shingles?

Asphalt shingles have a long-standing reputation for their numerous benefits. They are versatile and can be installed on a variety of roof slopes and angles. Additionally, they come in a wide range of colors and designs, making it easy to find the perfect match for your home’s aesthetic. Asphalt shingles are also cost-effective, making them an affordable roofing option for many homeowners. Furthermore, they are wind-, fire-, and impact-resistant, providing excellent protection for your home. Lastly, asphalt shingles resist the growth of algae and mold, ensuring a clean and healthy roof.

Types of Asphalt Shingles

There are three main types of asphalt shingles: 3-tab shingles, Laminated shingles, and Mosaic shingles. Each type offers its own unique features and benefits, catering to different budgetary and aesthetic preferences.

1. 3-Tab Shingles

3-tab shingles, also known as strip shingles, are the most basic and affordable type of asphalt shingles. They consist of a single layer of asphalt and have a flat, one-dimensional appearance. While they may lack the depth and texture of other shingle types, 3-tab shingles are lightweight and easy to install. They typically have a lifespan of 15 to 20 years, making them a cost-effective option for homeowners on a tight budget.

2. Laminated Shingles

Laminated shingles, also referred to as architectural or dimensional shingles, offer a more sophisticated and visually appealing look compared to 3-tab shingles. These shingles are constructed with multiple layers of asphalt, giving them a three-dimensional appearance and enhanced durability. Architectural shingles can mimic the look of wood shake or natural slate, adding depth and texture to your roof. With a lifespan of up to 30 years, architectural shingles provide a longer-lasting roofing solution compared to 3-tab shingles.

3. Mosaic Shingles

Mosaic shingles are a unique type of asphalt shingle that mimics the appearance of traditional tile or stone roofs. They are made up of multiple smaller shingle pieces with different shapes, sizes, and colors. Mosaic shingles create a visually appealing mosaic-like pattern on the roof, adding elegance and individuality to the overall architectural design. They combine the durability and easy installation of asphalt shingles with the aesthetic appeal of premium roofing materials.

Benefits of Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles offer numerous benefits that make them a popular choice for homeowners. Here are some key advantages of choosing asphalt shingles for your roof:

  • Versatility: Asphalt shingles are available in various colors, styles, and designs, allowing homeowners to find the perfect match for their home’s architectural style.
  • Durability: Asphalt shingles are designed to withstand the elements and provide reliable protection for your home. They are resistant to wind, fire, and impact damage.
  • Easy Installation: Asphalt shingles are lightweight and easy to install, reducing labor costs and installation time.
  • Affordability: Compared to other roofing materials, asphalt shingles are relatively inexpensive, making them accessible to a wide range of budgets.
  • Low Maintenance: Once installed, asphalt shingles require minimal maintenance. Regular inspections and cleaning are typically sufficient to keep them in good condition.
  • Energy Efficiency: Some asphalt shingles are designed to reflect heat, helping to keep your home cooler and potentially reducing energy costs.
  • Warranty Options: Many manufacturers offer warranties on their asphalt shingles, providing peace of mind and protection against defects and premature failure.

Installation Process

Proper installation is crucial to ensure the longevity and performance of your asphalt shingle roof. While it is possible to install asphalt shingles as a DIY project, it is recommended to hire a professional roofing contractor for optimal results. Here is a general overview of the installation process:

  • Preparation: The existing roof may need to be removed, and the surface inspected for any underlying damage or issues. Necessary repairs and reinforcements are made before proceeding with the installation.
  • Underlayment Installation: A layer of underlayment, typically made of felt or synthetic material, is installed to provide additional protection against moisture.
  • Flashing Installation: Flashing, made of metal or other waterproof material, is installed around the roof penetrations and valleys to prevent water leakage.
  • Starter Shingle Installation: Starter shingles are placed along the eaves of the roof to provide a solid foundation for the rest of the shingles.
  • Shingle Installation: Shingles are installed from the bottom edge of the roof, overlapping each other to ensure proper water drainage. Nails are used to secure the shingles in place.
  • Ridge Cap Installation: Ridge caps, specially designed shingles, are installed along the ridges of the roof to provide a finished and watertight seal.
  • Clean-Up: Once the installation is complete, the job site is thoroughly cleaned, and any debris is removed.

Finding a Reliable Roofing Contractor

When it comes to installing or replacing your asphalt shingle roof, it is important to hire a reputable and experienced roofing contractor. Here are some tips to help you find the right professional for the job:

  • Research: Look for local roofing contractors with a proven track record of quality workmanship and customer satisfaction. Read reviews and ask for recommendations from friends, family, or neighbors.
  • Credentials and Insurance: Ensure that the contractor is licensed, insured, and bonded. This protects you from liability in case of accidents or property damage during the installation process.
  • Experience: Choose a contractor with extensive experience in installing asphalt shingle roofs. Ask for examples of their previous work and inquire about any special certifications or training they have.
  • Written Estimates: Obtain written estimates from multiple contractors and compare the scope of work, materials used, and pricing. Avoid contractors who provide vague or verbal estimates.
  • Warranties: Inquire about the warranties offered by the contractor and the manufacturer of the asphalt shingles. A reputable contractor should provide warranty coverage for both materials and labor.
  • Communication and Professionalism: Choose a contractor who communicates effectively, answers all your questions, and provides detailed explanations of the installation process. Professionalism, punctuality, and responsiveness are important factors to consider.


Asphalt shingles are a popular and versatile roofing material that offers durability, affordability, and a wide range of design options. Whether you opt for the budget-friendly 3-tab shingles, the visually appealing architectural shingles, or the mosaic shingles, you can enjoy the benefits of a reliable and aesthetically pleasing roof. Remember to choose a reputable roofing contractor for the installation to ensure a successful and long-lasting roofing project. With proper installation and regular maintenance, your asphalt shingle roof can provide protection and enhance the beauty of your home for years to come.

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