Best Roofing Shingles From Consumer Reports’ Tests
Top-rated 3-tab, architectural, and multilayered architectural asphalt shingles from Consumer Reports tests
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Consumer Reports just finished its first comprehensive review of asphalt roofing shingles in more than a decade, and found that the best of the batch are more than twice as strong as the competition.
For CRs roofing tests, we focus strictly on asphalt roofing shingles because theyre by far the most common choice for roofs. Asphalt shingles are easy to install, last anywhere from 10 to 50 years depending on the type, and are less expensive than other roofing materials, such as slate, tile, and metal.
The three types of asphalt shingles we test are: 3-tab, architectural/laminated, and multilayered architectural. The most common type are 3-tab shingles. These single-layer shingles are typically rated for winds up to only 60 mph and moderate impact from flying debris or hail. Architectural/laminated shingles have several layers and can withstand stronger winds and weather than 3-tabs. And multilayered architectural shingles are the toughest of the bunch, with some lines rated for winds of up to 110 mph.
Advantages Of Fiberglass Shingles
Here are a few benefits of installing fiberglass shingles.
- Increased insulation: The layer of glass fiber upsurges the heat resistance of these shingles, giving them a faintly sound shielding factor for your home.
- Fire resistance: The fiberglass in the shingle substitutes the paper-based material in organic asphalt shingles, making it an ideal option for fireproofing.
- Value: The shingles are thinner and use less asphalt. However, fiberglass shingles naturally cost the same as organic shingles but are durable.
What Are Class 4 Shingles
Class 4 shingles, also known as impact resistant shingles, or IR shingles can withstand more powerful impacts than any other type of roof shingles. As a result, they are better able to protect your roof from severe leaks and various types of structural damage that require expensive repairs or early roof replacement.
Class 4 shingles are rated to resist hail impact and are designed to withstand winds of up to 110 mph. This is the highest class of IR or impact resistant shingles you can get.
To obtain this special classification, roofing shingles must undergo very rigorous testing. This test is carried out by the Underwriters Laboratory . The UL came up with the UL 2218 classification alongside the Institute of Business and Home Safety that works in conjunction with roof shingles class ratings.
The name of the test is the UL 2218 Class 4 Impact Rating test. During the procedure, steel balls of different sizes are released onto shingles at 90 mph from heights ranging from 12 to 20 feet. The balls are dropped twice onto the same area.
If the shingles under-perform, i.e. get damaged, they receive a lower rating. Class 1 is reserved for the least resistant shingles.
This table summarizes the different classes of shingles based on the performance on the impact resistance test.
Class 4 impact-resistant shingles can be made using different roofing materials, such as asphalt, metal, or rubber. Here we will focus primarily of impact resistant asphalt shingles.
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Top Asphalt Shingle Manufacturers
IKO Asphalt Roofing Shingles effectively protect for your home and family against inclement weather. High end options that can mimic the sought-after designer look and beauty of genuine slate tiles or wood shakes. Many have Class A fire ratings. Except for the Marathon and Cambridge, the rest have high wind resistance ratings.
- Traditional 3-Tab
- Cambridge: Basic architectural shingles with straight, not angled, cuts.
- Dynasty: Dimensional shingle with a high wind rating and algae resistance.
- Nordic: Dimensional shingle with a high wind rating, algae resistance and class 4 impact resistance.
- Crown Slate: Performance designer shingle that mimics slate.
- Armourshake: Performance designer shingle that mimics wood shake.
- Royal Estate: Performance designer shingle that mimics slate
Owens Corning currently offers nine lines of shingles with varying wind resistances. All except the 3-tab come with a limited lifetime warranty. Owens Corning TruDefinition Duration laminated architectural shingles start at $35 and can cost as much as $50, depending on color and style.
- Duration: mid-priced architectural shingles
- Woodmoor: Same as Woodcrest but thicker and heavier.
- Supreme: Standard 3-tab.
Ready to start your asphalt shingle installation?
Standing Seam Metal Roofing
The most common type of metal roof is the standing seam roof, so named because the aluminum or steel roofing panels meet in raised seams that interlock to keep moisture out. Metal roofs of all kinds are increasingly popular in regions with heavy snowfall or where there is a notable danger of wild fires since this is a roofing material that is fully fireproof.
Metal roofs are very long-lived and are fully recyclable when they finally do wear out. But installation requires special skills and not every roofing company is prepared to install a standing seam metal roof.
Costs typically run from $6 to $12 per square foot, installed. Metal roofs commonly last 30 to 50 years, but some have been known to last 75 years.
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Invest In A Quality Asphalt Roof Over Going Cheap
Getting a new asphalt shingle roof isnt going to be cheap. Thats why we call replacing your asphalt roof an investment.
To get the most out of asphalt shingle roof, you have to invest in quality over trying to get the cheapest roof possible. If you decide to go cheap, youre going to get the cheapest materials and the cheapest labor possible.
When you pay for this cheap labor and materials, it shows in the finished quality of your roof, which will cost you more money in the long run with repairs and eventually a full asphalt roof replacement. You also wont qualify for the enhanced warranty even if you get dimensional or luxury shingles.
To learn more about why its crucial to invest in a quality asphalt roof replacement, read this article on 3 ways “cheap” roof systems cost more in the long run.
Other Types Of Shingles
You may also hear the terms hip and ridge shingles and starter strips. These shingles match the overall style and construction of the main shingle that your roofing professional installs on your roof. However, they are specially shaped or designed to make installation easier.
In order to install shingles on the hips and ridges of a roof, professional roofers used to have to take a shingle and cut it into strips, then line the strips up and down the hips and ridges. This became a challenge when thicker laminate shingles became standard, as they were harder to cut and harder to bend over the ridge. To make things easier for roofers, manufacturers invented hip and ridge shingles in matching colors that dont need to be cut to be installed.
Starter strips or starter shingles are the first shingles that your professional roofer applies on the roof. Starter strips provide a solid sealant strip to bond the first course of main shingles to the roof. This sealant protects the roof substrate where there are gaps, joints or cutouts in the first course of shingles. They may also act as guides to ensure the roofer achieves the correct pattern on the rest of the roof.
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Advantages Of Asphalt Shingles
Asphalt shingles come with numerous pros for a better roofing experience. Here are the reasons you should roof using asphalt shingles.
- Easy to Install: Asphalt shingles are very light and easy to cut, hence easy to install. You dont need special tools or exhausting preparations. This means that you will only have a few days to have a splendid roof over your head.
- Flexibility: Asphalt shingles can cover distinct roof shapes, forms, and angles. The roofing material works well with any roof, including a Dutch gable to cross-hipped.
- Environmentally Friendly: You can easily recycle asphalt shingles. The products quality gets better after recycling as opposed to other roofing materials. In addition, many organizations focus on the disposal of shingles. This guarantees that only a tiny fraction of shingles get to the environment.
- Durable: The asphalt shingles durability outshines other roofing materials in the market. Also, the roofing shingles provide resistance against extreme natural events like snow, rain, and hot temperatures. The type of roofing materials come with an opening to emit any heat or moisture confined in your roofs upper floor.
- Less Costly: Among the roofing materials you can get in the market, asphalt shingles are among the most affordable choice. This makes it an ideal option for home builders on a low budget.
- Easy to Replace: You can easily replace your asphalt shingles. You can also replace the shingles one at a time without replacing the whole roof.
How Long Do Fiberglass Shingle Roofs Last
Fiberglass shingles can last anywhere from 25 to 50 years, while traditional asphalt shingles usually last a maximum of 15 years. . If you install fiberglass roofing and go with a more expensive roofing brand you can expect a longer life expectancy, better durability, and longer warranties for your roof.
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What Are Composite Roof Shingles
Materials like asphalt, slate, laminate, tar paper, wood and fiberglass make up composite shingles. By mixing these materials together, composite shingles can outperform many single-material alternatives.
In addition, composite shingles can come from completely recycled material. They also can include additives that increase protection.
What Are The 3 Types Of Asphalt Shingles
The three types of asphalt shingles are 3-tab, dimensional, and luxury. While 3-tab used to dominate the market, dimensional shingles are the most common type installed on roofs today.
Luxury style shingles are just as heavily marketed as dimensional but are almost double the price. Continue reading to learn how the types of asphalt shingles match up on key factors such as cost, warranties, and lifespan.
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Common Types Of Roofing Shingles
When it comes to residential roofing materials, you will find a wide range of options on the market today. The same can be said for shingles. Shingles are a popular roofing material choice for homeowners because of their variability in material, a wide range of cost, ease of replacement, and general durability. With each type of shingle, there are different shingle styles that add even more variety to this roofing material. There are four main types of roofing shingles: asphalt, tile, wood, and slate.
Slate Tile Roofing Shingles
Slate roofing shingles are a stone roofing material that is installed as a shingle. Slate shingles are thin but very heavy when the whole roof is made out of them. Slate has a natural beauty to it that many people appreciate, but the shingles do not really vary in color or looks. Slate roofing shingles cost on average $8 to $14 per square foot or $800 to $1,400 per square to install. Slate tiles are more difficult to install but when done properly they will give you one of the longest-lasting roof options available. Slate shingles come with an expensive price tag, but that does not mean that slate is not a great roof type option if you can afford it. Many people decide slate roofs are worth the cost to install since they will last more than a lifetime from 60 to 150 years.
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What Are Composition Shingles
First, lets discuss composition shingles. Composition is a general term for shingles that are made of more than one material. Slate shingles are not composition shingles, as they are made of a single material, slate.
Technically, all modern asphalt shingles are composition shingles. Modern shingles are made of fiberglass thats covered by asphalt and granules. Many years ago, manufacturers produced another composition shingle made of asphalt and cellulose . However, these are no longer made. All of the types of shingles well talk about below are fiberglass shingles.
Are Roof Shingles Nailed Down
Each type of shingle would be secured in its own way. Asphalt, composite, wood, tile, rubber, and metal shingles would be nailed down. But there is a certain way to drive the nails for each material. Concrete and solar shingles would use their own specific types of adhesives. And, slate uses nails for support, instead of being nailed down.
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Types Of Roofing Shingles
In addition to maintaining the integrity of your roofs structure and helping to keep out water, roofing shingles also add a tremendous amount of curb appeal and value to your home. The type of roofing shingles you choose can also affect your roofs durability against wind, rain, hail, and other weather events.
Learn more about the different types and styles of roofing shingles.
What Are Roof Shingles
Roof shingles are just one element that make up a residential roofing system and act as a roof covering. The shingle is typically made of asphalt, fiberglass mat, and ceramic coated granules. They’re often installed in overlapping layers or courses. When installed as part of a complete roofing system, shingles help protect your home from from water infiltration.
Shingles are generally rectangular in shape for a consistent look, although some are more irregular to appear handcrafted. Shingles are used as the primary water shedding material and they may be made out of many different types of materials, including asphalt, metal, wood, clay, concrete, and slate.
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Owens Corning Duration Shingles
Our personal favorite asphalt shingle is the Owens Corning Duration® Shingle, which provides complete protection from winds up to 130 mph. These shingles come in a variety of beautiful styles and colors, which add immediate curb appeal and distinguishable character to your home. There are numerous protective elements added to this shingle including SureNail which is a fabric strip on your shingle that holds it together, makes the nailing process easier, which ultimately results in a more secure layer of protection over you and your familys heads.
How To Shingle A Roof
As you can imagine, installing shingles on a roof is going to depend on the type of shingles chosen. In some situations, its a good idea to call in a professional, especially if this isnt the kind of thing youve done before. If you want to know how to install roof shingles, here is a simple 15-step tutorial that can guide you or at least give you a moderate idea on what to expect:
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Best Metal Roof Shingles
If you want to install metal shingles over your house, you have an unprecedented variety of profiles, styles and colors to choose from.
In recent years, metal roofing shingles have grown in popularity because of an unbeatable combination of features. They are less expensive than standing seam panels, beautifully replicate the look of other upscale roofing materials, offer a long service life and great energy savings.
We have picked the top 7 products from the most reputable manufacturers any one of them can become your forever roof.
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How Cr Tests Roofing Shingles
Our roofing tests focus on a shingles strength and how well it maintains its appearance over time. We apply force to the shingles by using a calibrated machine, called an Instron, that applies force, replicating everything from ferocious winds to fallen tree limbs.
We test the thickest part of each single, which is where the largest number of layers overlap. And we also test the thinnest partstypically near the edgeswhere theres often only one layer of material, because these are the weak spots that can lead to loose or cracked shingles, and eventually, leaks. We also drop 5-pound weights from various heights, to simulate heavy hail, and see which shingles bend, dent, or crack from the impact. To see how the shingles stand up over time to sun and rain, we use a machine that exposes them to 500 hours’ worth of UV light that’s as bright as the midday sun and water sprays that mimic strong rain.
Below, CR members with digital access can read ratings and reviews of three top-performing shingles from our tests. Check our latest roofing ratings for detailed results for 16 different lines of asphalt roofing shingles. For information on roofing materials and installation, see our Roofing Buying Guide.
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How Long The 3 Types Of Asphalt Shingles Actually Last
You learned the lifespan of each of the types of asphalt shingles earlier in this article. But will your asphalt shingle roof actually live that long?
As long as your asphalt roof is properly installed and your attic is adequately ventilated, its going to get as close as possible to the manufacturers specified lifespan. While these 2 factors are crucial to every roofs life, they arent the only things that affect how long your asphalt roof will live.
To learn more about what affects the life of your asphalt shingle roof, read this article on how long you can expect your asphalt roof to last.
Wood Shingle Or Shakes
Wood roofs are very attractive, but they are also quite expensive and have limitations. They are not particularly long-lived, and they are a poor choice in areas that get lots of moisture or where wildfires are a danger. Still, they are among the most attractive of all roofing materials, which makes them a popular choice for luxury homes.
Although both are made from natural wood, usually cedar or redwood, there is a difference between wood shakes and shingles. Shingles are typically thin, wedge-shaped slabs of wood that are produced by precise sawing. Shakes are produced by splitting wood and they are thicker wedges with a rougher texture.
Shingles typically cost about $4.50 to $9 per square foot, installed shakes are more expensive, with average costs of $6.50 to $14 per square foot, installed. Longevity depends very much on circumstances and maintenance. In relatively dry climates a wood shingle or shake roof can last 60 years in damp conditions, you may only get 20-30 years from the roof.
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