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Asphalt Shingles Pros/Cons Benefits & Weaknesses

Out of all the types of roofing materials out there, asphalt fiberglass shingles are one of the most commonly used. A couple of the big reasons they are so widely used are their cost and their wide range of different looks and colors.

Asphalt Shingle Cost Pros/Cons

If you want a cheap roof, asphalt shingles are the way to go. If you want a really nice looking roof for your $500,000 home asphalt shingles have something to offer you too. Plus there’s lots of options in between.

If you’re on a strict budget you can go with a very basic architectural asphalt shingle and still get a solid roof over your head that won’t cause you any problems. Because the materials are cheaper than anything else on the market right now, and they are relatively quick to install, prices can be kept down pretty well.

Asphalt shingle prices go up quite high as well, a “Super Shangle” like Grand Manor is about 4 times more expensive than a regular architectural shingle just for the material, and it takes a lot of pre-planning to install so the cost of labor goes up quite a bit too.

By far the biggest factor that determines how much a new roof costs is the contractor. Even using the same basic materials, prices between contractors can fluctuate wildly. This is mostly due to the materials and accessories that you don’t see, plus how much time is taken to do the work. Obviously it will cost more to hire a contractor that uses high quality materials and takes their time to install the roof right, than to hire a company that’s all about speed and laying shingles down.

Asphalt Shingle Life Pros/Cons

If you want a roof that will last 50+ years, asphalt shingles may not be the way to go. But then again, in order to get a roof that will be maintenance free for 50 years is just about impossible.

The average lifespan for an asphalt fiberglass shingle is somewhere between 20 years and 50 years, depending on weather conditions, exposure to the elements, and what type of shingles you install on your home. In perfect conditions with proper maintenance, some of the high end shingles out there could probably go 50 years. But they would definitely be getting to the end of their life.

If you go with a lower end architectural type shingle you’ll probably get around 15-30 years out of them depending on brand, quality of materials used in the shingle (asphalt, fiberglass, etc), and weight of the shingle. For example, a CertainTeed shingle that weighs 240 lbs/sq and uses only high quality components will last longer than a GAF shingle that may use good components, but only weighs 200 lbs/sq.

Asphalt Shingle Maintenance Pros/Cons

One of the nice things about asphalt shingles are they are fairly maintenance free. As long as the roof is installed right (fasteners in the right spots, flashings done right, etc) there’s really not a whole lot of maintenance to do on them. Asphalt shingles are fairly set it and forget it.

The only things you will need to keep an eye on if you have an asphalt shingle roof is snow and debris.

Snow doesn’t shed off of shingles (which is both good and bad), so someone will have to get up there and shovel it off if it gets deep. However, be sure you hire someone qualified that knows how to remove snow without damaging your shingles, a snow shovel can gouge them out pretty bad.

Leaves, pine needles, and other tree debris should be kept off your roof too. If left alone water will saturate the debris and create pools, and moss will start growing on your roof. These things can make the shingle deteriorate faster than it should and shorten the lifespan of your roof.

Depending on where you live, your roof should be cleaned twice per year to 5 years. If you live under some big trees that continually shed stuff on your home you’ll need to get the debris removed twice a year, which should probably just be done when you get your gutters cleaned. The best way to treat moss is to prevent it from growing in the first place, which means getting your roof sprayed with a moss killer every 3-5 years as well.

So like all things there are some maintenance steps that should be taken to keep your roof looking good and extend it’s lifespan as long as possible.

Should You Reroof Your Home With An Asphalt Shingle?

Because of the wide variety of colors and options of asphalt shingles, I highly recommend using them on your home. When installed correctly they will last for a very long time and there will be very little to worry about. Just make sure you pick a good contractor to do the work. To learn more, check out my guide to the best roofing materials.

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