The Pros and Cons of Asphalt Shingles

The Pros and Cons of Asphalt Shingles

Your roof is the castle that protects your home. After all, no one wants a castle that is wet. It is therefore important to give some thought to your roof installation.

Asphalt shingles are probably the first thing that springs to mind. Asphalt shingles are the most common type of roof in the United States. There are many other choices, so how can you tell if asphalt roofing is right for your home?

This guide will help you make a well-informed decision by examining the pros and cons associated with asphalt roofing.

What are the advantages of asphalt shingle roofing?

Asphalt shingles are among the most common types of residential roofing. They are popular with homebuilders for four reasons: ease of installation, low price, long life, and wide selection.

Easy Installation

Asphalt shingles offer the most flexibility and ease of installation among all roofing products.

Low Cost

Asphalt is not only cheaper to use to make shingles, but also easier to install. Asphalt shingles can reduce roof replacement costs, making them the most cost-effective option.

Long life span

Asphalt shingles can last anywhere from 15 to 50 years, with thicker shingles reaching the end of this spectrum. You can therefore get warranties for materials of higher quality that will last decades.

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Color and Style Selection

Asphalt shingles come in a wide variety of colors and styles. This is an excellent choice for homeowners looking to customize their roofs. You can also add solar shingles for energy efficiency or style to your roof by painting asphalt shingles.

Easy Replacement

Asphalt shingles can be easily replaced, even if they are damaged or have fallen off. It is possible to replace a single shingle, or even a small section of asphalt shingles, that has been damaged by a tree branch or hail.

Warranty Availability

When installed and maintained correctly, shingle roofs can last anywhere between 15 and 50 years. Good manufacturers will offer warranties for their products. Some of the best materials come with warranties that can last up to 50 years. These products are more expensive than those with shorter warranties and expected lifetimes, but the cost can be justified by a roof that is more durable, reliable, and more long-lasting.

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What are the cons of asphalt shingle roofing?

Before making a choice, you should be aware of the downsides of asphalt shingle roofs. There are many other roof shingles you can choose from if you don’t like asphalt shingles.

Requires periodic maintenance

Asphalt shingles are easy to install, but roof maintenance is a bit more complicated. They need to be checked frequently and repaired often. Check them for moss, algae and severe weather damage. You should also be on the lookout for low branches of trees that may damage your shingles.

You should have a professional roofer inspect your roof every three to five years to do routine maintenance and check for damage. If you have a lot of vegetation around your roof, it may be necessary to clean or inspect it more frequently.

Low Insulation Value

Certain roofing materials are great at insulating, saving you money on your electricity bill. Asphalt shingles, however, are not among those materials. If this is important to you, then you might want to look at other options.

Environmental Impact

Although some manufacturers are environmentally-friendly, shingles made of fiberglass and petroleum are not. When petroleum is burned, it releases greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. The production of fiberglass also releases air pollutants such as styrene.

Sensitivity of Temperature

Shingle roofs are also sensitive to temperature changes because they are made from asphalt. Asphalt can be affected by extremes of cold and heat. Temperature swings can lead to cracks due to expansion and contraction. Extremely high temperatures and intense sunlight can cause shingles cracks and to move, as well as expand and contract.

asphalt shingle roof being installed

When to install?

You need to plan your installation of shingles carefully because they are sensitive to temperature. Asphalt shingles are only to be installed at warmer temperatures. Installation during freezing or cold temperatures could cause cracks and damage. Do not wait until a sunny day either. Shingles absorb heat and can become dangerous when exposed to the sun.

Shorter Lifespan

Asphalt shingles are not as durable as some other roof options. This could mean you will need to replace your roof more often. Their expected lifespan is 15-50 years. Do not be misled by the wide range of shingles. Most 3-tab shingles will last for about 20 years. Architectural shingles can last up to 25 years. Luxury shingles are expected to last around 30 years. Synthetic shingles are a bit different, as they can last up to 50 years, especially in milder climates.

These are the typical lifespans for other roofing materials.

  • Metal roofs: 40 to 80 years
  • Wood shake roof: 30 to 50 years
  • Clay and concrete tiles roofing: 50 to 100 years
  • Slate roofs: 60 to 175 years

Wind Uplift

Asphalt shingles are susceptible to wind and gusts, especially the cheaper ones. They can even flip over, tear or detach. You will want to replace any damaged or missing shingles as soon as possible.

Not Fire Resistant

You should consider installing asphalt shingles to your house, garage or outbuildings if you live in a wildfire-prone area. Asphalt can melt and burn and sparks in the air can ignite shingles. Some insurance companies even require that homes in areas prone to fire have roofs made of materials other than asphalt. If you want to install fire resistant shingles, consider metal, slate or clay tiles.

Not Unique

Asphalt shingles can be very common and will likely not make your house stand out. There are many less common roof options that will fit the aesthetic of your home. They can also increase the curb appeal and value of your home.

What is asphalt shingle roofing?

As the name suggests, asphalt shingle roofs are made of shingles that are made out of asphalt. Asphalt is a semisolid form petroleum that is used to waterproof the roof. Asphalt shingles come in three different types: 3-tab, luxury, and dimensional.


The name of this type of asphalt shingle comes from the three tabs that are cutouts on the lower edge. When installed correctly, these tabs create a flattened, uniform pattern. The most common asphalt shingle is 3-tab, but many companies are moving away from it in favor of architectural shingles (or dimensional asphalt shingles). This is partly because 3-tab asphalt shingles last less time and architectural shingles provide a textured look with layers that homeowners like.


Dimensional shingles are also known as architectural or laminate shingles. They can be in a random pattern or may try to mimic the look of wood shake roofing. Although they are less common than 3-tabs, their popularity is growing in certain areas. Dimensional shingles are known for their high wind rating, and they’re generally thought to be the most cost-effective.


Luxury shingles are usually larger than standard asphalt shingles. Sometimes they are meant to mimic the look of slate. They can cost twice as much as 3-tabs.

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