Roofing Shingles

What You Should Know About Choosing the Right Roofing Material for Your Home

Selecting the right material for reroofing your home can seem daunting. The first step is to become familiar with various roofing shingles. Signature Roofing only provides roofing quotes for and installs asphalt roofing shingles. We’ll get to the reasons why in a bit.

Asphalt shingles are known by various generic names such as composition shingles, asphalt shingles, fiberglass asphalt shingles, architectural shingles, designer shingles, and dimensional shingles. Any time you hear those names, you know you’re dealing with an asphalt roofing shingle.

Asphalt roofing shingles have the following advantages:

  • They are easily walked on without damaging the shingles
  • They carry an “A” fire rating (which is the highest fire protection rating available)
  • They usually weigh less than a wet shake roof
  • Interior home temperatures stay constant with proper attic ventilation (in our temperate climate)

GAF and Certainteed manufacture two of the most commonly installed shingles in the Bay Area, making up 90% of residential reroofing projects. Roofing shingle materials that make up the other 10% represent such a small portion of the market that it is difficult for any roofer to become truly proficient in proper installation. Beyond the difficulty of finding qualified installers, roofing shingles (other than asphalt) come with headaches of their own.

  • Wood shake roofing shingles are expensive. Since these roofing shingles are made from old growth cedar (difficult in the U.S. to log), they are primarily imported from British Columbia. The shingles are dunked in a chemical bath to adhere to California law requiring a minimum fire-retardant treatment. From what we’ve seen and heard, the treatment dries out the natural wood fiber and shortens its life.
  • Tile roofing shingles are costly, fragile and heavy. Most homes on the Bay Area’s Peninsula were never structurally designed to hold the weight of a tile roof. This became obvious after the 1994 Northridge earthquake when homes that had shake roofs replaced with tile roofs were severely damaged. Not only are tile shingles expensive, but they also are prone to cracking and breaking when walked on.
  • Stone-coated steel roofs were very popular from 1980 to 2000. Demand dropped off for various reasons including concerns about interior fires spreading under the metal roof, rising steel prices, and difficulty finding professionals to perform work that involved walking on the roof, which dented easily.
  • Synthetic roofing products didn’t fare as well in the real world as they did in the lab. All of these roofs were discontinued, and class action lawsuits were filed as roofs started to fail.

Between roofing shingle manufacturers and materials, you have quite a few decisions to make. Once you understand roofing shingle types and materials, the choice becomes much easier. With most coming with lifetime warranties and a proven long, low-maintenance lifespan, asphalt roofing shingles hold a clear advantage for the vast majority of Bay Area homeowners.

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