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The Pros and Cons of Asphalt Shingle Roofing

July 15th, 2022 | 8 min. read

The Pros and Cons of Asphalt Shingle Roofing

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Choosing the roofing material you want for a roof replacement is a big decision. And if you’re like most homeowners, you’re probably considering asphalt shingle roofing. 

But the truth is that asphalt shingle roofing may not be the best fit for every homeowner. So, how do you determine if it’s right for you or not?

The best way is by learning the advantages and disadvantages of asphalt shingle roofing. 

For over 30 years, the team at Bill Ragan Roofing has helped homeowners find the perfect roofing material for their budget, style, and more. Because of this, I’ll give you an unbiased look at asphalt shingle roofing. 

Let’s get to the pros and cons of asphalt shingle roofing to find out if it’s the right choice for you and your upcoming roof replacement. 

The pros of asphalt shingle roofing

Asphalt shingle roofing is the most common type of roofing material for a reason. While I could do a whole article about the pros, most of them don’t really impact a homeowner’s decision. 

Let’s get to the three main pros of asphalt shingle roofing. 

You have three asphalt shingle options

The first pro of asphalt roofing is that you have three types of shingles to choose from. The three types of asphalt shingles are 3-tab, architectural, and luxury. 

Each asphalt shingle offers different looks, colors, and pricing. 3-tab asphalt shingles lay flat and are the lowest quality of the three types. 

3typesAsphaltShingles-1(Left to Right: 3-tab, architectural, and luxury)

Architectural (also called dimensional) shingles provide a random pattern to give your roof dimension or simulate the look of a wood-shake roof. This type of shingle is not only the most common asphalt shingle but also the most common roofing material used on homes today.

Luxury (also called designer or premium) shingles are designed to look like natural slate. They are larger, more durable, offer the highest curb appeal, and are the most expensive of three types of asphalt shingles.

The great thing about all of these options is that you’ll have no problem finding the shingle that fits the look you want and your budget. But just know that 3-tab shingles are phasing out of the roofing industry. 

This means you may not find the color you want or 3-tab shingles in general, depending on the suppliers in your area. 

Asphalt shingle roofing is affordable

The next pro of asphalt roofing is that it’s the most affordable type of roofing material. 

Even though asphalt roofing as a whole is an affordable roofing choice, it really depends on the type of shingle you choose. 

3-tab asphalt shingles are the cheapest roofing material you can find, period. However, it’s also the lowest quality and has the shortest lifespan. 

Architectural asphalt shingles cost around 30% more than 3-tab shingles but give you more life and better material warranty options. 

Luxury shingles are the most expensive option and are almost double the cost of architectural shingles. However, they have the highest curb appeal and last the longest of the three types. 

This is a pro because even the most expensive asphalt shingle is cheaper than the next roofing material on the scale, standing seam metal roofing

The warranties on asphalt shingles

Every roofing material has some type of warranty on it after installation. But what makes this a pro of asphalt roofing is the material warranty. 

A material warranty is from the manufacturer of your asphalt shingles that covers them if there’s ever a problem with the shingles themselves. Each type of asphalt shingle comes out of the package with a warranty from the manufacturer. 

However, architectural and luxury shingles offer a 50-year non-prorated enhanced warranty. To get this enhanced warranty, all your asphalt roofing components (including your asphalt shingles) must come from one manufacturer to form a complete roof system. 

This warranty ensures the manufacturer covers your entire roof for the life of the shingles and other roofing components. Just know that improper roof installation and inadequate attic ventilation void an enhanced warranty. 

This is just one reason why it’s crucial to hire a high-quality roofing contractor to install your asphalt shingles. 

The cons of asphalt shingle roofing

After learning the good about asphalt shingle roofing, you’re ready to learn the “bad”. But the great thing (really another pro) is that these cons aren’t that terrible. 

However, they are deal breakers for some homeowners when it comes to their roofing material decision-making process. Let’s see if these cons are a deal breaker for you. 

Asphalt shingles have a shorter lifespan compared to other roofing materials

The biggest con to asphalt shingle roofing is that it has the shortest lifespan compared to the other types of roofing materials. 3-tab shingles max out at around 20 years, architectural shingles last around 25 years, and luxury shingles should last 30 years (can last longer in perfect conditions).

While these lifespans are nothing to turn your nose up at, they won’t beat out other materials. Let’s compare them to the lifespans of other common roofing materials:

Keep in mind that the lifespans above won’t be exact due to different factors that impact a roof’s life. But as long as you invest in quality materials and hire a great roofing contractor, you should get the most out of your roof no matter which roofing material you choose. 

Asphalt shingle roofing offers the lowest curb appeal

Curb appeal is the visual attractiveness of a home from the street. No matter what roofing material you choose, a new roof always increases a home’s curb appeal. 

But the type of roofing material determines how much the curb appeal increases. This brings us to the next con of asphalt shingle roofing; it has the lowest curb appeal. 

architectural asphalt shingle roof(New architectural asphalt shingle roof)

3-tab and architectural shingles make good-looking roofs, but they don’t make them stand out like other roofing materials. I can’t really lump luxury shingles into this one because they offer very high curb appeal because of the slate look. 

luxury asphalt shingle roof(New luxury asphalt shingle roof)

However, a luxury asphalt shingle roof still has a lower curb appeal than cedar shake, synthetic, and slate. Keep in mind that a roof's look is very subjective. 

synthetic slate roof (New synthetic slate roof)

So, maybe you like the look of asphalt roofing more than others. But most homeowners agree that a 3-tab or architectural shingle roof offers the lowest curb appeal among the popular roofing materials. 

Asphalt shingle roofing needs regular roof maintenance

Every roof needs maintenance throughout its life. But how much maintenance is required depends on the roofing material. 

This brings us to the next con, asphalt shingle roofing requires at least an annual maintenance inspection. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but asphalt roofing must have maintenance to maximize its lifespan. 

Roof maintenance mainly checks your asphalt roof and ensures it’s functioning properly. But it also catches common roof problems and gives the roofing contractor a chance to fix them before they cause too much expensive damage. 

Roof maintenance is also when sitting debris is cleared off the roof, out roof valleys, and the gutter line. Without maintenance, wet debris sitting on asphalt shingles for prolonged periods of time saturates them and shortens their lifespan. 

As I said, this one isn’t necessarily a con. The only reason I mention it here is that your asphalt shingle roof must have maintenance to ensure you get the most out of it. 

That’s why I always recommend having an asphalt shingle roof maintained at least once a year. 

Get the guide with everything you need to know about a roof replacement

There you have it; you now know the main pros and cons of asphalt roofing. After reading this article, you should have a good idea if it’s the right roofing material for your home. 

But what if you’re unsure or want to know your other roofing material options? Or what if asphalt shingle roofing is your choice, but you need information about a roof replacement?

If you answered “yes” to either question or even both, I have the buyer’s guide just for you. 

The Complete Guide to Purchasing a Roof includes the pros and cons of the different roofing materials, how much your roof will cost, how to hire a great roofing contractor, and much more. 

Learn everything you need to know about your upcoming roof replacement and get The Complete Guide to Purchasing a Roof today. 

The team at Bill Ragan Roofing has provided high-quality asphalt roofing services and more to thousands of homeowners in Nashville and surrounding Middle Tennessee areas since 1990. Whether you need a complete roof replacement or just simple roof repairs, you can count on us to provide education, guidance, and quality workmanship backed by a lifetime warranty. 

If you’re local to Nashville, Brentwood, Franklin, Belle Meade, Sumner county, and other surrounding areas, don’t hesitate to Contact Us today.

Here’s The Complete Guide to Purchasing a Roof to help you find the right roofing material, hire a great roofing contractor, and so much more.

the complete guide to purchasing a roof

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