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What Every Asphalt Shingle Roofing System Should Have

If you are considering installing a new asphalt shingle roof for your home, this is the guide for you. In this article, you'll learn about the different types of roof shingles, color options, what kind of damage to look for, how to choose a roofing contractor, and much more! Let’s get started with the basics of roofing asphalt shingles.

What Are Asphalt Roof Shingles?

Asphalt roof shingles are the most commonly installed type of residential roofing material. The process begins with a continuous fiberglass mat that was developed to improve tear resistance and strength. Fortified hot asphalt is oxidized with hot air to firm up the material and increase the viscosity then added to the material. The asphalt is then bonded to both sides of the mat layer to create a waterproof barrier. The final step is screened, and crushed granules are added to the top layer in order to deliver another layer of protection from UV rays, heat damage, and degradation while offering the desired shading and color.

Roofing asphalt shingles prevent leaks above your residence, thus allowing water to flow off the edges of the building. Roof shingles are commonly manufactured in strips then bundled together. The complete roofing system includes attic insulation, ice and water barriers, starter shingles, underlayment, hip and ridge shingles, roof shingles, a gutter and drainage system, roof decking, and a ventilation system.


Roofing asphalt shingle installation begins on the eaves and edges, working up the roof. Shingles are always installed in overlapping rows called courses. As the installation experts work up the roof, each course overlaps the nails and seams of the course below. Asphalt shingles also have a heat-activated sticky sealant that adheres to each shingle in the course above and below to increase roof strength and wind resistance. A well-designed system can lower utility costs, protect the integrity of the structure, and improve your home’s curb appeal!

Styles and Shapes

Asphalt shingles are available in the following designs:

Architectural Shingles

Architectural shingles are the most common type that is produced in a variety of color and style choices to fit any exterior look. These shingles are more durable and stronger than 3-tab shingles in regard to weather and wind resistance and therefore boast longer warranties. Homeowners often choose this style because it mimics several other types of roof coverings like tile, wood shake, and slate while saving money on materials and labor.

Designer Shingles

Homeowners now have more roof shingle options than ever. Advances in asphalt design have created a new category of architectural shingles. These designer shingles are a premium option that is constructed to look like scalloped slate, tile, wood shake, and various other old-world roofing designs to give your home a more artisanal look.

3-Tab Shingles

When you consider conventional asphalt shingles, a 3-tab shingle likely comes to mind. They are recognizable by their offset layout and rectangular shape. Until the 1970s, when architectural roofing shingles were created, 3-tab shingles were the dominant option.

50-Year Shingles

Of all the choices, the 50-year shingle is the best of the best. It offers a 50-year warranty and utilizes heavier upgraded materials than the normal shingle. Ensuring there is a quality installation is the most important aspect of these shingles as improper installation, lack of design for weather or wind, and poorly engineered ventilation can cause the roof to fail. Luckily, the most experienced and professional roofing contractors are certified to install these shingle types.

Shingle FAQs

What is the longevity of an asphalt shingle roof?

Aside from a catastrophic roofing system failure due to severe weather, newer asphalt shingle roofs are built to last up to 50 years under normal conditions. Architectural shingles last between 15 and 30 years, while 3-tab shingles may only last 10-20 years, depending on the quality. A roofing life cycle is significantly impacted by insulation, climate, attic ventilation, and installation quality.

How do you match shingles to the house color?

Many shingle manufacturers have roof visualizers that allow you to see the color options in combination with house colors. This means you can upload a photo of your home to see what different shingle colors and styles look like. Work with your roofing contractor to learn more.

Can asphalt roof shingles be painted?

Although it is possible to paint roof shingles, it is not recommended. Given their matte and irregular surface comprised of granules, painting a roof would result in uneven areas as the granules erode over time. There are commercial coating products to help eliminate this issue, but it is best to discuss with a roofing expert.

Can asphalt shingles be installed on a flat roof?

Asphalt shingles were designed to be installed on pitched roofs. However, there is asphalt roll roofing that was engineered for flat roofs.

Asphalt shingles are an excellent option for any home type, and the material continues to get stronger, more durable, and longer-lasting with advancements in roofing technology. If you are looking to repair storm damage or upgrade your roofing system, contact a professional roofing company today for a quote and to learn more about the installation process. At H&R Roofing, we're happy to help residents of the Framingham area.

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