Relatively light, inexpensive, and easy to install, asphalt shingles are the best choice for most houses. They Come in sheets that are layered on a roof to give the illusion of more expensive single shingles, such as cedar or slate, that are installed one shingle at a time

Asphalt shingles are made of fiberglass sandwiched between asphalt and ceramic granules. The fiberglass provides the strength, while the asphalt, often mixed with minerals, is waterproof. The ceramic granules give shingles their color and also help deflect UV light, and its damaging effects.

Asphalt shingles fall into three basic categories. Standard, entry-level 3-tab shingles are the cheapest and thinnest. Architectural shingles are a step up from 3-tab shingles. They’re slightly thicker and made to resemble more expensive wood shakes. Multilayered architectural shingles are the most expensive and thickest of the group, and give a similar look to wood shakes.

3 Tab

3 tab


However, not all asphalt shingle roofing products are created equal. Optimal Contracting will help you:

  • Understand the main types of asphalt shingles
  • Compare top product and brands from most popular manufacturers
  • Ultimately choose the best asphalt shingle type and style for your home

Did you know? The longevity of any asphalt shingle product is determined by the shingle thickness and quality of construction.

Shingles can be given a single color to produce a solid-color shingle or a blend of colored granules for a more nuanced look.

The advantages of:

Three-tab shingles are their lower cost and flat profile which makes it difficult for the wind to get underneath the shingles or catch and lift up a shingle. A disadvantage is that 3-tab shingles don’t last as long. The oils in any asphalt shingle rise to the top with time and are washed away or dried out by the elements. This makes shingles weak and brittle. The more asphalt there is in the shingle, the longer this process takes. So longevity can be improved for thicker/heavier shingles.

Dimensional, architectural (newer term) and laminate (older term meaning “layered”) all refer to the same type of shingle. Dimensional shingles feature a thicker base layer of asphalt-saturated fiberglass. Fused to that solid layer is a tabbed layer, usually with more pronounced notches.The effect is a shingle with a thicker “3D” profile that gives dimensional shingles a slate tile or wood shingle or shake appearance that is more genuine. Architectural/dimensional shingles cost more than 3-tab shingles, but the appearance is generally favored, especially on upscale homes. Architectural shingles will normally have a longer service lifespan than 3-tab shingles, thanks to their thickness and durability. They also have superior impact resistance thanks to the greater amount of material and wind uplift protection.

 Premium or Luxury Shingles In recent years, ultra-dimensional shingles have come into vogue. Some manufacturers call them premium shingles, though the term architectural shingles is often used too. These are super-thick and heavy shingles, up to 450 lbs per square (100 square feet). Most have higher profiles and distinct cuts to more closely mimic the appearance of genuine slate and cedar roofing.


Pros and Cons of Asphalt Shingles

 Here are general advantages and disadvantages:

What’s good:

  • More affordable than most other roofing types
  • Proven to last 15-30 years, depending on climate, proper attic ventilation and how often regularly roof maintenance is done
  • A good value when their low cost, good durability and recoup value are factored
  • Available in the widest range of styles and colors of any roofing type plus specialty shingles for climate challenges your home faces
  • Easy to clean, when care is taken not to damage the shingles

What’s Bad:

  • Not as durable as the new Synthetic materials available such as Enviroshake
  • Backed by strict warranties that have a very narrow definition of manufacturer’s defects, are easily voided by improper installation and have prorated coverage beginning in five to ten years depending on the product
  • Susceptible to improper installation by inexperienced roofers with results that can lead to leaks and water damage

Optimal Contracting will help you to decide on the right product for your roof as well as helping you to determine the products best suited for your budget.

But Remember ……

There’s much more to a roof’s protection than just asphalt shingles. — They’re a part of an entire system designed to optimize roof performance and durability.

We will discuss your roofing project with as much or as little detail as you would like, the entire package of products that we use to protect your home.

  • Roofing paper (felt paper/tar paper):Most roofing paper is asphalt-saturated felt or a synthetic rubber-like material. The purpose of the product is to protect the roof deck against moisture blown under the shingles (and as a last line of defense against leaks).
  • Drip edge:This is a strip of aluminum formed to fit over the eave edges. About 1.5” to 2” wide, the drip edge extends out from the eaves to direct water running off the roof into the gutters rather than allowing it to wet the fascia.
  • Starter shingles/strip: provides an extra measure of protection where ice dams and windblown moisture pose a threat to the roof. The shingles are fiberglass mat saturated with asphalt.
  • Rolled water barrier:This asphalt-based or synthetic rolled roofing is applied in valleys for extra protection because of the large volume of water that passes through them.
  • Ridge vents:installed on peaks where there should be a slight gap in the roof deck that allows heat to escape the attic.
  • Ridge cap shingles/hip shingles:These specialty shingles cover the ridge vents, un-vented ridges and hips.