What are the Different Grades of Roof Shingles?

Roofing shingles make up the majority of roofing materials utilized in residential roofing. There are many reasons for that, including easy installation, low cost and versatility. They’re available in a wide range of colors and styles, and work well in many different climates. They also happen to be fairly energy efficient, too, keeping your attic and the rest of your home more comfortable across the seasons.

Asphalt shingles are pretty simple in their composition, but there are some differences in grades that you should know about. An asphalt shingle basically consists of a mat or backing material constructed out of fiberglass or cellulose. The backing material supports the next layer, which is the asphalt mixture. On top, there are mineral granules which protect the asphalt from the sun.

Varying Levels of Performance

In general, there are three grades of asphalt shingles to choose from, ranging from good to better to best.

At the lower tier, you have “3-tab” shingles, which are simply shingles comprised of three tabs. They’ve been a mainstay in the roofing business for decades, featuring a flat look with minimal thickness and the shortest warranty duration.

Next up are architectural shingles, also referred to as dimensional shingles. Within this category there are “better” and “best” options. These are thicker than 3-tab, with a thickness of three standard shingles as part of the premium/luxury product choices. You get more shapes to choose from, with increased visual appeal thanks to more texture. They come with longer warranties, too.

When shopping for shingles, you’ll notice this tiered system featuring lower-priced economy products, mid-range products and high-end premium shingles. There are many things that separate them and make them unique, mainly cost, durability and warranty longevity.

Thicker Shingles = Heavier Shingles

Many luxury styles are the thickness of three plies, resembling the appearance of wood shake or slate roofs. The tradeoff with the extra thickness, though, is a heavier product – in many cases twice the weight of 3-tabs. This makes it harder for contractors to install and places more weight on your roofing structure.

Especially in cases where you are placing new shingles over an old layer, you’ll have to rely on the expertise of your roofing contractor to let you know if your home’s roof structure can support the added load. Living in New England, it’s important to also consider the added weight of snow on your roof in winter.

No matter which type of shingle you decide on, remember that all asphalt roofing products must follow certain standards and specifications that are in place to ensure quality guidelines are met. These specifications are meant to oversee factors such as tear strength, wind and fire resistance, and so on.

Contact Hi-Tech Windows & Siding

Here at Hi-Tech, we offer a wide range of roofing materials in a variety of styles and colors. To learn more about the grades we offer, request a free estimate from us online or call us at 800-851-0900.

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