Beth at Unskinny Boppy
Beth at Unskinny Boppy
  • Hometalker
  • Birmingham, AL
Asked on Oct 22, 2012

Roofing questions- what are the best type of shingles for durability?

RedcatcecCarl BorlongsMartha Earles
+27

Answered

It's time for a new roof, so we are having some local companies come give us estimates. I want to be educated before they arrive so I will know what to expect.
We would prefer an architectural shingle that will last 20-30 years, if possible.
What brand of shingle is the best, and what would you put on your house for the best durability? Any pros out there available to help? Got any pics?
Is there a shingle out there that doesn't stain? We are in the woods, and currently have lots of stains on our existing roof that I'd like to avoid in the future. Should I go with a darker colored roof to try to avoid this?
Lots of roof to cover! See the current stains?  This is what I don't want.
Lots of roof to cover! See the current stains? This is what I don't want.
28 answers
  • Most of the dimensional shingles that are produced as "over the counter" types are 30 year warranty shingles. Then after that you can increase the life of them up to 50 years. All has to do with what your willing to pay. The life of the shingle should be chosen based upon how long you plan to live in the home. You do not want to be selling a roof on your house if the life is near its end. You simply will not get any value out of it. So do a real hard thought about your length of stay and if you can afford it get something that would have about five or more years left when you would think you would be selling. Also warranties are a bit tricky. The shingle manufacture only pro rates the cost of the product. They do not cover the cost of replacement. Also at least from the brands that are sold locally near me up north the warranty is not transferable to any new owner. So one important thing is to choose a installation company that has been or appears to be one that will be around for many years. If the cost price is really low as compared to many other companies, do not expect these people to be around if something goes wrong or a leak develops. Get all warranties in writing. Next time your at your local big box apron stores where they sell shingles. look at the package and read the warranty that is written on the bundle. As far as brand. This is a regional thing. As there are many manufactures down south that simply do not have a presence up north. So brand will need to be answered by someone that lives in your area of the country. For stain resistance. These stains your seeing on your roof photo, assuming that is your home is mold. Several years ago the asphalt shingle composition began to change. The result was the ability for mold to develop in the new materials that were added to the mix. This all had to do with cost of manufacture. In any case most if not all now have shingle lines that combine the necessary components that will aid against this dirty streaking that you have. AS an additional prevention, installers can add Zink strips that are nailed along the very top courses of the roof line. Leaving just an inch or so exposure. This zink will bleed just a very tiny bit every time it rains. This chemical will kill off the bacteria that allows for moss and mold to develop. So ask about doing this. However you will not benefit from this to much as the roof lines along the peak do not extend along the same length as that of the gutter line, therefor you will not get all the protection that you would want.

  • Jeanette S
    on Oct 23, 2012

    We had a new roof put on last year and selected what people call the "designer" shingles. Those are the ones that seem to be a random pattern with some small and some larger. It seems they lay flatter so are less likely to blow up in wind. I saw that they survived better after visting my sister after a hurricane. Also, they have a longer warrnty and have zinc built into them so as to avoid some of the nasty streaks roofs get. We were very pleased with ours. We picked a med charcoal. We added seamless, never have to clean gutters in a dark charcoal and they ground the roof. Stunning. I did not want white because they look so nasty after only a few months. Our dark ones are still beautiful after 1-1/2 years! Also, we had the downspouts put on the side of the house so we did not have any coming down the front. With your house, I would get a larger gutter and downspouts for that top section and configure the gutter to come down at the shortest point just over the garage and empty into a large gutter on the front.

  • certainteed landmark a/r

  • Reliable American Inc.
    on Oct 23, 2012

    Is that red brick building your house? Every roofing contractor will rattle off a list of their favorite shingles. I really like certainteed brand shingles. They do cost a little bit more, but I feel they are WELL worth the extra few bucks. One can not simply look at warranty's anymore as a means of rating shingle since nearly all architectural shingles were all upgraded to lifetime warranty 2 years ago. One must actually READ the warranty document and see what is and is not covered. There is at least one manufacturer on the market, perhaps the cheapest shingle on the market, and their warranty document is nothing short of hilarious. Seal failure? No problem, if it's not leaking. What?! Lost all your granules? No problem, if it's not leaking. What?! LOL if I owned a cat I would use their warranty to line the litter box. Also CertainTeed began including AR, which is short for Algae Relief, in their shingles. This will help defend against the staining for at least 15 years. But you may also consider the installation of a darker colored shingle (not black yuck) because once the shingles do start staining, and let's face it there is nothing that can be done in the south to stop the staining 100%, it'll take longer for those stains to become visible. I would also recommend the installation of zinc or copper strips within the roofing assembly. They may be installed at intervals down the roof, perhaps every 5th course of shingle. As the rain water washes over the heavy-metal strips they will bring microscopic bits of metal with it and this will further help inhibit algae and moss growth. It'll do nothing for tobacco juicing which is another staining phenomenon. If that red brick building is your home, CertainTeed Grand Manor all the way! Wow what a beautiful rafter line, like a canvas for an artist. By far this is the most expensive shingle on the market casting nearly triple that of a traditional architectural shingle like the Landmark, but it looks so awesome! You could also consider the carriage house which will be in the middle price-wise with the landmark and grand manor. I'm in love with the look of the carriage house and if I can ever afford to put a 2nd floor addition on my home plan to design the entire exterior around that carriage house shingle! You can go to www.certainteed.com for more pics of their products. But let's talk nuts and bolts about the roof. The Shingles are 1/16th of what goes into the roofing PROJECT. Notice I capitalized then wrote this separate sentence to emphasize the word project. Some things you should be aware of, permits, make sure the roofer gets the permit. Protections, if I were to replace your roof I would protect your house first with tarps and drop cloths and plywood to protect the plants, windows, walls, etc... A little protection now goes a long way towards a clean job site. Tear off, utterly important! Rotten/damaged wood replacement, get a cost per sheet in your contract. Underlayments, ice shield, how much where will it be installed. What type and weight felt paper. Shingle, Vents, Flashings. These are the things that make up a roofing system. But what is more important than all that is the ROOFER. The ROOFER is 1/2 the equation. You can take the best product in the world and install it wrong, and it's just expensive trash. A good roofer is the determining factor between a roof that leaks sooner rather than later. All roofs WILL eventually leak. The only difference between a good and a bad roofer is how long it takes for the roof to begin leaking. 5 years? 10 years? 20 years? All roofs will eventually leak, and all roofers are human. Only choose to work with a roofer who has a proven track record of owning their mistakes rather than avoiding their mistakes. You can learn more about the shingle roof as a system here: http://www.reliableamerican.us/services/shingles.htm and learn more about hiring a contractor here: http://www.reliableamerican.us/articles/hire-your-contractor.htm

  • KMS Woodworks
    on Oct 23, 2012
  • Leslie D
    on Oct 23, 2012

    We are going through putting a roof on our rental house North of Denver after a wind storm blew off many of the 3-tab shingles (the roofer stopped counting at 150). The City the house is located in actually eliminated 3-tab shingles as code. They just don't hold up to wind. We chose a Certainteed Architectural lifetime shingle after reading about the options. As reliable mentioned, more important than the shingle is the warranty of the company who is installing it. Ask for references from customers they worked for 5-10 years ago, and ask what they labor warranty is. Make sure they get a permit for the work, so that it is inspected and accepted by your local building authority. The company we chose has a 20-year installation warranty, which tells me they are pretty confident about their installation method. Reliable covered everything to consider. Get several estimates and ask them for a "detailed" estimate, which itemizes the material, # of squares, vents, flashing areas, price per sheet of underlayment if needed (I got prices of $40 -$100/sheet), removal of existing, etc., and compare apples to apples. Make sure they do a magnet sweep of your yard after the work, as well. Negotiate your chosen bid...there is ALWAYS some fluff in a bid. I was shocked that there was up to a 6 square difference and $2500 price difference between estimates (ranged from $4750 - $7250), and one company spec'd 3-tab, which isn't even to code to try to come in as low bid. Some companies will take advantage of a lack of knowledge, so the most important thing is to educate yourself prior to choosing a company to repair such an important aspect of your home. I pretended to be a typical (out of town) homeowner when I called for estimates, then hit them with my builder mentality after receiving estimates, which helped me eliminate those who may not be as honest as the others...calling them out on the # of squares, non-code materials spec'd, asked why they didn't including additional vents, etc., that the other companies included.

  • Beth at Unskinny Boppy
    on Oct 23, 2012

    Wow! I came to the right place! You guys are excellent! Thanks so much for this great advice. Reliable, the red brick is my house. :) I'm attaching a photo of the back of it. The staining isn't as bad on the back side, but the front of the house gets the least amount of sun, so I guess that makes sense. It was built in 1995, so the current roof is 17 years old. I looked at the photos of Certainteed Grand Manor and WOW, those are beautiful shingles. I do agree they would look beautiful, but I'll have to get a price estimate and see if it makes me want to pass out or not. ;-) I absolutely love the look of the "Gatehouse Slate" color shown in that slideshow here: http://www.certainteed.com/idea-center/gallery/roofing?pid=308581 As for the question on how long we plan to be in the house- the answer is hopefully forever. God willing, I don't have any plans to ever move away from this home, so I want the longest lasting shingles possible. We will also get an estimate for a few more roof vents to be installed and a dormer to be added on the back side over the left garage. I want a dormer into my son's playroom that is built over the garage for some sunlight in that area. It makes me excited to think about how beautiful this house will look with a new roof! I know it's going to give it such a facelift to get the stained roof off and a new, beautiful architectural shingle up there. I can't wait! Thanks again for all of your input. I really appreciate it.

    q roofing questions what are the best type of shingles for durability, roofing, Back of the house
  • Beth at Unskinny Boppy
    on Oct 23, 2012

    @KMS Woodworks We haven't thought about metal. I don't think for our house style metal would be a good match.

  • Leslie D
    on Oct 23, 2012

    A metal roof would be gorgeous on your house! Metals roofs have come a long way since the "barn" roofing of years ago. The materials are more expensive up front, but if you are staying in your house "forever", that cost could end up being less in the long run because of cost savings on heating/cooling (they are better insulated), and your insurance company may give a discount on a metal roofing. It's non-combustible and lasts forever, is lower maintenance, and you have a lower chance of lightning damage, fire, roof leaks, etc. The noise factor of a metal roof has also decreased with improved installation methods. Do a google search on metal roofs and hit "images" to see all the different styles available. Whichever roof you choose, make sure you let your insurance company know that you have a new roof. It should lower your premiums.

  • One more thing to add. There are only a few colors and brands that qualify for energy rebates. Even if one manufacture has a white shingle as an example, as does another, only one of them may qualify for this rebate. So be sure to check with the installation company if the shingle color and style and manufacture of the shingles qualify for that tax deduction if this interests you. There are a few colors, mostly light ones that are on this list however.

  • Leslie D
    on Oct 23, 2012

    I thought the energy tax credits expired in 2011, Woodbridge. Were they extended, because I would sure like to make sure my shingle choice qualifies before work begins on Thursday, if so?

  • Beth at Unskinny Boppy
    on Oct 23, 2012

    I wasn't aware of any tax credits either. I'll ask the people giving me quotes about that.

  • In NJ we have a rebate program in place. You are correct the 2011 federal rebates are sort of gone but many are working to reinstate them Here is information regarding this rebate from a manufacture. http://www.certainteed.com/EnergyTaxCredit/EnergyTaxCredit.aspx Check with your state on rebates and with the manufacture of the brand shingle your considering. There are so many programs available some with great refunds and discounts some without. In any case it all adds up, It is worth looking into as a roof that size can become quite expensive to do.

  • Leslie D
    on Oct 23, 2012

    I checked with my accountant. No federal rebates at this time, but some local energy companies will give rebates for improving a home's energy efficiency. I checked with my roofing company and they told me the minimal rebates offered in Colorado are not worth the cost of the narrow choice of expensive shingles that qualify there. Oh well, I tried. Maybe there's a better program in Alabama, Beth! Thanks for the info, Woodbridge....I would rather try and fail than learn later that I could have saved some $$ that I didn't know about!

  • Connie K
    on Oct 23, 2012

    Beth, I agree with Leslie on the metal roof. I would love to have gone to metal but we won't be in the house long enough to make it worth the difference. I have seen quite a few in the Atlanta area on traditional houses and they are really gorgeous. One other thing when choosing your shingles....COLOR! We had to replace out roof a couple of years ago and the color we chose makes such a difference. Also, we had narrowed our choice down to two options. Luckily, we were able to obtain a sample shingle for each and compare the two next to our house. We had checked out the other houses in the neighborhood but that didn't help because our stucco is more of a tan and everyone else uses white. It was amazing how different the house looked. It brought our color scheme on the outside together and really enhanced the entire look. Yes, it is different from the neighbors but blends well and unless someone pointed out the difference you wouldn't notice. Good luck and I hope its 30 years before I have to go through it again!

  • KMS Woodworks
    on Oct 24, 2012

    @Beth at Unskinny Boppy while the most common metal roofs are panel roofs...there are a number of other "shingle" type roofs made with metal and other composite type materials. http://www.interlockroofing.com/metal-roofing-systems/slate-roofing the slate product above would be a good design match

  • Reliable American Inc.
    on Oct 24, 2012

    Ask your accountant about tax credits, not your roofer. Just sayin' :)

  • Gecko Roofing Inc.
    on Jun 13, 2014

    Gorgeous home and excellent roof. Love the place!

  • Reliable American Inc.
    on Mar 26, 2015

    If the structure was not built to support the weight of slate or tile, which weighs incredibly more than an asphalt/fiberglass shingle, then slate may not be the best choice.

  • Kristen Rikli
    on Apr 21, 2015

    I would ask your local lumber yard, Menards, Home Depot, or other businesses that sell shingles. I think a black roof would look very nice on your house, and would be less likely to show stains. I would not go with metal as it wouldn't look as good, and you'd hear every raindrop. I would call a CPA to find out about the tax credits as they are the experienced ones with that sort of thing.

  • Sue Sanders
    on Sep 2, 2015

    I have the same stains on my A line roof and cannot get anyone to tell me why i have these stains and the other type of roofs in neighborhood don't have these stains. Some have suggested it is mildew. You have to consider the color also as darker colors hold heat and lighter colors reflect the heat....I've been told.

  • Emerald State
    on Mar 10, 2016

    Beth, most likely your stains are algae which can be killed with a algaecide. For new roofing, architectural shingle is good and I would guess you can get 20 to 25 years out of it. GAF and Certainteed are both good choices but be aware that even though they say they have lifetime warranties, this is only for manufactuing defects. They are not saying the roof will last. My experience is that 25 years is about max on comp. For a longer life a Premium grade shake can easily provide 30 plus years if taken care of routinely. Of course, metal and tile roofs can last much longer as well.

  • Jeffrey Goodman
    on Mar 11, 2016

    I never realized that there are so many types of shingles out there. I will look into which one is best for me but I think the basic shingle will do its job. I will have to talk to a roofer to get their opinion. http://www.akgeneralroofing.com

  • Hazel Adams
    on Apr 4, 2016

    I have heard that metal roofing is really good for durability. I think it is because the roof is not in individual shingles. It is more like a full roof altogether is being put on. http://www.amickroofing.com/about.html

  • Swa5899381
    on Jun 22, 2016

    Having lived in Mid Eastern Florida for durability use metal or tile. Hurricane/high wind durable for 60 plus years. Need I say more, metal roofs come in awesome colors and tile can be painted any color. Good luck.

  • Martha Earles
    on Aug 5, 2016

    I would go with a metal and choose a color that best go with your home or brick ,our home has light yellow siding and we put green metal roof,so go with what color you like but, metal out last all roofs

  • Carl Borlongs
    on Apr 16, 2018

    I really suggest metal all the time. Metal has the best durability above the rest. Check its benefits here top-notchroofing.com/benefits-of-having-metal-roofing
  • Redcatcec
    on Apr 16, 2018

    When it comes time to do our roof, we are opting for metal.
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