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All About Architectural Shingles

Architectural shingles are thicker asphalt shingles that can create the appearance of visually stunning natural roofing like slate, cedar, or clay tiles at a fraction of the cost. Because of their extra thickness and contouring, they are slightly more expensive than traditional asphalt shingles, but they last longer and carry longer warranties–typically 30-50 years. These quality shingles are more fire and wind resistant than traditional shingles, and most manufacturers coat them with zinc granules to prevent algae and mold growth.

How are Architectural Shingles Made?

Architectural shingles are composed of a heavy fiberglass mat base and ceramic-coated mineral granules that add texture and visual interest. Unlike traditional asphalt shingles, they contain no cutouts, but their lower portions are laminated with an additional asphalt layer. This creates the dramatic, three-dimensional look that gives them their name, while reinforcing their waterproof capability. This roof shingle type is relatively lightweight, and don’t require the extra structural support of the natural roofing materials they resemble.

Architectural Shingles Work With a Wide Array of Home Styles

Newly constructed homes often feature dramatic rooflines with turrets, gables, or hip and ridge sections that architectural shingles complement nicely. Also, when these types of shingles are installed on highly sloped roofs, water or snow can fall off easily. Architectural shingles are also a great option if you are exploring an upgrade to your existing roof as they can increase the aesthetic appeal of your home, as well as your overall home value. Two of the most popular types of these shingles are synthetic slate and cedar wood shakes:

  • These popular shingles can also imitate the look of slate without the weight issues that normally accompany this natural roofing material. These roofing shingles do not require any additional roof support as slate would, saving you money on costly structural reinforcements for your home. This shingle type is made with composite material molded to mimic slate’s texture, dimensions, and appearance.
  • Architectural shingles can also simulate cedar wood shakes. These shingles are quite thick with random slots similar to real shakes. The products’ random colors and textures provide a terrific accent for steep roof planes, turrets, and gables.

Architectural shingles also come in a wide range of colors, making them very versatile.

Architectural Shingles

Cost and Energy Efficiency of Architectural Shingles

According to the most recent Cost vs. Value report, replacing the roof on your home can have an an ROI of 71.6%. Installation of architectural shingles is also very budget-friendly (especially as compared to the natural materials that it mimics). These shingles are easy to cut, fit, and install and your roof can still be walked on for easy, cost-effective maintenance. These shingles may also save you money on your monthly utility bills. In warmer climates, this shingle type can be a good “cool roofing” option. The dimensional texture of the shingles provides greater light deflection and added insulation for your home.

Common Concerns with Architectural Shingles

Though durable, these shingles are not recommended for low-sloping roofs, which are more vulnerable to wind-driven rain.

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