Category Archives: Asphalt Shingles

Roofing Shingles Vs. Cedar Shakes Costs, Plus Pros & Cons in 2020

In this guide, we present a side-by-side comparison of cedar shingles and shakes vs. asphalt roofing, with focus on on material composition, installation costs, plus pros and cons and ROI of each option. Let’s get started!

The Difference Between Wood Shingles & Cedar Shakes

When used in roof covering, wood can be either shakes or shingles. Wood shakes have been used for centuries. They are split from logs and often left as split to retain the textured, rough-hewn effect.

Cedar shakes around a skylight Source: Kuhl’s Contracting

A wood shake is instantly recognizable by its thick butt end. With the advent of commercial sawmills a wood shake was often sawn after splitting to achieve a uniform back side.

These sawmills also produced a completely uniform product with an even taper and identical thickness by sawing shakes on both sides. This manufactured product is known as a wood shingle.

California redwood, western red cedar, cypress, spruce and pine are all used to manufacture wood shakes and shingles. Cedar is the most popular wood for shakes, southern yellow pine is also popular. Wood shakes and shingles can be pressure treated with fire retardants and chemical preservatives.

Types of Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt or composition shingles are most commonly constructed from organic material or fiberglass. Asphalt shingles are built upon a base or mat that was originally made of absorbent cotton rags.

Roofing Shingles Display

Later, more readily available wood pulp or paper replaced the natural fibers. Asphalt was poured onto that base, known as “felt”.

In the 1970s, fibrous glass was introduced, which did not rot like the organic materials. Today, 95 percent of asphalt shingles feature fiberglass felt.

Cedar Shingles/Shakes Cost Vs. Asphalt

In the roofing industry, an 18-inch wood shingle is referred to as “Perfection” and 24-inch wide shingles are known as “Royal.” A wood shake is a premium product, costing around $3.50 per square foot versus $2.50 a square foot for wood shingles.

Cedar Shakes Siding and Asphalt Roof By Red House Architects

The most expensive option for shingling a roof is wood shakes — between $7.50 to $12.50 per square foot or $750 and $1,250 per square (100 square feet), installed.

Cedar Shakes Roof By Linda McDougald Design

Wood shingles are slightly less pricey at $6.50 to $10.50 per square foot or $650 to $1,050 per square, installed.

For comparison, asphalt roofing can cost as little as $3.50 to $5.50 per square foot or $350 to $550 per square, installed.

Roofing Shingles Installation

Install Roof Shingles

$7,500
Average price
Install Metal Roof

$14,500
Average price
Install Flat Roof

$8,225
Average price

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So, why do homeowners opt for the much more expensive wood shingling? The answer is…

Aesthetics

It is hard to beat the appearance of a natural wood roof. If you are making over a traditional older house, cedar roofing is probably the historically appropriate choice. Not that asphalt shingles are an unattractive alternative.

Asphalt shingles come in a wide variety of colors and shapes and patterned asphalt roofs can be eye-catching in their own right.

Beyond looking great, wood shingling does not win many comparison battles with its asphalt-covered competition. Let’s explore some of the pros and cons up on your roof…

Longevity

Life expectancy for both asphalt and wood shingles is a tricky matter. Let’s tick off all the factors that can affect the longevity of a roof covering: quality of installation, diligence of maintenance, quality of materials, age of the house, overhanging trees, climate and foot traffic.

Chemically treated wood will outlast untreated shakes and shingles and a shake will survive longer than a shingle. Both asphalt and treated wood shingles can survive up to 30 years on a roof, given ideal conditions.

Durability Cedar shingles are resistant to insects but not large amounts of rain. Cedar shakes in a damp environment are susceptible to mold and mildew and rot.

Sap from overhanging trees will encourage mildew. When rot sets in it has likely affected more than a single shake and the entire roof is a candidate for replacement.

Cleaning Costs

Asphalt has its own weather issues. Algae is more likely to take hold on an asphalt roof than cedar shakes. While this will not hamper your roof’s protection abilities, it does lead to unsightly staining and premature replacement on appearance grounds, especially at resale time.

Cleaning either a asphalt or wood shingle roof with a solution of water and bleach applied professionally and gently with a powerwasher will run from $25 to $30 per square. And this is a job best left to competent professionals as a poorly handled powerwasher can wreak havoc on roof shingles.

Flammability

Some building codes where fire is a danger restrict or ban the use of wood shingling altogether. Asphalt shingles have a high resistance to flames.

Keep in mind that wood shakes and shingles can be pressure treated with fire retardants and chemical preservatives.

Wind and Impact Resistance

Cedar shakes and shingles are the clear winner here. Both have proven to be highly impact-resistant and have tested to withstand wind speeds of up to 245 miles per hour (which your house will never see).

Asphalt shingles will, however, blow off a roof in high winds. Fallen branches are also much more likely to damage an asphalt shingle that a wooden one.

Maintenance

Cedar is a high maintenance material. For starters, the wood needs to breathe and the roof must be kept clear of leaves, branches and debris.

Gutters must be regularly cleaned and ventilation kept open for air to flow around the shakes and shingles.

Topical treatments can be applied as water repellents and ultraviolet inhibitors that can prevent graying of a roof.

If individual shakes or shingles are required they will match the composition and color of the original roof – score one point for cedar.

While algae will not impair the performance of asphalt shingles, mosses that grow on a damp roof can cause the edges to lift or curl leaving them vulnerable to a blow-off in storms.

Moss can be removed with a 50:50 mix of laundry-strength liquid chlorine bleach and water soaked with a low-pressure sprayer.

The moss will eventually loosen and can be swept off the roof. It will return, however, if many of the same measures as keeping a wood roof dry – trimming tree branches, removing debris and clearing gutters — are not followed. Replacing individual shingles is often a DIY job.

ROI, Property Valuations, and Curb Appeal Considerations

In terms of property valuations, replacing a cedar roof with asphalt will instantly diminish the value of your property. — On some historic homes, as well as homes surrounded by other homes roofed with cedar, such as in historic districts/neighborhoods, this may not even be an option to begin with.

However, if you must replace a cedar roof with something else, then opting for a metal roof rather than asphalt will help preserve the valuation and curb appeal of your property.

Conclusion

On the cost and maintenance considerations – the “Big Two” for most homeowners – asphalt shingles are the clear choice over wood shakes.

And in fact, about 70 percent of American roofs are covered with asphalt shingles today. On the other hand, those wood shingled-roofs just look so darn good, don’t they? 😉


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Tamko vs. Owens Corning Roofing Shingles: Cost, Pros & Cons, ROI

Owens Corning and Tamko are two asphalt shingle manufacturers sharing the adage, “we’re second-best, so we try harder.” CertainTeed is the consensus leader for overall asphalt shingle quality.

GAF is the largest producer of shingles, and its products get high marks. Right behind those giants are Owens Corning, certainly one of the most recognizable names in roofing products, and Tamko (or TAMKO), a brand that has its fans, too.

The Bottom Line from the Beginning

The bottom line, which all the details in this guide lead to, is that the Owens Corning vs. Tamko comparison is about as even as it gets in the roofing products industry.

Owens Corning Roofing Shingles Display

Both get ratings in the “good” to “very good” range from roofing contractors who install them every day and from home inspectors who have seen their share of durable shingles and shingles that have failed before they should.

What it comes down to is the quality of the installation. You’ve got two above-average shingle brands that can deliver superior durability for 20+ years, fail in just a few years or perform somewhere in the middle.

What makes the difference is how well the installers do their job.

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More on the installation below. Along the way we’ll address where each brand has bragging rights. While OC and Tamko are close to equal in total score, each brand has strong and weak points.

OC vs. Tamko: Quality and Reliability

Quality is a product of the materials used and the production process. Here’s an overview of Owens Corning and Tamko shingle construction.

  • Owens Corning: OC makes three tiers of shingles in basic (Oakridge, Supreme), better (Duration, OC’s best-seller) and best (Devonshire, Woodmoor, Woodcrest, Berkshire) categories.
  • Tamko: This brand makes a very similar lineup with basic (Elite Glass-Seal), better (Heritage, Heritage Woodgate) and best (Heritage Premium, Heritage Vintage).

All shingles from Owens Corning and Tamko feature fiberglass mat bases saturated with asphalt and dressed with coated granules to resist the sun’s UV radiation. Each shingle is constructed with fused layers.

When installed, less than half of each shingle is exposed. The result is that 3-tab roofs (OC Supreme and Tamko Elite Glass-Seal 3-tab) have 2-3 layers of coverage at any given point on your roof.

All other shingles from both brands are architectural style shingles with 4-5 layers of coverage. The result are shingles with wind ratings of 60mph for 3-tab products and 110/130mph for all others.

The two brands have the same ratings in most ASTM materials and fire rating tests. Both are on par or superior to most other brands including CertainTeed and GAF.

Bad shingles are often the result of production rather than the materials used. The production processes for these brands are similar. The processes are slightly tweaked, even from run to run (runs of shingle batches).

When errors occur, a bad batch of shingles, such as layers that don’t properly fuse, are produced. What makes a brand worth considering is the consistency of the quality from run to run. Owens Corning and Tamko deliver good consistency.

Advantage—Tie: We’re not afraid to take sides, but there’s no clear winner here. These brands are rated about as equal as you will find in terms of quality and reliability, especially the two most-popular series, the Owens Corning Duration and Tamko Heritage.

Owens Corning vs. Tamko: Cost

Since these brands compete aggressively head to head, their prices are comparable across all products (and are very competitive with GAF, too).

Here is a breakdown of the shingle series and their costs from both brands:

Prices are per square, which is 100 square feet of coverage (and 3 or 4 bundles of shingles, so check product specs for the bundles-per-square).

3-tab shingles:

  • OC Supreme: $70-$85
  • Tamko Elite Glass-Seal: $72-$77

Average architectural/dimensional shingles:

  • OC Duration: $110-$120
  • Tamko Heritage: $84-$100

Best-selling architectural/dimensional shingles:

  • OC Duration Designer, STORM & COOL: $105-$135
  • Tamko Heritage Premium: $90-$105

Premium, architectural/dimensional shingles:

  • OC Devonshire, Woodmoor, Woodcrest, Berkshire: $175-$280
  • Tamko Heritage Woodgate, Heritage Vintage: $180-$205

Advantage – Tamko: As you can see, Tamko offers better value in each tier of products. It always makes sense to get written estimates on the specific roofing materials you’re considering, to get a direct comparison of cost.

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Asphalt Shingles Roofing: 3-Tab Vs. Architectural Shingles Cost 2020

For most homeowners looking to do a re-roofing job on a budget while maintaining a fairly attractive look and weather tightness of their home, a composition shingles roof aka asphalt is perhaps the most plausible, simple, and cost-effective solution.

In a highly competitive residential roofing market saturated with numerous options, asphalt shingles are by far one of the most popular choices.

While not as durable and long-lasting as some of the more premium roofing materials such as metal, cedar shakes, slate, or clay tiles, asphalt shingles can provide an adequate protection and sufficient aesthetic appeal at only a fraction of the cost of other systems.

In this guide you will learn about advantages and disadvantages of composition shingle roofs to help you decide if this popular roofing option is the best fit for your home.

Two Types of Asphalt Shingles:

asphalt-shingles-roof Asphalt shingles come in two types: organic and fiberglass:

Old School Organic shingles are based on paper (waste paper) saturated with asphalt to make it waterproof, with coatings of adhesive salt and ceramic granules embedded on top.

Fiberglass shingles are made with a base layer of glass fiber reinforcing mat. This mat is coated with asphalt, which contains mineral fillers and makes the shingle waterproof.

While organic shingles are more durable than fiberglass ones, they are more flammable and hence more prone to fire. They are less environmentally-friendly due to their high asphalt (oil based) content.

Fiberglass shingles offer excellent fire protection. Today, fiberglass shingles are more commonly used and are rapidly replacing the organic shingles.

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