Asphalt Roofing Shingles: Costs, Pros & Cons – The Ultimate Guide

Asphalt shingles still dominate the US roofing industry, accounting for more than 70% of all residential, sloped roofs including new construction and replacements. That’s probably why you’re here – asphalt shingles are on the short list of materials you’re considering for your home, garage, or business.

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GAF Timberline HD Birchwood Architectural Asphalt Shingles on a Cross-Cable Roof with two dormers
Source: GAF

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

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

What are Asphalt Shingles?

There are many reasons for the popularity of asphalt shingles, and we’ll cover them in the pros and cons section, but the main reasons are low cost and ease of installation – the combination of low cost and fairly decent durability and longevity.

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

Composition of a modern asphalt shingle:

  1. Fiberglass mat: The core of today’s durable asphalt shingles is fiberglass mat. This material is chosen because it is lightweight, resists tearing, and holds asphalt very well.
  2. Asphalt: The fiberglass mat is run through a saturator tank where the glass fibers are thoroughly coated with hot asphalt, a petroleum-based material used for its strong resistance to moisture. The weight and toughness of the asphalt is useful for wind and impact resistance.
  3. Mineral granules: The part of the asphalt shingle that will be exposed to the elements is coated with mineral granules that are available in a wide range of colors.

    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 ceramic-coated granules also reflect the UV rays of the sun – the single worst threat to shingles.

  4. Sealant strips: Continuous or intermittent lines of raw asphalt are applied to the top part of each shingle that will be covered by the next layer installed. The sealant strip bonds the shingles together once they heat up in sun and warmth.

Note: If you come across a discussion of organic shingles in your research, the information is likely quite old or encyclopedic. Organic shingles didn’t perform up to expectations, so most manufacturers stopped making them in 2008.

Did you know? The sunnier a climate is, the shorter the lifespan of the average shingle will be. One of the ways to extend the lifespan of an asphalt roof in a sunny climate such as Florida, Arizona, Texas, is to opt for a solar-reflective, light colored shingles designed to reflect solar radiant heat and UV radiation.

New Shingle Roof

$7,500
Average price
New Metal Roof

$14,500
Average price
New Flat Roof

$8,225
Average price

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Pros & Cons of Owens Corning Shingles – Costs – Unbiased OC Roofing Reviews

Owens Corning makes a large selection of composition shingles ranging from affordable to high-end. The brand is often compared with GAF, Tamko and Atlas. It’s considered a tier below the best lines from CertainTeed and Malarkey.

OC Shingle Cost

Owens Corning shingles cost ranges from about $80 per square for 3-tab, $90+ for the most popular TruDefinition Duration shingles, and $230 for premium designer shingles. A square is 100 square feet of roofing coverage.

New Shingle Roof

$7,500
Average price
New Metal Roof

$14,500
Average price
New Flat Roof

$8,225
Average price

See costs in your area Enter Your Zip Code

Did you know? Owens Corning (OC), GAF and CertainTeed account for about 80% of all asphalt shingle sales in the US.

This Fortune 500 (#458) dominates the building materials market with about 50% of combined residential insulation and roofing material sales. 2017 revenue was $5.7 billion.

Owens Corning used to make vinyl siding until 2007, when the division was sold to CertainTeed.

Are OC Shingles Right for Your Home?

This guide is designed to provide you with comprehensive research about the strong points and weaknesses of the Owens Corning shingles.

Note: Comparing residential asphalt shingle brands is easy with the guides we’ve prepared for GAF, CertainTeed, Atlas, Malarkey and an Owens Corning vs Tamko guide.

Did you know? OC was the focus of a class action lawsuit regarding defective Oakridge Shadow shingles installed before 2006.

The suit was rejected in 2018 because “plaintiffs’ theories were too broad to show that the class would be sufficiently cohesive under the predominance requirement for class certification.”

Note: CertainTeed, GAF, Atlas and Tamko are among shingle brands that have been hit with class action suits.

Positives:

Here are the key factors besides a huge marketing budget that put Owens Corning shingles in the second place behind GAF in total sales.

The Owens Corning Total Protection Roofing System

A roof is much more than shingles. Other components protect against wind-driven rain, ice buildup, heat in the attic and other risks brought by the elements. All the major brands make a similar collection of products.

Using products from one brand ensures they’re designed to work together. It also gives you access to the best warranties from Owens Corning.

OC uses the moto “Seal, Defend, Breath” to represent the Total Protection roof.

Seal: Underlayment and Moisture Barrier

OC makes standard felt underlayment (basic), ProArmor synthetic (better) and Deck Defense high performance synthetic (best).

The Owens Corning WeatherLock ice and water barrier is made in three tiers, too. The premium Flex barrier protects valleys, eaves, rakes and areas around chimneys. It’s best suited for very cold climates with frequent freeze/thaw cycles.

Defend: Starter Shingles, Roof Shingles and Hip/Ridge Shingles

OC makes starter shingles in roll and strip form that provide extra coverage at roof eaves. Five hip and ridge shingle lines match OC’s range of shingle styles.

Breathe: Roof Ventilation

This is a range of products for the soffit, ridge and roof. The vents allow fresh, dry air to flow into the attic and hot and/or humid air to escape. Proper ventilation optimizes airflow to get rid of excess heat and moisture, which can damage your attic and roof.

OC Certified Contractors

All major brands offer certified contractor programs. Roofers in the network are trained in the installation of OC products and are given other perks.

The homeowner benefits by knowing the contractor has the experience and training OC requires. Secondly, you have the option of better warranties, though at a cost.

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