Atlas is a top-five roofing shingle brand in ratings from pros and homeowners. Atlas shingles are a good value, which we define as reasonable price combined with quality that is above average.
Did you know? Online ratings don’t give the whole story for any shingle brand. Ratings on the brand’s website are unrealistically high, posted by happy customers in the first few months after installation – too soon to know how durable the shingles are.
Ratings on review sites are disproportionately low. Unsatisfied customers look for the chance to criticize the shingles. For example, on one prominent review site, Atlas received 49% 5-star ratings, 49% 1-star ratings and 2% in between. People love them or hate them. Yet, the brand was rated in the top few brands reviewed on the site.
The suit against Atlas involved the Chalet line of shingles, no longer produced. The class action was dismissed. Some homeowners filed individual suits with various outcomes.
Are Atlas Shingles Right for Your Roof?
That’s the question this information will help you answer. You’ll discover what homeowners, roofing contractors and roof inspectors think of this brand’s shingles.
Why Roofing Contractors recommend Atlas:
There are two reasons roofers like Atlas, and they have benefits to homeowners, too.
1. The Atlas Signature Select roofing system
All major shingle manufacturers make a comprehensive lines of materials to build a roof from the deck up.
As shown in the image above, the Atlas Signature Select system includes:
1) Atlas WeatherMaster Ice & Water underlayment for use at roof eaves, rakes and valleys
4) Nine shingle lines (see details below)
Pro Tip: Installing the Atlas Signature Select roofing system won’t automatically produce a better roof than one constructed from quality materials from mixed brands.
A long-lasting roof is the result of superior installation. That’s why hiring an experienced, proven roofing contractor is just as important as the brand of materials you use.
The real benefit to roofing professionals and homeowners is that Atlas provides a much better warranty on the complete Signature Select system.
Note: The downside is that the better warranty is not available, if you’re simply adding a second layer of shingles rather than tearing off the existing shingles.
2. The Atlas Pro Plus Contractor Program
The program provides training, tips and techniques for roofers for installing Atlas products. Certified Atlas contractors can advertise the fact. The Atlas certification gives homeowners assurance of the roofing company’s expertise.
4-Nail 130mph warranty on some shingles: Most Atlas architectural shingles have a base 110mph warranty that can be upgraded to 130mph with enhanced installation that includes 6 nails and/or roofing cement.
A 4-nail installation without cement means faster installation. This might translate into a lower cost.
Why home inspectors like Atlas: Home inspectors examine thousands of homes over the years – inspecting them for potential buyers, evaluating storm damage and advising homeowners on whether to repair or replace an older roof.
Testing of StormMaster shingles yielded a UL2218 Class 4 impact resistance rating, the highest given to asphalt shingles.
Did you know?
A Class 4 rating means the shingles did not break when a 2” steel ball was dropped on the same spot twice from a height of 20 feet.
Note: Class 4 shingles from other top manufacturers include CertainTeed Presidential Shake and Landmark IR, GAF Grand Sequoia IR and Timberline with Armorshield, Malarkey Windsor and Owens Corning TruDefinition Duration Storm.
3-tab 110mph Legend shingles: Atlas Legend might be the only 3-tab shingle available with a 110mph wind warranty. Most other 3-tabs have a 60mph to 70mph ratings.
GAF claims its Royal Sovereign 3-tab shingles passed the 110mph test, but GAF only backs them with a 60mph warranty.
Atlas shingle benefits to homeowners:
Of course, homeowners like the warranty upgrades, trained installers and the weather-resistant options. There’s more.
Basic/better/best options: Atlas makes two affordable 3-tab options, three mid-grade lines it calls Value Architectural, and four top-of-the-line Designer shingles with Scotchgard protector.
Each line is available in multiple colors and blends.
Above-average warranties: Four Atlas shingle lines are backed by lifetime warranties against material defect. The warranty period is 50 years, so it isn’t truly “lifetime”. However, it is equivalent to the period backed by Lifetime warranties from CertainTeed, GAF and other brands.
The Legend 3-tab shingles have a 40-year warranty, unusually long for 3-tabs.
Scotchgard Protector algae warranties are either lifetime (3 lines) or 40 years (Legend 3-tab). This is among the longest available.
Transferable warranties: Your Atlas warranty can be transferred once, but only during the non-prorated period Atlas calls the Premium Protection period. It’s 5 to 20 years depending on the shingle and whether it’s installed by an Atlas Pro Plus contractor. These transfer rules are similar for brands that allow transfer.
Labor, tear-off and disposal included: Many shingle manufacturer warranties cover materials only. In this respect, Atlas offers one of the best warranties available. It also covers labor including a tear-off when necessary and disposal fees.
This table summarizes all Atlas roofing shingle warranties:
Pro Tip: Do you notice staining on roofs in your area? It’s caused by algae. If you haven’t looked, you should before you buy shingles.
If staining is a problem in your area, Atlas Legend, Pinnacle Pristine and StormMaster shingles come with the industry-best lifetime algae warranties, so should be on your short list of options.
Atlas has its fans, but there are a few potential negatives to consider.
Cons for contractors:
Most roofing contractors don’t make the effort to become Atlas Pro Plus contractors, so they can’t offer homeowners the extended Premium Protection warranty.
Secondly, Atlas shingles don’t seal well in cold weather. Atlas claims on its warranty page that shingles need sunlight in order to seal properly and that those installed in fall and winter might not seal. Failure to seal is NOT covered by the warranty.
Did you know? The seal problem affects every shingle brand. Avoid installation in temperatures below 50F. Even then, the shingles need to be warmed by radiant heat from the sun to about 70F to effectively seal.
Hand-sealing the shingles using roofing cement is possible, but it is time-consuming, so will increase labor cost by up to 15%.
Home inspector concerns:
Inspectors noticed that Atlas shingles tend to blister and crack when installed over rigid foam insulation. The insulation stopped the transfer of radiant heat from the sun, so it built up in the shingle resulting in failure. Atlas has a new policy – Installation over foam insulation voids its warranty.
Inspectors also have noted excess loss of granules on some lines including StormMaster Shakes. The problem appears to be caused by significant hail storms hitting roofs 5+ years old.
If large hail is common where you live, avoid this Atlas line.
Homeowner issues with Atlas:
It’s the homeowner that usually pays for problems in the end, since warranty claims are denied at a high rate for all shingle brands.
Denied warranty claims: This is the #1 consumer complaint against Atlas and every other shingle company. Manufacturers write very narrow warranties full of exceptions.
Did you know?
Common reasons for denying a warranty claim include:
- Poor installation technique
- Improperly vented attic allowing moisture and heat to destroy roofing from below
- Installation over an unapproved underlayment such as rigid foam
- The shingles never sealed due to weather or faulty installation
In most cases, the shingle manufacturer sticks to its denial of the claim, and the homeowner must accept it or sue the company with a high risk of losing.
This is why proper installation is so important. If anything goes wrong with your roof that isn’t caused by a storm, you will likely have to pay for repair or replacement.
We recommend that you request written estimates from at least three licensed, insured and experienced installers. Find out how experienced the crew is that will install your roof. Check contractor’s references and reviews.
Also, make sure your installer understands Atlas installation guidelines and will follow them. Get that in writing!
Our Free Quotes service streamlines the process of finding a dependable roofer. You can be sure you’re getting estimates from pre-screened and experienced roofing contractors. The service is free, and you don’t have to take any of the estimates.
Proper roof preparation: To avoid shingle failure, make sure your attic is vented properly at eaves, the ridge, gables (and off-ridge vents on very large roofs).
Your roofing contractor should know whether ventilation is adequate or what must be done. The roof deck should be in good condition. Flashing should be replaced in a roof tear-off job.
Atlas Shingles Cost: Materials and Installation
We mentioned value as a combination of quality and reasonable cost. Here are prices for the most popular Atlas shingle lines.
Prices are per square – or 100 square feet of coverage:
Atlas GlassMaster shingles in 8 colors: $47-$54
Architectural shingles: Atlas Castlebrook 35 (9 colors) shingles: $64-$75
Designer 3-Tab shingles: Atlas Legend shingles in 5 colors: $72-$81
*Compare to CertainTeed XT30 – though as mentioned, this shingle really is one of a kind.
Designer/dimensional shingles: Atlas StormMaster Shake in 9 colors: $105-$124
Here’s a summary of all Atlas shingle prices:
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The Verdict on Atlas: Value Roof vs. Premium Roof
If getting very good roofing materials at a competitive price is your goal, then Atlas is a top brand for value.
Remember that the non-prorated (Premium Protection) warranty is much better on most shingle lines if you tear off the old materials and install an Atlas Signature Select roof, as discussed above.
For a little extra cost, you’ll get a lot more coverage and peace of mind. If you intend to live in your current home for 10+ years, we recommend it.
Finally, don’t settle for an inexperienced roofer. Find one that has an experienced crew and gets good reviews from other homeowners. Feel free to try our referral service for quotes from pre-screened installers where you live.
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