How To Look At A House
McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of
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What's the difference between an architectural and a regular shingle roof?
Monday, October 8, 2018
Architectural shingles are a premium grade of asphalt shingle roofing. The shingles are thicker and have a distinctive, textured appearance. They are sometimes called dimensional or laminate shingles, and were introduced in the 1970s in an effort by manufacturers to create a higher-end product.
Regular roof shingles are called “3-tab” in the trade, for the 3 tab/flaps with quarter-inch grooves between them in each panel. They run in flat, even rows as opposed to the textured and layered look of architectural shingles.
Regular shingles have an average 15 to 20-year life. Sometimes a couple of years more. An architectural shingle roof has a 24 to 30-year life, with some super-premium grades rated for up to a 40-year lifespan. And architectural shingles come in wider variety of colors, subtly variegated color patterns, have greater resistance to uplift in a windstorm, and have a heavier granule covering.
All of this comes at a premium price, of course. Typically, an architectural shingle roof will cost about 25% more, but the premium, heaviest shingles even more. But you are rewarded for the extra investment with a 50% longer lifespan and a better looking roof.
Architectural shingles start with a heavier mat base, typically fiberglass that has been coated with asphalt. Multiple layers are then overlapped and laminated together to create the distinctive texture. The finished product weighs about 100-lbs. more per “square” (a roofer’s term for 100 square feet of roof area) than regular shingles. Builders also like them because minor imperfections in the roof deck are concealed by the texture.
If you currently have a regular shingle roof, most realtors we know recommend upgrading to architectural shingles when it’s time for a roof replacement, because of the all-important curb-appeal boost it gives an older home.
Also, see our blog posts What's the average lifespan of a roof? and How can I be sure my roofing contractor got a permit?
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To learn more about roofs and attics, see these other blog posts:
• Why is my roof sheathing sagging between the trusses?
• Why is granule loss a problem for an asphalt shingle roof?
• What are the mistakes to avoid when doing attic improvements?
• What causes roof shingles to curl up at corners?
• What causes shingles to buckle along a line on the roof?
• What causes leaks at a fake roof dormer?
• What causes a sagging roof ridge line?
• What causes bubble-like blisters in a built-up and gravel roof?
• Why does it cost so much more to replace a steep roof than a low slope roof?
• What is "ponding" on a flat roof?
• Is an attic required to have a light by the building code?
• How can I inspect my roof for hurricane damage?
• Why is premature curl of roof shingles a problem?
• How can I tell if a roof has more than one layer of shingles?
• What are the common problems with attic insulation?
• What is the life expectancy of an asbestos cement shingle roof?
• Why is it a mistake to replace a roof and not replace its flashings?
• Why is there no attic access hatch in the house?
• What is the building code requirement for an attic access hatch, scuttle, or door?
• Does a roof with multiple layers of shingles last longer?
• What can I do to prevent roof leaks?
• Are roof trusses better than roof rafters (stick framing)?
• Why is a popped nail in a shingle roof a problem? How do I fix it?
• What are the most common problems with wood roof trusses?
• What causes a lump or dip in the roof?
• If my roof is not leaking, why does it need to be replaced?
• How many layers of roofing are allowed on a home?
• What are the dark lines running parallel to shingles on my roof?
• Can metal roofing be used on a low slope/pitch roof?
• How can I make my roof last longer?
• What are the warning signs of a dangerous attic pull-down ladder?
• How can I find out the age of a roof?
• Should I buy a house that needs a new roof?
• Should I buy a house with an old roof?
• What are those metal boxes on the roof?
• What does "lack of tab adhesion" in an asphalt shingle roof mean?
• Why do roof edges start leaking?
• Why do my dormer windows leak?
• Do home inspectors go on the roof? Do they get in the attic?
• Should I put gutters on the house?
• How much of a roof truss can I cut out to make a storage platform in the attic?
• What does a home inspector look for when examining a roof?
• Do stains on the ceiling mean the roof is leaking?
• How can I tell if the house needs a new roof?
• Why does my homeowner's insurance want a roof inspection?
• What are the hazards to avoid when going into an attic?
Visit our ROOF AND ATTIC page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.
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