Roofing Shingles: What kind of shingle should I choose?

author: Mike Larsen
date: June 26, 2021

There are many different manufacturers with many different options to choose from when picking shingles. This can make the process quite confusing to the consumer. Many years ago most roofs in this state had a style called 3 tab shingles or otherwise known as 3 and 1 shingles. Most of these shingles come with 60 mile an hour wind resistance and a 25 year life span. This style shingle is rarely put on roofs now-a-days unless it is used to repair a roof that has those style shingles on it or an addition was put on a house and and that style has to be matched.

The most common style used for quite some time now is dimensional or otherwise called architectural style shingle. There are a few reasons for this. Dimensional shingles have been around a long time but the pricing and the warranties have changed over time. Many years ago you had 30 year, 40 year and lifetime dimensionals and the cost was quite a bit more than the 3 tab shingle. The price differences on the dimensionals verses the 3 tab shingles would be a hard sell to the consumer. Now most dimensional shingles come with a lifetime warranty from the manufacturer and the pricing has changed. The 30 and 40 year dimensionals are now lifetime shingles even though the manufacturer may not have changed the product. Keep in mind that most lifetime warranties from manufacturers mean your lifetime and are non transferable. So if you move the warranty is void or if you pass away. The wind resistance starts at 110 mph and goes up from there. You shouldn’t need more than 110 mph wind resistant shingles because if you get winds that high you probably are going to have other damage to your house and that would probably be an insurance claim. The cost of the dimensional that used to be a 30 year is almost at the same cost of the 3 tab shingles now, so value-wise it wouldn’t be practical to put the 3 tab on.

As far as manufacturers go, there are many to choose from but there are four that are the most common and have been around the longest. These four are Certainteed, Owens Corning, GAF, and IKO. Three of these manufacturers are neck and neck as far as their performance. The one that’s not is IKO. I have seen more wind damaged roofs and shingles that failed from IKO than any other product. You can see Owens Corning and GAF in a Home Depot or a Lowe’s and even though they are compatible to Certainteed the problem lies in availability. When you get the product from one of those places a lot of times whatever color you pick would be special order which could be a problem. If your roof was done and a year later you need more product for whatever reason, whether it was because of a leak or you ran short on product you might be waiting a couple weeks for the product. That is a problem. Certainteed products are sold at a roofing supply company that you can get at just about any day of the week, all year long.

For pricing between the four, three of them are neck and neck in price other than I.K.O. They are a little less in price but the quality is less and may end up costing a lot more down the road in repairs because of the product not holding up like it should. My personal opinion from a contractor stand point would be Certainteed landmark which comes with a 110 mph lifetime warranty and almost the same cost as the 3 tab. My second pick is the Certainteed Pro, which comes with a 130 mph lifetime warranty and is only about 10 dollars more a square.