Hey there, West Michigan neighbor! If you’re a homeowner, you know how important it is to protect your home from the elements, especially in our fair state of Michigan where the weather can be quite capricious.
As a seasoned roofing contractor, I’ve seen it all: blizzards, rainstorms, scorching heatwaves, major hail—you name it, we’ve got it. And through all that, I’ve found that one roofing material consistently performs well. Any guesses? That’s right, asphalt shingles!
Understanding Asphalt Shingles What Are They?
Asphalt shingles are basically a strip of material—most often fiberglass—coated in asphalt to make it waterproof, then sprinkled with tiny granules to shield it from the sun’s UV rays. Sounds simple, right? But this simple design packs a powerful punch when it comes to protecting your home. Also side note, companies like GAF actually add copper granules during the manufacturing process to create a resistance to algae for up to 25 years depending on the line of GAF asphalt shingles. This is a huge benefit for new roofs installed in West Michigan with the large amount of tree coverage and tree sap in the air we often notice dark streaking and algae collecting on roofs which will lead to their deterioration much faster. This can be remedied by maintaining the roof with cleaners and items like zinc strips but the best bet is to install a algae repellent shingle in the first place.
Types of Asphalt Shingles
There are three main types of asphalt shingles: 3-tab, architectural, and premium. 3-tab shingles are no longer used in most cases for residential installations, outside of repairs or a roof facet repair (not a full replacement), they are also the thinnest and have the shortest lifespan.
Architectural shingles, also known as dimensional or laminate shingles, are thicker, more durable, and more visually appealing. Dimensional shingles just like their name allow for layering which sheds water much better than a standard non-demensional shingle. This extends the life expectancy dramatically and provides a much more visually appealing roof.
And finally there are premium shingles, which provide the highest level of aesthetics, and in some cases enhanced durability but at a higher cost. Options like this include the GAF Armorshield II shingle which is a class 4 impact resistant shingle made of a rubber material instead of standard asphalt which allows for flexibility in freeze thaw conditions as well as areas with high impact hail events.
There are other products available within the lines of “shingles” such as rubber shingles, stone coated steel shingles and many more, check out our previous blogs for more information on these other type of roofing products.
Why Are They So Popular?
Why do so many of your fellow West Michiganders love asphalt shingles, you ask? It’s because they’re a triple threat: affordable, durable, and versatile. They’re like the Swiss Army knife of roofing materials, offering a solution for almost every roofing challenge. With a project like a roof, most people are not excited to make this purchase so more often than not clients select a “middle of the road” option to take advantage of longevity of the current dimensional shingles on the market and the price point they come in at compared to items like metal roofing, or as previously mentioned in the last section rubber roofing or rubber shingle materials, which in most cases are significantly more expensive.
Benefits of Asphalt Shingles
First off, let’s talk about cost. As a homeowner, you’re always looking to get the most bang for your buck, right? Well, dimensional asphalt shingles deliver. They’re one of the most affordable roofing options on the market.
In many cases a standard 2000 square foot roof replacement would cost approximately $12,000 vs the same roof replacement using a standing seam metal roof would start at $35,000! When homeowners see these numbers they often say “they both have a 50 year warranty?!”.
Yes, yes they do, in many cases both installations with a certified contractor will provide a 50 Year warranty on roofing materials. With that being said when you look at the math you can see metal is for those who desire it or in cases where it will perform better for reasons the structure would dictate. Asphalt shingles installed with the proper accessories are a beneficial and cost effective solution to almost any West Michigan residential roof replacement.
I once worked on a large Victorian home in South Haven, Michigan that needed a complete roof replacement. The owners were on a tight budget but wanted a roof that would last against the harsh winds. We went with architectural asphalt shingles. Not only did the roof look great, but the homeowners also saved a bundle compared to other materials.
The materials selected were the GAF HDZ shingles as they provide a residential property owner with an unlimited wind warranty! In this area of West Michigan high winds are just a daily standard so with this shingle they can rest assured if there were ever an issue their roof would be warrantied.
Durability is another big plus for asphalt shingles. Until shingles age and begin to get brittle due to the loss of the original oils in the asphalt, they can withstand a wide range of weather conditions, from the freezing winters to the hot, humid summers we experience here in West Michigan. And if they’re installed correctly, they can last up to 50 years! But this doesn’t just happen anytime shingles get shot down, insulation and air flow, the accessories installed under and around the shingles and the weather exposure the roof takes will vary these timelines.
Asphalt shingles are the chameleons of roofing materials. They can mimic the look of more expensive materials like cedar shakes, slate, or tile, and they come in a wide range of colors. This means they can suit just about any architectural style you’ll find in West Michigan, from charming cottages to stately mansions.
Case Studies of Asphalt Shingle Usage in West Michigan
We’ve worked on many homes in West Michigan where asphalt shingles were the perfect solution. From a quaint bungalow in downtown Kalamazoo, that went for 3-tab shingles for a specific match, to a grand estate in Mattawan that chose premium GAF Armorshield II for their superior durability and aesthetic appeal, these projects demonstrate the flexibility and effectiveness of the shingle products available in our West Michigan market.
Choosing the Right Asphalt Shingles for Your West Michigan Property
Now that you’re practically an expert on asphalt shingles, how do you choose the right ones for your property? It depends on your budget, your home’s architectural style, and your personal preferences. And, of course, finding a trustworthy roofing contractor is key.
So there you have it. Asphalt shingles are affordable, durable, versatile, and with many options available they are often the best choice for residential homes. They’re like that reliable friend who’s always there when you need them.
If you’re a West Michigan property owner, they might just be the best investment you could make for your next roofing project. So next time you’re staring up at your roof wondering what’s best, remember the humble asphalt shingle. It might just be your roof’s & wallet’s new best friend.