Asphalt shingles serve as one of the most economical options for residential roofs, which has helped make asphalt the most popular roofing material in the US. Despite its low price tag, however, the simple asphalt shingle isn't exactly known for its good looks. Instead, it's associated with its traditional gray color and a basic three-tab design. While the earliest asphalt shingles offered limited choices for buyers, modern asphalt shingles come with a surprising number of options, upgrades and extras, many of which can make a big difference in the look of your home. Check out these 8 upgrades to help you choose asphalt shingles that will maximize curb appeal, hold up to the elements and maybe even make your home more eco-friendly.
1. Cool Colors
While asphalt shingle colors were once limited to shades of gray, today's manufacturers offer a wide selection of colors to complement your home, or even to help your roof serve as a design element in its own right. You'll find plenty of colors you expect, like charcoal, black, brown and tan, as well as colors that might surprise you, like shades of red, green or even blue. Some asphalt shingles even allow you to mix and match complementary shades for a multi-hued effect, which adds depth and texture.
2. Material Mimics
One of the coolest things about the latest asphalt shingles in that many of them don't look at all like what you'd expect asphalt shingles to look like. Instead, they are made specifically to resemble more expensive materials, like weathered wooden shingles, cedar shakes, slate or even clay tiles. These shingles are highly textured, and can be difficult to distinguish from the real thing, making them a solid choice for budget-minded buyers.
3. New Profiles
If you think of asphalt shingles as totally square in shape, think again; asphalt shingles now come in all sorts of shapes and profiles. Sure you can find square and rectangular versions, but you will also find scalloped edges, like those found on old Victorian homes. Many also offer rounded or tapered corners, giving them a very old-world feel.
4. Reflective Coatings
A roof that reflects energy from the sun rather than absorbing it can be as much as 50 degrees cooler than a standard dark-colored roof. This means your home will feel more comfortable, and you'll spend less on air conditioning each month. Look for asphalt shingles with granules that were coated at the factory to make them more reflective and help repel sunlight rather than soaking it in.
5. Algae Resistance
Algae thrives in damp or subtropical areas, and can lead to ugly growth on your shingles. You'll spend 10 to 15 percent more on shingles coated with copper granules to boost algae-resistance, but you'll spend much less time cleaning and maintaining your roof over the years if you choose this upgrade.
6. Impact Resistance
Impact from hail and other objects knock granules off asphalt shingles, exposing the asphalt to the sun, which degrades the shingles more quickly. The impact resistance of shingles is measured in classes ranging from 1 to 4, which class 4 shingles having the greatest resistance against impacts. Pick shingles with the highest impact-resistance to extend the life of your roof and minimize maintenance.
7. Wind Resistance
The wind resistance of shingles is also measured in classes, but uses letters, rather than the numbers used to measure impact resistance. Class D means shingles can withstand up to 90 mile per hour winds, while class G is rated for 120 mph and class H is rated for 150 mph.
8. Subtle Solar
Asphalt shingles with solar panels built right in can give you the benefits of solar power without the bulky panels. They look just like regular shingles, but adding 350 of these special shingles to your roof can cut your electric bill by 40 to 60 percent thanks to the power of the sun.
For more information, visit All American Roofing Incorporated.