Asphalt vs. Architectural Shingles

Selecting the right roofing material is a critical decision that can greatly impact the aesthetics, durability, and overall value of your home. Among the many roofing shingle options available, two popular choices stand out: asphalt shingles and architectural shingles. Each offers its own set of advantages and considerations, making the decision-making process a nuanced one. 

Our shingle roof experts from Artisan Quality Roofing are comparing the merits of asphalt shingles vs architectural shingles. By exploring their composition, benefits, drawbacks, installation processes, and more, we aim to provide you with the insights you need to make an informed choice that aligns with your budget, preferences, and the unique needs of your home. 

Whether you’re aiming for an affordable and straightforward solution or seeking a premium, long-lasting roofing option, this guide will assist you in navigating the asphalt vs. architectural shingles dilemma with confidence.

Church steeple new roof

Understanding Asphalt Shingles 

When it comes to roofing materials, many homeowners choose asphalt shingles due to their affordability, versatility, and ease of installation. An asphalt shingle roof shingles are composed of fiberglass mat coated with asphalt and covered with mineral granules, creating a protective and durable shingle.

Composition and Characteristics

Asphalt shingles are engineered to be incredibly durable and withstand harsh weather.

An asphalt roof is comprised of composite shingles, such as 3-tab shingles, which involves the construction of multiple layers of roofing materials, including:

  • Fiberglass Mat: The core of an asphalt shingle is typically a fiberglass mat. This mat provides structural stability and reinforcement to the shingle, helping it resist tearing and deformation caused by external forces.
  • Asphalt Coating: The fiberglass mat is coated with asphalt, which serves as a waterproofing agent. This asphalt layer shields the underlying structure of your roof from moisture infiltration, helping to prevent leaks and water damage.
  • Mineral Granules: The outermost layer of asphalt shingles consists of mineral granules. These granules not only provide texture and color to the shingles but also offer protection against UV light radiation, wind damage, and impact from hail or debris. They also contribute to the fire-resistant properties of asphalt shingles.

Advantages of Asphalt Shingles

Using asphalt shingles for your roofing project comes with several advantages that make them a popular choice for Raleigh homeowners:

  • Affordability: One of the most significant advantages of asphalt shingles is their cost-effectiveness. When considering roof replacement costs and the cost of long-term roof repairs, asphalt is more affordable than many other roofing materials, making it a budget-friendly option for most homeowners.
  • Variety in Colors and Styles: Asphalt shingles offer a wide range of color choices and styles, allowing homeowners to find the perfect shingle that complements their home’s architecture and personal preferences.
  • Ease of Installation and Repair: Installing asphalt shingles is relatively straightforward, which can help reduce labor costs during installation. Additionally, if a shingle becomes damaged, it’s relatively easy to replace individual shingles rather than the entire roof section.

Drawbacks of Asphalt Shingles

While asphalt shingles have their benefits, there are also some drawbacks to consider:

  • Shorter Lifespan: The lifespan of asphalt shingles is shorter when compared to some other roofing materials, such as metal or slate. Depending on the quality of the shingle type as well as the local climate, the average lifespan of an asphalt shingle roofing material typically lasts around 20 to 30 years.
  • Less Dimensionally Stable: Extreme temperature fluctuations can cause asphalt shingles to expand and contract, potentially leading to cracking and shingle curling over time, resulting in the need for shingle repairs by a roofing contractor.
  • Weather Vulnerability: In areas prone to severe weather conditions, such as heavy winds, hail, or extreme temperatures, asphalt shingles might be more susceptible to damage than more robust roofing materials that can withstand wind speeds.

Exploring Architectural Shingles

Architectural shingles, often referred to as dimensional shingles or laminate shingles, represent a step up in terms of both aesthetics and durability compared to traditional asphalt shingles. An architectural shingle roof is designed to mimic the appearance of more premium roofing materials, providing a sophisticated and textured look.

licensed roofer in raleigh installs architectural shingles and asphalt shingles

Composition and Characteristics

Architectural asphalt shingles are engineered to have a more complex and layered construction than their asphalt counterparts.

This layered structure contributes to the enhanced durability and visual appeal of the architectural shingle:

  • Base Mat: Similar to asphalt shingles, architectural roof shingles begin with a fiberglass mat that offers strength and flexibility.
  • Asphalt Layer: The fiberglass mat is coated with a thicker layer of asphalt compared to traditional shingles. This added asphalt contributes to the shingle’s wind resistance and overall durability, meaning the roof lasts longer when compared to traditional asphalt shingle roofing materials.
  • Layers of Asphalt and Granules: Laminated shingles are created by layering multiple pieces of material, including asphalt and ceramic granules, to give the shingle a three-dimensional appearance. This design mimics the texture and depth of natural roofing materials like cedar shakes or natural slate.

At Artisan Quality Roofing, we primarily install the CertainTeed Landmark shingle as it is a reliable, quality, and affordable product. However, we can also install luxury shingles for CertainTeed, GAF, and Owens Corning.

Advantages of Architectural Shingles

Architectural shingles offer several advantages that make them an attractive choice for homeowners seeking a premium roofing solution:

  • Longer Lifespan and Warranty Options: One of the most significant benefits of architectural shingles is their longer lifespan. These shingles can last anywhere from 30 to 50 years or more, depending on the quality and manufacturer. Many manufacturers offer extended architectural shingle warranties, providing added peace of mind about this quality material.
  • Improved Aesthetics and Curb Appeal: The layered design of architectural shingles generally creates a visually appealing, textured look that can enhance the overall curb appeal of your home. They can mimic the appearance of more expensive roofing materials, giving your home a high-end appearance.
  • Better Resistance to Wind and Impact: The layered construction of architectural shingles provides improved resistance to wind uplift and impact damage, making them a suitable choice for areas prone to severe weather conditions.

Drawbacks of Architectural Shingles

While architectural shingles offer numerous benefits, there are a few considerations to keep in mind:

  • Higher Cost: The enhanced features and longer lifespan of architectural shingles worth come at a higher cost compared to traditional asphalt shingles. Homeowners should be prepared for a larger upfront investment and installation costs.
  • Complex Installation Process: Installing architectural shingles requires more attention to detail and expertise due to their layered design. It’s recommended to have these shingles installed by experienced professional roofing contractors to ensure proper installation.
  • Limited Color Choices: While architectural shingles offer a variety of colors and styles, the range may be more limited compared to traditional asphalt shingles, which often come in a wider array of options.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Between Asphalt vs Architectural Shingles 

Choosing between asphalt shingles and architectural shingles requires careful consideration of various factors that influence the durability, aesthetics, cost, and long-term value of your roofing investment. 

Budget Considerations

If you’re working within a tight budget, asphalt shingles are a more cost-effective choice, offering affordability without compromising basic roofing functionality. In contrast, while more expensive upfront, architectural shingles provide better longevity and aesthetics, which might translate to better long-term value for your investment.

Aesthetic Preferences and Architectural Style

Both architectural shingles and traditional asphalt shingles come in a variety of colors and styles. However, asphalt shingles may lack the textured and premium appearance of architectural shingles. If aesthetics are a top priority and you want your roof to emulate the look of more expensive materials, architectural shingles offer a wider range of designs and can enhance your home’s curb appeal.

Local Climate and Weather Conditions

While they provide adequate protection, asphalt shingles might be less durable in areas with extreme weather conditions, including high winds, heavy rain, and hail. Architectural shingles, on the other hand, are built to withstand harsher weather elements due to their layered construction, making them a better choice for regions prone to severe weather.

Long-Term Investment and ROI

While cost-effective initially, asphalt shingles may require replacement or repairs sooner than architectural shingles, potentially leading to higher maintenance costs over time. The extended lifespan and enhanced durability of architectural shingles can result in long-term savings and a higher return on investment due to reduced maintenance and fewer replacements.

Asphalt vs architectural shingles

Maintenance and Repair Considerations

Roof maintenance services are relatively straightforward for asphalt shingles, but due to their shorter lifespan, asphalt shingles may require more frequent repairs and replacements. Alternatively, with their enhanced durability, architectural shingles typically require fewer repairs and replacements, saving you time and money over the years.

Environmental Impact and Sustainability

Traditional asphalt shingles are less environmentally friendly due to their shorter lifespan and disposal challenges. Some manufacturers offer architectural shingles made from recycled materials, increasing their eco-friendliness. Additionally, their longer lifespan reduces waste over time.

Contact Artisan Quality Roofing for New Roof Installations in Raleigh 

When it comes to securing a durable, stylish, and long-lasting roof for your Raleigh home, look no further than Artisan Quality Roofing. We are a top-rated licensed roofing contractor that specializes in new roof installations, bringing years of experience and a commitment to excellence to every project.

Whether you’re considering asphalt shingles or architectural shingles, our reputable NC roofing contractors will work closely with you to understand your needs, preferences, and budget. We take pride in offering personalized solutions that enhance both the protection and aesthetics of your home.

Get started today by calling us at 919-906-3791 or filling out the contact form below. 

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