Part 1 of Selecting Your Asphalt Shingles

Selecting Your Asphalt Shingles For Minnesota Homeowners

As you start preparing to have a new asphalt shingle roof installed, it may seem to be a long and complex task.  It is important to remember how important this process is, since it will directly affect what is probably your largest single investment – your home.  In order to simplify this process, we have developed a guide to help you through the many choices to be made.  We walk you through the different styles of asphalt shingles available, and give you the easiest way to start the process.  Getting involved in each step of the process is advisable to do away with any hassles that may crop up later.

The first step in the life of your asphalt shingle roof is selecting a shingle.  At first glance, with so many different styles and colors to choose from, it may seem a little intimidating.  But when you get right down to it, there are really only four decisions to make.

1. Selecting a Shingle Style

The different styles of shingles can be divided into two basic categories: Architectural shingles and Traditional 3-Tab Design shingles.

The first type is the architectural shingle.  Their remarkable dimensional thickness and deep, blended shadow bands simulate the appearance of classic wood shakes, enhancing the beauty of any home.  The traditional 3-tab design shingle gets its name from the three tabs incorporated into its profile.  Always a popular choice, traditional 3-tab shingles are available in a wide variety of colors.

2. Choosing a Limited Warranty Length

Architectural and traditional fiberglass shingles also come in different weights and limited warranty period lengths.  Once you have decided on one of these styles of shingles, check with your roofing contractor to determine the choices in warranty periods offered.  Ask your roofing contractor to show you a good, better and best selection of products.

While architectural shingles may cost more than Traditional 3-Tab shingles, it is important to remember that laminated architectural asphalt shingles may last longer.  Amortized over that length of time, the difference in price between Traditional 3-Tab shingles and upscale architectural shingles is less than you might think.

  • Note: Product availability may vary per region.  Depending on location, materials, roof design, underlayment, installation, slope and other factors.

3. Choosing a Color

Now, it is time to choose a color.  Although it sounds like a simple process, it is usually the step that causes the homeowner the most difficulty.  After all, choosing a color is a very personal and subjective process.  Since everyone has a unique sense of style and taste, it is impossible to give a hard-and-fast rule on how to choose a shingle color.  One of the best ways to pick a color is to drive around your neighborhood.  Check out the different color combinations of roof, brick / siding, and trim colors that your neighbors have tried.  Make a list of the ones you like, and steer clear of the ones you don’t.

Once you have narrowed down your choices, it is important to view several full size shingle samples, or an existing roof completed with the same style and color shingles, before making a final decision.  Often overlooked, getting actual shingle samples from your contractor is the best way to see how a shingle color will look in combination with the other color elements (brick / siding, and trim color) of your home.

If you are considering new trim paint or siding, grab those samples as well, and take them outside.  Hold them out in the natural sunlight, and see how the colors interact together, and how they change under different lighting conditions.

Here are some additional questions you may want to ask yourself when selecting a shingle style

Remember that laminated architectural asphalt shingles may last longer.  Amortized over that length of time, the difference in price between Traditional 3-Tab shingles and upscale architectural shingles is less than you might think.

  • Depending on location, materials, roof design, underlayment, installation, slope and other factors.

Here are some additional questions you may want to ask yourself when selecting a shingle style.

Do I live in an area where algae discoloration is a concern?

If you live in an area where algae discoloration is a concern, some shingles feature an algae resistant system to protect against algae discoloration.  You may also want to consider selecting a dark color shingle, which is less likely to show the staining associated with algae discoloration.

Do I have a steep pitched roof?

With a steep pitched roof you can see more of the roof while standing on the ground.  To give your roof an interesting and complex texture, consider using architectural shingles.  With their multi-layer, laminated construction, architectural shingles are a perfect match for steep pitched roofs.

Do I want my home to stand out from the crowd?

If you want to give your home a more distinct and individual look, consider using architectural shingles.

4. Choosing Your Roofing Contractor

After selecting a shingle style and color, the next step is choosing a roofing contractor.  This is an important step in the process, and should not be taken lightly.  It is important to do your homework, since not all contractors are alike.  Some are more committed to their workmanship and after-sales service than others.  Some may have better-trained installers.  There may even be contractors on shaky financial ground who will not survive long enough to provide the roofer’s warranty service.  A contractor who stands behind his work typically has a good reputation in the community, and wants to keep that reputation by making sure his customers are satisfied.  Take whatever time is necessary to select the right contractor.  Having the right contractor can make a big difference.

Points to consider when assessing the qualifications of various contractors:

  • How long have they been in business?
  • Are they bonded and insured, including worker’s compensation and general liability?
  • Do they have the appropriate licenses for your community? (Ask to see written proof.)
  • Will they give you the names and phone numbers of some of their customers you may call for a reference?
  • Do they have a satisfactory record with your local Better Business Bureau?
  • Are they willing to put all agreements, promises and understandings in writing
  • Whether you need a new roof, roof replacement, or roof repair, find a reliable Minnesota Roofing Contractor to provide you with an estimate for the services you need.
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