Asphalt shingles are the most common type of roof you will see on houses. In fact 90% of all roofs are asphalt in America. They really are a great product, because of their durability, long life (25-30 years), and great looks, lightweight and fire resistance. Asphalt shingles are a mix of a woven fiberglass mat, a layer of waterproof asphalt coating, and a top layer of ceramic granules, which protect from damaging UV rays.
There are many brands of shingles out there. Some of the most common roofers like to use are, Certainteed, GAF, Owens Corning, Malarkey,Atlas and Tamko. Many claim to have advantages over the other. It is my experience that they are all very similar. They all have had their good years and their bad years. Kind of like automobiles, they are only as good as the people who make them. I’ve spent much more on certain brands that were more expensive thinking that I was buying a better product, only to have them fail just a few short years later. When making your choice do your homework and get lots of opinions. My opinion is that Malarkey makes one of the best products due to its thicker nail patter strip, and larger seal tabs. I also like Tamko, because I’ve never had a manufacturers defect in the 11 years I’ve been roofing.
There are two major different types of asphalt shingles. 1. 3-tab shingles and 2. Architectural style shingles, also called laminate. Architectural style has some major advantages, 1. They withstand wind damage up to 115 miles per hour, 2. They look nicer and will add value to your house. 3. They have a 30 year warranty vs a 25 year warranty. Even longer depending on the manufacturer and what other systems you install with it. For example some manufacturers will give a 50 year warranty if you install their brand of starter, their brand of ridge shingles, and their brand of venting system.