Wagner 101: Understanding Composition Roofs

Whether you are a homeowner looking to improve the curb appeal of your house or a business owner in need of a new roof for your brick-and-mortar store, you will need to speak to a roofing contractor about what options are best for your property. During this consultation, it can be easy to get confused by all the jargon utilized in the industry.

That’s why Wagner Roofing is here to help our customers by giving you a better understanding of the materials and equipment used in repairing, replacing, or refurbishing your roofing. This blog will focus on teaching you what you need to know about one of the most common types of materials; composition roofs.

What is Composition Roofing?

Composition roofing is the industry-preferred terminology for asphalt shingles. The term composition refers to the fact that these shingles are man-made; utilizing fiberglass, tar, granules, wood, and other materials to make a durable, long-lasting roofing product. Appreciated for their reliability as a mid-weight option, composition tiles are one of the most popular roofing materials in the U.S.

These shingles are made by using fiberglass mats which serve as the backbone for the tiles. The fiberglass is a strong, yet flexible material that is easy to use and install. The mats are fed into a coating machine that preheats crushed limestone rock and asphalt to more than 400 degrees Fahrenheit, using it to coat the fiberglass mats. A thin coating of granules are embedded into the mat, along with a sealant that will keep them in place. Cutting machines then divide these mats into three different types of shingles: 3-tab, architectural, and luxury, before they are bundled up and shipped out.

Before You Begin

While the composition shingles are a big part of what you see, they are far from the only thing that makes up a durable roof. The structure of your roof is a complex system of support and distribution that requires a professional contractor to be fully taken advantage of. While materials like 3-tab shingles may be relatively light and efficient to install, others like the luxury shingles are much heavier and require stronger support to work correctly.

This is why it is so important to work with a local contractor who can perform the necessary assessments before they get started. You may envision yourself with a hardy luxury slate tile roof that will take your family from move-in to grandkids, but if your decking is damaged or your flashing is improperly installed, you won’t get very far! Take the time to ensure that your home is ready by getting the proper inspections and assessments out of the way first.

Types of Composition Roofing

These asphalt shingles are the most common and are typically seen in residential neighborhoods. They are cost-effective, durable, and easy to install, making them a popular choice among homeowners. They lie flat against the structure and are lightweight materials. While they can be relied upon for a roughly 25-year lifespan, they have a tendency to curl over time and will need to be rejuvenated if their asphalt granules are rubbed off.

Also known as Dimensional shingles, architectural shingles are utilized to create a random roofing pattern that adds shadow and greater dimension to the look of your roof. They are heavier than 3-tab by about 50%, giving them more durability and a longer lifespan of 30 – 50 years. Their increased weight makes them more difficult to install but has the trade-off of making architectural shingles more difficult to dislodge from wind shear or debris.

Luxury shingles (shake or slate tiles) are thicker and larger than the previous materials, making them a hardy product that can surpass a 50-year lifespan when properly cared for. They are competitively priced when held up against other premium roofing options like wood, clay, or metal, and their multi-layered aesthetic adds to the overall curb appeal of your home. Luxury tiles are more difficult to install, often requiring a brand-certified contractor and special accessories in order to be effective.

Care and Maintenance

Even the most durable shingles can still be damaged or dislodged by extreme weather or environmental hazards like falling tree branches. Providing your roof with care and upkeep is the best way to ensure it lives out the entirety of its lifespan, keeping your home protected, your budget under control, and your family safe.

Start by scheduling roof inspections twice a year. This can help you spot problems like leaks, missing shingles, or worn-down materials early and deal with them before they become a significant issue.

Take your home into your own hands by keeping your gutters clean and removing small debris before it can cause damage like ponding, mold, and rust. Be sure to stay safe and never work on a roof alone or in extreme weather.

Plan for a rejuvenation treatment for your asphalt shingles. This process returns the granular coating to your tiles, increasing their durability and lifespan without resorting to a full replacement. Your local roofing contractor can tell you if your roof is in need of rejuvenation treatment.

Be sure you know the details of your warranties and your insurance coverage. Not only will this help smooth the process of any roofing work that needs to be accomplished, but it can be useful to know your options in case of an emergency like fire or unexpected damages.