Roofing 101

The Benefits of Asphalt Roofing Shingles


Asphalt shingles are the number one choice for roofing in North America for good reason. They offer versatility, weather resistance and much more. If it’s time to replace your roof, it’s worthwhile to consider the benefits of asphalt shingles for your home. After all, the roof may be the most important part of your home, as far as function goes. If your roof isn’t working, everything beneath it is at risk. Here’s why you should choose asphalt shingles over other materials for your new roof.

1. Versatility

Asphalt shingles can cover many different angles, shapes and forms. That means that they work with almost any type of roof, from cross hipped to Dutch gable. No matter how large or complicated your roof is, you can trust that asphalt shingles will cover it all seamlessly. There are slope requirements, as there is a minimum slope for asphalt roofing. However, almost all homes in North America are suitable for asphalt shingles.

2. Design Variety

Asphalt shingles are available in a range of rich architectural styles. 3-tab shingles are traditional and work with many home styles. Dimensional and premium shingles are also available in multiple styles. In fact, some mimic the look of other roofing materials, like slate and cedar shakes. This way, you can get the design advantages of these materials without their drawbacks.

For example, IKO’s Royal Estate™ shingles are precision cut to have the authentic looking texture of slate. IKO’s Armourshake™ looks like cedar shakes and is available in both the young, red cedar color and the older, more mature grey color that cedar shakes naturally adopt over time.

premium asphalt shingles
designer roof shingles

3. Color Options

Asphalt shingles are available in a huge range of colors. If you need to preserve your home’s curb appeal or improve it before a sale, you need to be able to pick the right shade of roofing material that can work with the rest of your home. The wide selection of asphalt shingle colors available makes that possible. Other roofing materials just don’t offer as many colors.

4. Cost-Effective Quality

Perhaps the top advantage of asphalt shingles over other roofing materials is that they still offer high performance for a lower cost. Asphalt shingles are the most cost-effective roofing materials upfront, and they still last long enough to provide the most value over the long term. Those who need more weather, fire, or wind resistance can find those features in performance shingles, without incurring too much extra cost.

In the long run, metal roofing, slate roofing, shake roofing and other roofing options just don’t offer the same value for the cost of asphalt roofing.

5. Energy-Efficiency

You may not have guessed that energy efficiency would be a benefit of asphalt roofing, but it is. When you purchase an asphalt roof, your roofer installs a whole system, including underlayment, that can make your home more energy efficient.

You can purchase specially designed asphalt shingles in light, medium and dark tones that reflect a higher amount of the sun’s infra-red radiation, thereby reducing the temperature of the roof surface. In large metropolitan areas, if the majority of roofs are shingled with these ‘cool’ shingles, the temperature in the city can run a degree or two lower on hot sunny days.  This in turn may allow residents to use less energy to cool their homes.

RoofGard-Cool Grey is an example of a synthetic underlayment that is a lighter colored relative to traditional black asphalt saturated felts, and as such offers roofing contractors a cooler surface upon which to work when installing the shingles.

6. Impact-Rated ULC Logo FM-logo

Depending on where you live, your home may have to endure severe weather and hailstorms. Specially modified asphalt shingles are available to resist the impact of these storms on your roof. Look for impact rated shingles.

IKO Nordic™ shingles make and take an impact with their excellent offering of high-definition colors plus they feature a Class 4 impact resistance rating. While this rating isn’t a guarantee of impact resistance it may enable you to obtain a reduction in your insurance premium, if available in your area.

7. Withstand High Winds

High winds can be a problem almost everywhere in North America. You want your roof to stay put. If the wind lifts them up, water can sneak in underneath potentially causing a leaky roof. Innovations in asphalt shingle manufacturing mean it’s a better product today than it was years ago.

IKO has engineered all their shingles to meet the most stringent wind resistance tests in the industry. All meet the requirements for ASTM D7158 Class H and ASTM D3161 Class F wind ratings. That’s a lot of numbers to say they can withstand 110-130 mph winds when installed according to the manufacturer’s application guidelines.

Some manufacturers offer high-wind limited warranties on even higher winds speeds. Have your roofer check the manufacturer’s application guidelines and warranties if high winds are a concern where you live.

8. Class A Fire Rating

Class A roofing system fire rating

Some asphalt shingles feature the highest fire rating, Class A. When installed as part of a complete roof system, they offer superior protection against penetration and spread of fire in the case of external fire hazards.

9. Sound Protection

One underestimated advantage of a shingle roof is its ability to insulate sound. The composition of asphalt roofing shingles in a complete roofing system offers sound protection from external noise. Asphalt shingles can be significantly quieter than metal roofs, depending on the design, and much quieter with large downpours and hail.

10. Algae-Resistance

Algae is a growing problem in the roofing industry. Many roofs, especially those based in wood, allow algae growth, which looks like a black stain across some, or all of your roof. If this is a concern, look for shingles that have built-in  algae-resistance. These shingles inhibit blue-green algae growth, protecting the color and appearance of your roof.

11. Ease of Installation

Asphalt shingles are simple to install, which helps keep their installed cost low. Of course, some roofing professionals may do a better installation job than others. That being said, it will typically be easier to find a roofer who can install your asphalt shingles than one who can deal with tile roofing or slate roofing.

gloves and roofing hatchet on asphalt shingles

In fact, your roofer may prefer to install IKO’s Cambridge™ shingles. They come in “Advantage” size, which means it takes fewer shingles to cover the same roof. As a result your roofer can work faster and pass the savings onto you.

12. The Right Weight

Shingles are not so heavy that you have to worry about whether or not your roof can hold them. Other types of roofing materials, such as metal, may require making structural changes to your home in order to support its weight.

13. Ease of Repair

Just as every roofer can install roofing shingles, every roofer can repair roofing shingles. Often when you choose a unique material, from metal roofing to tile, you’ll struggle to find a roofing professional who can do the repairs. You may even need to work with the same company that installed your roof to get repairs for a proprietary metal roof. The benefit of asphalt roofs is that you can choose a new roofer for repairs anytime.

14. Integration with Other Roof Features

home with black roof shingles and chimney

Are you thinking of installing a traditional chimney in your estate? Or maybe a skylight in your modern, minimalist home? Asphalt shingles are flexible. It’s easy to add new features to one part of a shingle roof without disturbing the rest. The same may not be said of other roof types.

15. Recyclable

Though in the past shingles went straight to the landfill, shingle waste can now be recycled. After your roofer removes your old shingles, they can send the debris to be re-purposed into other products, including into a recycled asphalt used to make and repair roads. According to the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturer’s Association, recycled roofing shingles may actually improve the quality of a road. Old shingles may also be used to generate power.

16. Reputation for Quality

Asphalt shingles are the time-tested choice homeowners in North American have been relying on for a long time. That comes with a lot of advantages. Your local building code already addresses shingle roofs. Home buyers know what to expect from a shingle roof. Plus, shingle manufacturers have had a lot of time to refine their products to offer the features that homeowners find valuable.

Ready to Choose Your Shingles?

The advantages of a shingle roof are clear. Still, you want to choose the best asphalt shingles for your roof from your many options. To help you sift through different shingles, contact a roofing professional through IKO’s Contractor Locator. They will help you choose the right shingle for your budget, home color and weather conditions.

You may also be interested in reading our facts about roof shingles article.