Here you can see popular questions that homeowners have asked about their roofs over the years. Chances are good you’ll find an answer to your question in this helpful roofing shingles guide and FAQ page. If you can’t find what you need, help is just an email or a phone call away!
The following links, when selected, will provide information to frequently asked questions.
NOTE: Some of the information in this section is based on the technical bulletins published by the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association (ARMA) and the “Canadian Asphalt Shingle Manufacturers” Association (CASMA).
Q: What are the most common asphalt shingle product and test standards?
A: The most commonly found product and test standards are:
Note: Make sure that shingles purchased or used meet the required standard.
See CASMA Technical Bulletin No. 5 for more information.
Q: Do IKO shingles meet the Canadian building code?
A: All IKO roofing shingles sold in Canada meet the Canadian building code.
Q: Why/when should I use an asphalt shingle underlayment?
A: An asphalt shingle underlayment is typically dry felt that may be impregnated or coated with an asphalt saturant, or a synthetic sheet. The use of an underlayment is recommended for the following reasons:
Q: Can I apply new shingles over existing shingles?
A: Yes. You can apply new shingles over existing shingles, depending on the condition of the roof. If the roof has one layer of shingles that are lying flat and the deck is in good condition, the existing shingles typically do not have to be removed. Check with local officials to make sure that building codes are being followed. During re-roofing is a good opportunity to examine roof ventilation to ensure vents are sufficient in number, positioned properly and are unobstructed.
Q: What offsets should be used for laminated shingles?
A: For laminated roofing shingles, IKO’s recommended offset is 10 inches. Regardless of the shingle type, it is always best to follow all application instructions printed on the shingle package. This will ensure proper roof performance and finished roof aesthetics. All roofing shingles must be applied with a minimum offset no less than 4 inches.
Q: How can I ensure proper performance from shingles in cold climates?
A: Proper performance from shingles installed and used in cold weather can be achieved by following the recommendations listed below:
See CASMA Technical Bulletin No. 8 for more information.
Q: Which type of fastener should be used to install asphalt shingles – nails or staples?
A: IKO agrees with and supports the ARMA position that nails are the preferred method of fastening asphalt roof shingles due to their superior holding strength. The following fastening tips apply to most IKO shingles; (check specific product application instructions for further information):
See article on fastener requirements or ARMA Nail Application of Asphalt Strip Shingles for New and Recover Roofing Form for more information.
Q: Do I need to peel the release tape off the shingles?
A: The plastic release film on the back of IKO roofing shingles does not need to be removed. The sole purpose of this tape is to prevent the shingles from sticking together in the package. Once the shingles have been removed from the package and are applied in the correct orientation on the roof, the release tape serves no purpose whatsoever. The shingle sealant, which bonds the shingles together, is located elsewhere on the shingle and will seal succeeding courses of the shingles together on the roof when warmed by the heat of the sun, soon after application.
Q: What is causing the algae growth on my shingles?
A: Algae growth exists as a brown to black discoloration of the shingle and is caused by a blue-green algae known as Gloeocapsa. Although algae may exist on a shingle, it does not affect the functional performance of the shingle. Essentially, this is an aesthetic problem. Most IKO roofing shingles are now algae resistant, and covered by a Limited Algae Resistance Warranty.
Q: How do I get rid of the algae growth on my shingles?
A: There are several ways to reduce the discoloration:
Q: Can bird excrement affect asphalt roofing products?
A: A build-up of bird excrement on asphalt roofing products can have negative effects, if it remains on the product for a considerable amount of time. In some instances, it can even shorten the life of the roofing product. A web search may reveal companies that offer products to mitigate bird roosting/nesting on your roof.
Q: Can hail affect asphalt roofing shingles?
A: Hail can affect asphalt roofing shingles. The damage caused by hail can be classified into two groups: aesthetic damage and functional damage. Aesthetic damage results in slight granule loss and the life of the shingle is usually not affected. Functional damage is characterized by substantial granule loss or cracking or penetration of the shingle. Functional damage may result in short term leaks or a reduction of the life expectancy of the shingle.
According to CASMA Technical Bulletin No. 14, there are several factors that impact how roofing shingles perform in hail:
See CASMA Technical Bulletin No. 14 for more information.
Q: Are there any asphalt shingles specifically designed for hail conditions?
A: Yes, IKO’s Cambridge IR shingles have been independently tested to the highest impact resistance, and passed the Class 4 requirements. This impact resistance rating may enable homeowners in certain regions to obtain a discount on their homeowner’s insurance. Consult your insurance representative for details.
Q: What is buckling?
A: Buckling is defined as ridges that form along the length of the shingle, with the ridge spacing usually coincidental with deck board joints. These ridges are caused by the shingle being distorted from the movement of the deck. Buckling can occur with any deck type, but is more common with board decks, and less common on plywood/OSB decks. Buckling can occur when a new roof is installed, even if the old roof did not show any buckles; when the roof is stripped, the deck may be exposed to moisture, causing dimensional changes in the supporting lumber.
Q: How can I reduce the chance of having buckled shingles?
A: The following will help to prevent buckling:
Q: My shingles are buckling. What should I do?
A: There are a couple of things that you can do to correct this problem:
Q: Should I be concerned about small bubbles / blisters on my shingles?
A: No. Practically all asphalt roof shingles have, by the nature of their manufacture, a greater or lesser degree of blistering potential under certain conditions or combinations of conditions. Generally, blistering is difficult to see from ground level and does not necessarily shorten the life of the shingle.
See CASMA Technical Bulletin No. 21 for more information.
Q: What is color shading?
A: A roof observed from different lighting conditions or angles may have darker or lighter spots in certain areas. This apparent difference in color is referred to as “shading.” Shading is usually caused by unavoidable slight variations in texture which occur during the shingle manufacturing process.
Black or dark colored shingles are more prone to shading problems. A small amount of light is reflected from dark surfaces. Therefore, even slight textural differences may cause shading. Light colored shingles reflect greater amounts of light than darker shingles and as a result it is harder to notice shading problems. Since blends are made from a number of colors, shading differences are masked and are even less noticeable.
The material on the back of a shingle is sometimes transferred to other shingles that are next to it. Also, when shingles are stacked too high or stored for long periods of time, stains can develop. Both conditions can create the appearance of shading. These are only temporary aesthetic issues and will naturally weather off. Note: Shading does not affect the watershedding performance or life expectancy of a shingle.
Q: What can I do to reduce the potential for shading?
A: To reduce the potential for shading:
Q: My gutter is filled with granules. Is there a problem with my shingles?
A: Not necessarily. An excessive amount of granules are applied during the shingle manufacturing process to make sure that the asphalt on the roofing sheet is completely covered. It is important to completely cover the sheet with granules so that the asphalt is not exposed to ultraviolet light.
The granules are then pressed in. Due to the excessive amount of granules applied, some of the granules are only held loosely in place. Most of the excess granules are removed by the shingle manufacturing process, but some of these granules do get packaged with the shingles. These excess granules are known as “hitchhiker” granules.
“Hitchhiker” granules will typically come off during the first few years of shingle exposure on the roof. They usually will be found in gutters or at the bottom of downspouts. The loss of these granules is normal and does not affect the performance of the shingle. Granule loss only becomes a problem when much of the asphalt becomes exposed on the surface of the shingle.
See CASMA Technical Bulletin No. 18 for more information.
Q: What is fishmouthing?
A: Fishmouthing is the raising of a portion of the front edge of a shingle to create an “eyebrow” appearance. This may occur at the lower tab edge or along the cutout edge. These distortions may be more noticeable on certain roofs because of the slope, sunlight and shingle color. These “fishmouths” do not affect the life expectancy of the shingle, and they do not result in leakage, blow-off or other shingle problems.
See CASMA Technical Bulletin No. 4 for more information.
Q: What causes fishmouthing and how can it be corrected?
A: Fishmouthing can be caused by:
See CASMA Technical Bulletin No. 4 for more information.
Q: What is a splice?
A: Large rolls of glass mat are used in the shingle manufacturing process, and a splice is a glued or taped lap of the end of one roll to the beginning of the succeeding roll. Rolls of glass mat must be spliced together to maintain continuous shingle production. Each splice is marked for rejection before the shingles are packaged. Occasionally, an error or oversight occurs where that splice gets packaged along with the shingles. Shingles containing a splice may delaminate on the roof, and should be replaced.
Q: What is winter curling?
A: When the front edge of a shingle tab lifts to form a shallow “U” saucer shape in cold weather and flattens when the weather is warmer, this phenomenon is known as winter curling. Sometimes, the entire front edge of a shingle may lift uniformly.
When the top surface of the shingle is cooled, this part of the shingle contracts. At the same time, the bottom of the shingle receives a certain amount of heat from the attic, especially if the attic ventilation is insufficient. As a result, the shingle curls slightly.
The appearance of winter curling depend on: the age of the shingle, whether the attic is sufficiently ventilated, the type of shingle, roof pitch, humidity and climate. Complete elimination of winter curling is rare, although the durability and watershedding properties are not affected.
See CASMA Technical Bulletin No. 7 for more information.
Q: Are asphalt shingles good for the environment?
A: Asphalt shingles are relatively good for the environment because they protect your home/building from damage from the elements. They are durable, lightweight, and are easily maintained. See the attached industry bulletin from the Canadian Asphalt Shingle Manufacturers Association which outlines other environmental benefits. See CASMA Technical Bulletin No. 27.
Q: What is meant by “sustainable development”?
A: A sustainable development is generally defined as a development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
Q: How can I compare different shingle brands to see how green they are?
A: There are a number of environmental programs which give standards and limits for various aspects of roof shingles (i.e. recycled content, longevity, use of local raw materials, etc.).
Q: What are some programs that rate different aspects of sustainable building products/practices?
A: At this time some of the major ones are:
Q: Which environmental program should I use?
A: The choice is completely up to you. Look at each program and determine which one suits your needs.
Q: What is ENERGY STAR™?
A: ENERGY STAR™ is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy designed to encourage builders/homeowners to save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices.
Q: How does ENERGY STAR™ work for shingles?
A: The shingles must have a minimum solar reflectance (tested right out of the package and again after three years on the roof) and a comparable (with non-approved shingles) limited warranty program. It is assumed that better shingle solar reflectance, if used on every roof within an urban area, may reduce the overall temperature in cities (heat island effect), which in turn would lower the energy load needed for air conditioning. In terms of the practical benefit to the individual home directly, shingle color is irrelevant to home heating and cooling costs since the attic floor is typically well-insulated and the attic is also ventilated. Note that in Canada, Energy Star ratings do not apply, as per Natural Resources Canada.
Q: Are there any financial advantages for using ENERGY STAR™ approved shingles?
A: There may be some tax advantages with using ENERGY STAR™ approved roofing shingles in some areas; check with your local government.
Q: What is Built Green™?
A: Built Green™ is an environmental building program, developed in partnership with various government agencies. Built Green is designed to help home-buyers find quality, affordable homes that offer opportunities to protect the health of their families and the environment. Currently Built Green™ is more popular in the west, but it is expanding across the country.
Q: How does Built Green™ work for shingles?
A: Built Green™ has a checklist of “Built Green™ approved” brands. Their criteria is based on limited warranty period (the longer a product’s limited warranty period, the more points you get; 2 points for 25-year products, and 1 point for each additional 5 years up to a maximum of 4 points). IKO has a number of products on the “approved” list. There is an additional requirement for recycled content (minimum 25% recycled content equals 3 points (the most a product can get), etc. IKO roofing shingles do not meet this requirement.
Q: What is LEED™?
A: LEED™ is an acronym for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. It is a program sponsored and administered by the U.S. Green Building Council (and by Canadian Green Building Council in Canada). LEED™’s purpose is to provide a rating system that encourages designers and builders to choose “green” building products for the construction and operation of buildings. While there are currently dozens of other environmental programs (such as Built Green, and Green Globes), LEED™ seems to be the major one at this time.
Q: How does LEED™ work?
A: When you have a LEED™ project, the design, location, materials, and how the project affects the surrounding area can earn you credits. If you attain a certain number of credits your project will be awarded a Platinum, Gold, or Silver, certification. It should be noted that neither manufacturers nor products can be “LEED™ certified”.
Q: How can IKO products help the designer earn LEED™ credits?
A: Our building product can help earn credits in the areas of insulation, reflective coatings, recycled material, and regional material.
Q: Which IKO products can earn LEED™ credits?
A: All shingles have a certain recycled content, but the amount may not be high enough to obtain LEED™ points. Our ArmourCoat roof coating would qualify as a reflective product. (it is also ENERGY STAR™ approved). EnerFoil can help with energy efficient design credits. Depending on the project location, our products could qualify for regional material credits.
Q: What Is NAHB?
A: NAHB is the National Association of Home Builders and they are a Washington, D.C.-based trade association whose mission is to enhance the climate for housing and the building industry. Chief among NAHB’s goals is providing and expanding opportunities for all consumers to have safe, decent and affordable housing. As “the voice of America’s housing industry,” NAHB helps promote policies that will keep housing a national priority.
Q: Does NAHB have a “green “program?
A: Yes. Their program is called “NAHB National Green Building Program”. Points are primarily awarded based on a building material’s recycled content (no minimum level is given). In the roofing section specifically, one can earn a point simply by using an ice and water protector.
Q: How do I know an IKO product qualifies for an environmental program?
A: Ask the building designer what the requirements are, i.e. what environmental program they’re using, or what product characteristics they need to have. We have a number of commercial roofing and residential roofing products which will meet the requirements for recycled material, reflectivity, regionally produced material, etc.
Q: Can you give us a list of the number of credits for each IKO product?
A: No. The requirements for each program keep changing, so it is best to contact IKO Technical Support for the latest requirements and compliances. LEED™, for example, is broken down into 9 Standards (e.g. New Construction, Homes, etc.) and each one has different requirements (see table below). So you must first determine what the criteria are and then contact IKO Technical Support 800-268-0878 ext. 3403. They will provide you with the latest data.
Q: How can I provide documentation to show the data for the different IKO products?
A: Typically the building designer will have a form that needs to be completed. Send the form to IKO Technical Support and they will complete the form and return it to the designer.
Q: Are my old shingles recyclable?
A: Many local government agencies and private companies have started recycle programs for used shingles. The shingles can be recycled into road paving material and other materials. Check with your local government. It is important to note that the old shingles may need to be “clean”; i.e. free of any nails, wood or other foreign material which can often end up as included in roof tear-off material. IKO recycles almost all of its manufacturing waste into other uses, such as road paving materials.
Q: What is a drip edge and how is it applied?
A: Drip edges are used for watershedding at the eaves and rakes and for preventing wood materials from rotting. It is important that the drip edge is “made of a corrosive-resistant material that extends approximately three inches back from the roof edges and bends downward over them.” (ARMA Residential Asphalt Roofing Manual)
The drip edge should be applied beneath the underlayment or eave protection along the eaves and over the underlayment on the rakes.
Q: What are low slope roofs?
A: Roofs that have slopes of 4:12 or less are considered to be low slope roofs. (4:12 means a vertical rise of 4 inches for every 12 inch horizontal run, or 18.4°). Never apply asphalt shingles to slopes that are below 2:12(9.5°). Shingles applied on low slope slopes do not last as long as shingles on steeper roof pitches, due to the increased exposure to sunlight and other weather conditions. Generally, laminated/architectural shingles are better suited to steep roofs, where their enhanced aesthetics are more readily visible.
Q: How can I reduce some of the problems associated with low slope roofs?
A: Low slope roofs are more susceptible to water entry due to ice dams and wind-driven rain. Therefore, the key to a successful low slope roof is to increase the watershedding properties of the roof system.
Rain and melting snow do not run off quickly on low slope roofs. As a result, the potential for ice dams is increased. By providing adequate ventilation the formation of ice dams can be decreased. Note: “The National Building Code of Canada allows various types of ice dam membranes to be used, but CASMA recommends that self-adhering modified asphalt membranes be used.” (CASMA Technical Bulletin No. 16)
Wind-driven rain is another concern associated with low slope roofs. By improving the underlayment or by using a special shingle application method, the damaged caused by wind-driven rain can be reduced.
Q: I want to shingle my roof. How many shingles will I need?
A: By using simple calculations you can estimate the number of roof shingles that will be needed to complete the job. Roofs come in many shapes and sizes and can be classified into simple geometric shapes such as squares, rectangles, trapezoids and triangles. To determine how many shingles will be needed you must calculate the area of the roof. This is done by figuring out what geometric shapes make up your roof, calculating the area of the individual shapes and summing the areas to give you the total area of the roof. The area required is then divided by the area each bundle covers. Don’t forget to add allowances for ridges, starter strips, etc.
See article on Estimating How Much Roofing Is Required for more information.
Q: What will happen if my roof is not properly ventilated?
A: Insufficient ventilation can lead to:
Proper ventilation is essential so that air movement is not restricted beneath the roof surface.
See CASMA Technical Bulletin No. 1 or ARMA Ventilation and Moisture Control for Residential Roofing Form for more information.
Q: How much ventilation do I need on my roof?
A: The amount of ventilation needed is determined by the size and design of the roof. For roof and attic spaces above an insulated ceiling, the vent ratio is one square foot of net free ventilating area/300 square feet. For low slope roofs or roofs with cathedral ceilings the vent ratio is one square foot/150 square feet.
See CASMA Technical Bulletin No. 1 or ARMA Ventilation and Moisture Control for Residential Roofing Form for more information.
Q: Are IKO roofing products required to have Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS)?
A: The following roofing products do not require MSDS’s, as they are either considered manufactured articles:
IKO does offer Material Information Sheets for these product families (downloadable from this web site), which offer similar information as one might find on an MSDS.
Q: If I have a shingle concern, what should I do?
A: If you have a shingle concern (e.g. splice, severe granule loss, etc.), please contact the IKO Customer Service Department in your area (U.S. 1-800-433-2811; Canada 1-800-361-5836). You will be required to submit a copy of the proof of purchase. After verifying that the shingles purchased were manufactured by IKO, a package will be sent to you, requesting more information photos, and samples.
Q: Can I paint my roof?
A: Yes. The affect of paint on shingles is very negligible. Technically, it could be argued that the paint will help the shingles weather longer. Some roof coatings that are advertised to extend product life are simply premium quality latex paints.
Q: Do I have to use a certain type of paint on my roof?
A: Yes. Latex paints must be used. Latex paints will do nothing more than color the shingles. On the other hand, oil-based paints may soften the shingles slightly due to the solvents that they contain. These solvents will evaporate quickly so if used carefully, there should not be any lasting effects. Generally regardless of paint used, paint weathers off of the shingles within five years. How long the paint lasts depends on the quality of the paint, the pitch of the roof, climate, etc…
Q: How are roofing shingles made?
A: Roofing shingles are made in a continuous web process. Large rolls of glass mat are unwound and fed into the coater. At the coater, coating (asphalt with air blown through it) is applied to the top and bottom surfaces of the sheet. Mineral stabilizers are added to the coating which improve the shingle’s fire resistance and weatherability. Next, granules are applied to the top surface of coating. Granules are ceramically colored crushed rock; the granules give the shingle its color, but more importantly protect the coating from ultraviolet light. Backsurfacing is then applied to the sheet to prevent it from sticking to the machine and to other shingles when packaged. The release tape is also applied to the back of the sheet to prevent the sealant buttons from sticking to the next shingle in the package. The granules are then pressed into the topcoating. Once the sheet is cooled, sealant buttons are applied. The sealant buttons allow one shingle to bond to the overlying shingle on a roof, to prevent wind uplift. The roofing sheet is then measured and cut into shingles. At this stage, the two pieces of laminated shingles are adhered together. The shingles are wrapped into bundles and stored in the warehouse until they are ready to be shipped to the appropriate location.
Q: What are ice dams?
A: Ice dam formation is the result of continuous freezing and thawing of snow due to escaping heat from the house or from gutters being backed up with frozen slush. When this occurs, water may be driven under the roof which may cause ceiling, wall, insulation and gutter damage.
Q: What can I do about ice dams?
A: Ice dams can be prevented from forming by:
Q: Can I use salt to remove the ice on my shingles?
A: Yes, but there are some drawbacks to doing this, such as possible downslope corrosion of metal gutters and roof equipment, and the salt may leave a temporary whitish residue on the shingles once the melted ice has evaporated.
See CASMA Technical Bulletin No. 15 for more information.
Q: Can I use a shovel to remove snow and ice from my shingles?
A: This activity is not recommended.
See CASMA Technical Bulletin No. 15 for more information.
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The information on this website is subject to change without notice. IKO assumes no responsibility for errors that may appear on this website.
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