Asphalt shingles are the most common shingles for pitched roofs nationwide (although tile roofs nudge out asphalt in Arizona). There are two kinds of shingles: fiberglass and organic-mat shingles. Both are made from asphalt. Fiberglass shingles incorporate a fiberglass mat, and organic-mat shingles have a fiber mat made from wood products. Most Arizonans choose fiberglass shingles because they’re thinner and lighter-weight than organic-mat shingles, so they’re easier to carry and have a better fire rating. Roofers say organic shingles perform better in cold weather, which isn’t an issue here.
Lots of variety. These durable shingles range in style and price from affordable three-ply shingles to high-end architectural shingles. Most
Arizonans who choose shingles opt for architectural shingles because they come in all sizes, colors and shapes, including styles that look like wood shakes but don’t create the same fire hazard in our dry, hot climate.
Affordable. You’ll pay about $300 a square (one square covers a 10-foot by 10-foot area) for good-quality, architectural shingles. A pitched roof on a 2,400-square-foot house is about 35 squares. Add $100 – $150 a square if the roofer has to tear off your old roof before installing the shingles.
Long warranties. Most good-quality architectural shingles come with a warranty for 30 years or more. Some warranties cover only product defects, however, and most do not guarantee that the roof will last for 30 years.
Easy to install. Rosie doesn’t recommend that do-it-yourselfers install their own roofs, but if you’re handy, you could apply shingles yourself. The old three-ply shingles required the installer to carefully line up the tabs. Architectural shingles feature random-patterned surfaces that hide the actual shape of the shingle, so they don’t have to align perfectly. This saves on installation time, which can cut labor costs.
Weather-sensitive. Shingles can blow off during an extra-windy monsoon storm, tend to absorb heat and can discolor under the hot Arizona sun. Plus, although you’ll hear people refer to “30-year shingles,” most asphalt shingle warranties are only around 10 years.
Rosie’s Tip: Have light-colored shingles installed. Light colors reflect heat, while dark colors absorb it. In a super-hot climate like ours, the lighter the color, the easier your roof will be on your air conditioning bill.
Because dark-colored shingles absorb heat, they transfer it to your attic. Some roofers say that dark shingles will wear out faster than lighter ones because they absorb so much heat.
If you love dark rooftops and decide to go with a deep-hued shingle, choose a high-quality product, and make sure your attic is well-insulated and properly ventilated in a way that will counteract the extra heat gain. Your goal is to keep the attic air temperature about the same as the outside air temperature.