Angie's List: Roof shingles

The wide selection of roofing shingles available today could make choosing which materials to go with difficult.

Lon and Janet Vonkonhn were in the market for a new roof after they noticed their shingles had come loose and were scattered throughout the yard. Before making a choice, they consulted with a roofing contractor who discussed the pros and cons of materials available.

“Before we choose the roof, [the contractor] brought samples and he suggested types of roof and he also suggested color and we did that and we've been very happy,” said Janet Vonkonhn.

Tom Scribbins, a roofing contractor, recommends three popular shingle styles on the market.

“There's a 20-year three tab, which is probably the shingle that was put on the house when it was built. There's a 25-year three tab, and there's an architectural, which is the laminated, people will say the fancy shingle, people will say 'how come that roof looks so good?' Chances are that's a 30-year or lifetime laminated shingle,” said Scribbins.

Asphalt is the most common type of shingle used today and is relatively inexpensive, but other materials can also be used like wood, slate or tile.

“When determining what kind of product you want to use for your roof, first you want to think about what is their now? What kind of roofing material is being used on your house?” said Angie Hicks, founder of Angie’s List. “What about your neighbor's houses? What's used in the neighborhood? What is going to fit best with the style? Also consider the color you choose. The great thing now is there are many choices, especially with asphalt shingles. A lot of roofing manufacturers also have a computer program that can show you exactly what it's going to look like when it's on your house. The last thing you want to do is pick a roof that doesn't compliment your home or the neighborhood because you don't want to be an eyesore."

If the shingle is installed incorrectly, it will fail—that's why it's important to hire a reputable roofing contractor who has experience with the type of product you want.

“Reroofing your house is one of the biggest projects you'll do as a homeowner,” said Hicks. “Your roof typically last 20 to 30 years, so you want to find a reputable contractor who is licensed, has insurance because you are going to have people on your roof, so you want to make sure they have worker's comp insurance—and that they have a good reputation and good warranty for standing behind their work."

While most people known to get a lien lease for labor, Tom Scribbins says people often forget to get a lien lease for material.

“That means you want proof that this guy has paid for the stuff at the supply house,” said Scribbins. “Otherwise, you paid him and then a year later here comes the supply house wanting you to pay for those shingles again. Doesn't seem fair and you would think that you can get out of it, you can't, they are going to put a lien on your house."


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