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What Are Synthetic Shingles ?

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What do shingles look like?

There was a time when a roofing shingle was a roofing shingle, they were all alike. Then, as time marched on, manufacturers found ways to make better shingles, aka, thicker and more durable, fire-resistant. Today, they make asphalt, metal, slate, tile, and wood shingles. Because of environmental concerns with recycling and more, today, we have synthetic roof shingles.

What is the definition of synthetic? According to the Oxford Dictionary, the definition reads, “a synthetic material or chemical, especially a textile fiber, made by chemical synthesis, especially to imitate a natural product.” With that, we now have synthetic roof shingles that look like they are one of these many different materials. 

It is no secret that the roof on your home is there for protecting your home from the elements, but synthetic roof shingles also add curb appeal to your home. Because roofing is an expensive component to your home, you want a roofing material that will last. It must be durable and resistant against the weather, whether they are synthetic roof shingles or otherwise. 

There are several types of shingles available today, and we’ll give a quick description of several, starting with asphalt shingles, which are found on approximately 70% of all homes in America. Of the many varieties on the market, there are some that are specifically designed for different types of weather. Read on for information on the different type of roofing shingles:

  • 3-Tab Roofing Shingles: Features three distinct but equal size tabs to give a symmetrical appearance along the roof. Repeating rectangular shape that is separated by slots, these are the less expensive option in asphalt roofing shingles. 
  • Architectural Roofing Shingles: The premium level of asphalt shingle, often referred to as dimensional or laminated shingles because of the 2 layers laminated together. A thicker style of asphalt shingles that has a higher wind resistance. 
  • Impact-Resistant Roofing Shingles: These shingles are enhanced and modified to withstand hailstone and other debris impacts by being reinforced on the backside or manufactured with a mixture of polymers for a rubber-like effect. 

Other types of roofing shingles are COOL roofing shingles that have solar-reflecting granules for energy efficiency. Specialty Asphalt Roofing Shingles that are available in bold colors and styles, mimicking roofing materials like tile or wood shake. 

We can’t leave out tile roofing, a concrete material typically used on historic homes in the Southwest, or slate tile shingles made from natural stone. These are manufactured into thin pieces but becomes heavier as installed on a roof, requiring a structure to have an engineering report for integrity purpose. Then there are wood shingles and wood shake shingles, and metal roofing, which can be made to look like average asphalt shingles, all made from synthetic roof shingles.

Are thicker shingles better?

At one time, yes, thicker roofing shingles were thought to be the better shingles, but not today. Ninety-five percent of roofing shingles today have a fiberglass matt which is stronger against the elements while remaining light-weight and thinner. The tough fibers that these newer fiberglass synthetic roof shingles are made from are fire resistant and do not absorb water. 

What color shingles are most energy efficient?

It has been assumed over the years that only white color roofing was the best for energy efficiency. Today though, because of the advancements in technology and the creation of synthetic roof shingles, and while white does reflect the sun’s UV rays and heat better than black, there are other colors available that are energy efficient.  

The materials used to make synthetic roof shingles is where the UV resistance is found, not necessarily in the color.  A light-colored roofing shingle still absorbs less heat in the summertime, but you can go with light beige, blue, gray, or green, even a pale pink will be UV resistant. 

Which brand of shingles is best?

With all the different brands and types of roofing materials on the market today, it can overwhelm a homeowner to navigate and make the best choice. Consumers Reports released a list of the best overall, including the  best synthetic roof shingles on the market today: 

  • Atlas – The Pinnacle Pristine
  • GAF-Elk – The Royal Sovereign
  • CertainTeed –The  XT 25
  • Atlas – The StormMaster Slate
  • Tamko – The Heritage
  • Owens Corning – The Oakridge
  • Owens Corning – The Duration
  • Owens Corning – The Berkshire Collection
  • IKO – The Crowne Slate
  • IKO – The Cambridge

What are synthetic shingles pros cons? 

When it comes to synthetic roof shingles, slate has become the most popular for many homeowners around the country. Why? Slate synthetic roof shingles includes features that are desired in a roofing material and has lost some of the drawbacks that kept homeowner from going that route. The pros and cons of slate synthetic roof materials are: 

  • Pro – Cost

Today, the cost of synthetic roof shingles in slate are not as expensive as actual slate, making it less expensive to have that elegant curb appeal that slate offers a home. 

  • Con –Longevity

Slat synthetic roofing shingles are durable and have a long lifespan, but because it hasn’t been on the market that long, it can’t be stated it is longer lasting than other synthetic roof shingles. 

  • Pro – Environmentally Friendly

When real slate is excavated, there is no replacing it. With slate synthetic roof shingles, being made from other recycled materials though, you get the look you want without impacting the environment.

  • Con – Fire Rating

Class A fire rating is the best you can have in roofing materials, but not all synthetic roof shingles offer this high level. 

  • Pro – Installation

The are few roofing companies that are able to install slate roofing, however, slate synthetic roof shingles is different with plenty of contractors able and willing to install this material. 

  • Con – Appearance

This is a con and a pro because slate synthetic roof shingles appearance are all in the eye of the homeowner. Some composite synthetic shingle roofing looks great  when installed by an experienced roofing contractor. Or it can look cheap and fake. Choose the best contractor and you’ll have a great looking roof!

Which is better: asphalt shingles vs. synthetic slate? 

At the end of the day when you’re down to making that final decision, which is the better choice? The traditional asphalt shingles or synthetic slate roof shingle products? Asking roofing contractors and experts, they’ll choose synthetic roof shingles every time. Why? 

Slate synthetic roof shingles are installed with regular nails and there isn’t any need for precision cutting tools like natural slate. When it comes to the ease of installation, slate synthetic roof shingles are lighter and easier to handle than traditional asphalt shingles. Call (610) 689-3737 today for your roofing installation in Oley, PA.


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