Roofing 103: Asphalt Shingle Coatings

The roof is the one of the most noticeable and valuable assets on any building. Great care and effort have been taken to improve the life and quality of roofs at minimal costs. There are a number of coating and sealants which can be used on top of shingles today, each with different purposes and benefits. The idea behind most of them is a lower cost solution to serve a specific purpose and to extend the life of the roof. The trend is growing because it is affordable and, in most cases, easy to apply.


One of the common and best-known purposes of the roof coatings it to help the building stay cooler in the summer months. The sun is beating down on a roof most hours in the day, the roofs absorb much of this heat. As energy cost rise and people are more ecologically aware, many are choosing to help reduce their summer cooler costs by applying a white coat to their rooftop. The idea is that it reflects much of the sun’s heat when compared to the darker colors which roofs are usually composed of. This coating can be applied usually with a brush or roller as most paints can, or alternatively as a spray on method. Some brands claim that is can reduce electrical usage up to 10%, eventually paying for its upfront cost.

Other coatings can help protect shingles and rooftops from harsh elements. Sealant and coating can protect tiny cracks, joints and corners that tend to be more sensitive to moisture and wind damage. This coating is applied in a similar manner but is often transparent.


The coating, when applied to a roof is not a fix all for all roof problems and it is not a substitute to a new roof or even repairs. Repairs must be made in in advanced and any sections that need replacements need to be replaced.  When the roof if is good condition, with its shingles intact, then the coating can be applied by a roofing contractor.

Problems with coatings

Some common problems that can arise from coating revolve around cleaning and maintenance. Although pressure washing a roof can be useful in some cases, it is generally advised against when applying the sealant. Pressure washings can displace shingles preventing the sealant from properly binding with the rooftop. Some chemicals used for roof cleaning should be avoided and the sealant itself has been known to affect the permeability of the roof and shingle material.

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A proper, preferably a GAF Master Elite roofing professional with experience in applying coatings should be consulted before any action is taken. After a proper inspection to determine if the condition of the roof is ok, a professional can determine which compound is appropriate for your roof material and slope. The application itself does not usually take long depending on the side of the roof, shape and whether it is commercial or residential.

How to Spot Signs of a Problematic Orange County Roofing

orange county roofing problem

The roof is an integral part of your house. It performs a vital function by keeping the elements out of the home’s interior and protecting everything inside. Being constantly exposed to harsh weather, your Orange County roofing will deteriorate in time and need repairs or replacement. Detecting early signs of roof going bad will enable you to fix it, prevent further damage and spending more money.

Here are the most common signs of a problematic Orange County roofing:

1. Uneven or Damaged Shingles

Conduct a visual inspection and look at the shingles on your roof. Do they look flat or uneven? If they look like the latter, it may indicate damaged shingles that need to be replaced. Inspecting your roof after a storm or severe weather condition is advisable. Shingles may be damaged from strong winds, snow or hail. Delaying the repair of your roof could lead to serious damage later and cost you more.

2. Higher Electric Bills

We use power to cool our homes during the hot summer months and to heat them during the cold winter months. A good roofing system helps insulate your home against drastic temperature fluctuations by maintaining relatively uniform temperatures inside. If you suddenly find your monthly electric bills going up without your having bought or use new appliances or equipment that could explain the increase in power consumption, you might be losing cold or heat through your roof.

3. Spots on Ceilings and Walls

Water leak on the roof is the usual culprit when you see spots on these areas. Molds grow on damp places and indicate the something is wrong with your roof. Mold may also be caused by poor ventilation or damaged shingles. A professional is the best person to determine the problem.

4. Cracked or Peeled Paint

Paint is a good indicator of the roof’s condition. A cracked or peeled paint on the exterior or underside may indicate rust or other issues with the roof. An inadequate or impaired attic ventilation is one of the common causes of peeling paint.

5. Old Roofs

Roofs are built to last for decades depending on the material type used for the roof. Metal roofs generally last longer but cost more. If your roof has been protecting your home for years and has reached its estimated service life, it may be time to consider making a replacement. A proactive approach to roof maintenance means checking your roof and replacing parts before a real problem arises. Proactive maintenance could save you money in the long run.

These early warning signs of a roof going bad should alert you to take remedial actions to prevent further roof deterioration.

Most Common Mistakes in Shingles Installation

shingles installation

Some people—particularly the do-it-yourself owners—prefer to do repair works on their roofs themselves instead of hiring licensed roofers. While this may save them money that would otherwise have been spent to pay for professional contractors, there is a risk they might commit mistakes.

Below are some of the most common mistakes in shingles installation that may be committed by inexperienced roofers plus their remedies and prevention based on United Home Experts:

1. No Starter Strip

Employ starter shingles starting at the rake and going into the eaves. The starter shingles are cut by around nine inches for new construction to fit the existing first course. For three-tab repair shingles, the measurement is five inches. The first shingles should be cut by six inches so that the shingles could stagger out of the first course.

2. Misaligned Shingles

This creates an unsightly look on the roof. Make sure the vertical and horizontal alignments are in place. Use a chalk line when installing new shingles. For repairs, simply align the new shingles to the existing shingles. Set horizontal chalk lines every 10 inches starting from the bottom. Vertical chalk lines are made every 36 inches starting from the ridge to the end of the shingles on the first course.

3. Shingles Not Properly Nailed

Always read the product specifications by the manufacturer on the number of shingles to be installed based on local wind zone. Three-tab shingles usually require at least four nails although the number of nails could go up to six in places where strong winds blow.

Aside from the number of nails required to properly fix the shingles to the roof, the location where the nails are driven is just as important. Again, look at the manufacturer’s instructions to know where the nails should be placed on the shingles. Know also the length of nails required for the right shingles. As a rule of thumb, nail penetration should be at least three-quarters of an inch.

4. Using the Wrong Cement

Improper use of incompatible cement and other adhesives could further damage the shingles. Asphalt cement should only be used on the underside of shingles.

5. Shingles Do Not Overhang the Eaves

Just make sure the shingles overhang at the eaves by not less than half an inch. Ensure that there is enough space between the shingles by about one-sixteenth of an inch. Affix three inches of shingles above the eaves, the number of nails depending on local and geographic conditions.

Types of Shingles and Shingle Costs

shingles costs

One of the most common types of roofing materials are shingles. While shingles are generally associated with asphalt shingles, they actually embrace a wider range of materials.

Shingles include almost every roof cover type that does not involve a single material capping the entire roof. Hence, shingles could be made from different materials such as the common asphalt, wood, clay, tile and even metal.

Each type of shingle has its corresponding costs in labor and materials. The costlier versions are the so-called impact-resistant shingles since they provide defense against leaks, create roof deck protection, improve the physical appeal of the house and enhance energy efficiency.

To help you prepare your budget before embarking on a roofing project, we provide an estimate of the costs involved in the installation of the different types of shingles:

Asphalt Shingles

The most common type of shingles used for roofing because they cost less than other materials and are relatively easier to install, which make them perfect for DIY practitioners. They are lighter than other shingle types, and therefore, more convenient to use.

The cost of DIY asphalt shingles on a normal ranch-style house would range from $680 to $3,700. The cost variation depends on the design, material quality and roof size. Hiring a professional costs from $1,700 to $8,400.


Metals provide the longest roof lifespan because they are durable and not affected by issues faced by other shingles. Its high cost but long life make metal suited for people intending to stay in their homes for a long time.

Metal roofs cost from $5,100 to $22,000. Aluminum has a higher price range—$11,900 to $24,200. The cost of copper roofs range from around $25,500 to $39,600.


Its natural look and durability make slate a favorite among homeowners. Indeed, larger houses usually have slate for their roofs.

Costs vary from $17,000 to $84,000 for a 2,000 square-foot home. A 3,000 square-foot home will cost from $27,000 to $120,000 depending on location and design.


People love tiles because they can be formed into different colors and shapes. They are also easy to replace if they are damaged.

The cost of concrete tiles runs from $7,650 to $21,000. Ceramic tiles will cost around $11,900. If you want to customize the tiles, you will shell out a higher amount from $17,000 to $60,000.

Wood Shake

Wood shakes have more aesthetic appeal but require more maintenance because they deteriorate faster than other materials and are fire-prone. Insects and molds are other issues affecting wood shake shingles.

The costs vary from $6,800 to $20,000. Synthetic or simulated wood shakes made from rubber or plastic, which provide better fire protection, cost around $12,600 to $18,900.

Roof Estimate for Shingles

shingles roof estimate

Roofs are expected to last a long time, for decades in fact. However, no roof is warranted to last forever. A time comes when you have to replace your roof with a new one. Roof installation does not come cheap. Homeowners are therefore advised to estimate the cost and prepare their budget before undertaking any project.

Expect every roof estimate to vary because material prices differ as well as labor costs. The location of your house and roof type also make a difference. A rough estimate of installing new shingles roof would vary from $2.75 to $7.50 per square foot. That would translate to about $275 for a basic bid to $750 for a high-end and full warranty work per square. A square equals 100 square feet.

Contractors could charge around $4 to $7 per square foot or $400 to $700 per square range for asphalt shingles replacement services. Locations, as we stated above, affect prices with cities in the North East being significantly higher than those in the Deep South.

A general rule in construction is assigning a 60% to 40% labor to material cost breakdown. This is not set in stone but a mere guideline in computing costs.

Asphalt Shingles

A basic 3-tab 25-year shingle costs from $150 to $200 per square, which includes the necessary materials. These may include underlayment, ice and water shield, nails and ridge-vent. The material cost may also include trash bags, plywood, planks and dumpster.

Installation estimates assume the house is single story with a roof surface of 15 to 20 meters and a hip and gable roof. Labor cost is around $400 to $500 per square with the total amounting to a range of $6,725 to $9,000 under a 5-year warranty on labor.

Architectural/Dimensional Shingles

Architectural shingles cost more to install than the basic 3-tab shingles. Expect to pay around $75 to $100 more per square. The added cost is justified by contractors as a premium on higher installation quality for the more durable and longer-lasting shingles.

For a single-story house with hip and gable combination roof, the cost could add up to $7,850 to $11,000. The amount varies depending on the contractor, quality of installation, size and complexity of the roof, location of the house and other factors.

Premium Shingles

Premium shingles such as the 50-year architectural shingles cost more than the other roof shingles. Installation cost will run somewhere around $600 to $700 per square or a total of $9,000 to $14,000 for the entire roof. As stated above, the cost will vary depending on the variables, including the company that you contracted with. A longer labor warranty is a component of the increased installation cost.

Why are T-Lock Shingles No Longer Used?


One type of roof design and material no longer found on houses these days are the T-lock shingles. It used to be prevalent among houses when it was in vogue. Nowadays, houses with this type of shingle are rare.

What are T-Lock Shingles?

T-lock shingles looked like the letter “T” and interlocked with one another on the roof. They were the best in the market when they first came out decades ago. It had the best roofing technology at that time with capacity to resist strong winds. It used to set the standard in roofing and was a popular roofing material from the 1930s to the 1980s.

Problems That Beset T-Lock Shingles

Unfortunately, T-lock shingle had its fair share of serious issues that ultimately led to its demise.

No Standard Sizes. First, there were no standard sizes for the shingle until around the 1980s. The lack of standards presented its own problems.

Poor Quality. The early T-lock shingles were heavier and sturdier because of their asphalt content. Later versions of the shingle were thinner, lighter, more brittle and less resistant to high winds. The deterioration in quality was principally due to soaring asphalt prices – manufacturers put more fillers and other materials and less asphalt.

New Technology. The arrival and popularity of Architectural shingles further reduced the number of T-lock shingles users to a point that manufacturers found it no longer economically viable to continue producing them. T-lock shingles were, in fact, discontinued by manufacturers based on several issues, including those associated with their weight, or lack of it. Production totally ceased sometime in 2004.

Costly Repair. Since replacement T-lock shingles are no longer made, homeowners are forced to spend significantly more money for roof replacement. Roofs that required only minimal patch (and minimal expense) had to be replaced in their entirety for lack of available T-lock shingles.

Insurance Problems. Insurance companies are reluctant to accept insurance coverage on houses with T-lock shingles because of their potential exposure to liability since the entire roof must be replaced even if only one T-lock shingle is damaged. Those that agree to cover the house demand, higher premiums and more deductibles. Some insurance underwriters consider houses with T-lock shingles as major insurance hazard.

Difficulty in Selling. Because of this insurance issue, sellers are forced to replace the entire roof before they can sell the house, although the T-lock shingles are still in good condition. This type of roof on a house adds complication to real estate transactions.

Flat Roofs vs Dimensional Shingles: Which One Should You Choose?

There are as many types of roof designs as there are materials used for roofing. Let us compare the best qualities of two of the most popular roof types—the flat roofs and dimensional shingles.

1. Dimensional Shingles


Dimensional shingles, also called laminated or architectural shingles, are simply two regular asphalt shingles bonded together to create a new type of roof shingle. Since there is now a top layer and an underlayer, the design gives the impression of a three-dimensional appearance.

They were created primarily for aesthetic appeal by combining two shingles together to form a new type of shingle. Designers went further by experimenting with different styles and themes to create what are called designer shingles, which range from the rugged to Victorian in concepts.

The combination of at least two layers of shingles results to stronger roofing material and affords better protection from harsh weather. The sturdiest model could withstand winds of up to 130 mph.

These are the desirable qualities of dimensional shingles:

  • Durable. Manufacturers give warranties lasting up to 40 to 50 years.
  • Appealing. It has multiple designs with different color combination.
  • Availability. It is widely available at your local supply stores.
  • Adaptability. It can be used on most pitched roofs.

2. Flat Roofs

flat roofing phoenix

Flat roofs are becoming more common these days because of improvements that minimize if not eliminate most objections against this type of roof. Ponding is a big reason why people stay away from flat roofs. When left unattended and allowed to deteriorate, the waterproofing materials on top make water seep into cracks that eventually find its way inside the building and ruin the materials within. The development of new materials and technology, however, improves the roof’s water resistance through better seals that provide more water protection than earlier methods.

To keep the roof in excellent condition, regular maintenance is a must including replacement or re-coating of the waterproofing materials used to keep water away. Neglect to perform this procedure drastically cuts down the lifespan of the coating and leads to expensive replacement.

These are the best traits of flat roofs:

  • Cost-effective. Flat roofs require fewer materials and labor, hence they are significantly cheaper.
  • Additional Space. The extra spaces at the top are often used as material storage or spare room.
  • Durable. Only strong and sturdy materials are used to withstand snow, ice and rain accumulation.
  • Weather Resistant. During severe storms where winds of more than 100 mph could be observed, flat roofs offer the best wind-resistant design compared to pitched or angled roofs.

Tips to Consider When Looking for Cheap Shingles


You can find cheap shingles that you can use as sturdy and reliable roofing materials for your house. Perseverance and a little effort are all it takes to trim your budget and minimize your roofing expenses. We compiled seven practical tips to help you find cheap shingles.

Shop Online

The proliferation of online stores makes it convenient for shoppers to look for and compare prices of the items they want to buy. Most brick and mortar hardware and construction supply stores have their own websites with a complete listing of their products and corresponding prices. You can find reasonably-priced shingles in the Internet with very minimal delivery charge.

Consider the Pros and Cons

Weigh the advantages and disadvantages of the different types of shingles. Each type has its pros and cons. Homeowners are advised to personally visit the hardware and examine the different types of shingles and their prices. Talk to the person in charge and ask about the details of each. Picture in your mind how your house would look like using the different types of shingles.

Purchase in Bulk

Plan your roofing project in advance. If possible, have all your roofing work done at the same time to give you the option to buy shingles in bulk. Similar to other commodities, shingles bought in bulk are cheaper than if they were bought in small quantity.

Look for Wholesalers

Some manufacturers sell their products themselves or actively help their distributors and retailers in marketing. You can buy directly from them at much lower prices since you will be cutting all the middlemen and going direct to the source.

Never Stray from your Budget

Prepare a budget before actually buying the shingles and stick to it. More often than not, owners overshoot their budget when they allow themselves to be swayed by pricier and elegant-looking shingles. You could end up buying just the shingles without any money left for installation.

Buy from Your Local Stores

Shingles are very common roofing materials. Almost 80% of houses in the US use asphalt shingle for their roofs. Your local hardware and roofing material stores will carry a wide range of shingle products from the basic design to the higher-end models. Buying local means savings on transportation cost.

Consider the Consequences

Using low-quality shingles could result in shortened lifespan for your roof. They may lose their waterproofing quality early on and fail to protect your house, resulting to structural damage. They could also be easily blown away by strong winds. Never sacrifice quality when you are buying cheap shingles.

Metal Roof Vs Shingles: Which One Should You Choose?

The two most common choices for roofing materials are metal roof vs shingles. Before deciding on which one to use, consider the pros and cons of each roofing material.

Metal Roof

metal roof

1. Advantages of Metal Roof

  • Light. Metal in probably the lightest roof material available today.
  • Longevity. Metal can last a long time. The average lifespan of a metal roof is around 60 years.
  • Extended Warranty. Some manufacturers offer up to 50 years of warranty for their products.
  • Weather Resistant. The material is fireproof and wind-resistant. Metal is also very good at preventing leaks.
  • Green. Metal roof is made of recyclable materials. It is also very energy efficient with its capacity to reflect heat, which cools the interior during summer and lower electricity bills.

2. Disadvantages of Metal Roof

  • Costly. The biggest drawback of a metal roof is its price, which is about three times more than asphalt shingles.
  • Aesthetics. Metal roof is traditionally associated with barns, factories and production buildings.
  • Unstable. Metal can contract and expand more than asphalt, which may compromise its ability to keep water away. Proper installation is the solution.
  • Negative Track Record. People’s previous experience with metal is through the corrugated metal sheets that corrode in less than 10 years.
  • Quality. Inferior or low-grade metals are still available, which are less durable and do not last as long as their high-grade counterparts.



1. Advantages of Shingles

  • Trustworthy. More than 100 years of use throughout the home construction industry. Owners are very comfortable with the material over their heads.
  • Cheap. Asphalt shingles are very economical compared to metal roof. The low price is the single biggest attraction of this type of roof.
  • Easy Installation. Very easy to install. Most professional contractors can install asphalt shingle roofs in one day. Even homeowners are known to do the work themselves.
  • Easy to Repair. Asphalt is not only easy to install, it is also easy to repair.
  • Variety of Styles. Asphalt comes in many styles and colors. There is the basic style for those with limited budget, but there are also high-end ones with style variations.
  • Performance. Manufacturers offer 20 to 30-year warranty. Some are even highly rated and qualify as a cool roof that entitles the owners to tax credits.

2. Disadvantages of Shingles

  • Tendency of Mismatch. Most homeowners choose basic styles and colors that do not maximize the aesthetic aspect of the house.
  • Dependent on Maintenance. Longevity is often associated with periodic maintenance by the owner and a sturdy roof deck.
  • Susceptibility. Asphalt does not perform well under extreme weather conditions. Its lifespan is also shortened by algae and mildew when it gets little sunlight.
  • Heavy. Contrary to popular belief, asphalt shingles are actually heavier than metal. The old roof must be removed if you are to install a new asphalt roof.

Roofing Materials That Could Withstand Arizona Phoenix Weather


One of the hottest cities in the US is Phoenix, Arizona. It holds the highest average temperature during summer among major cities with temperatures exceeding 100 degrees.

Because of the hot Arizona Phoenix weather, keeping cool is a primary consideration in house construction and repairs. Most structures use air-conditioning to keep the temperature cool inside. However, this is not the primary factor planners have in mind when constructing houses. Their priority is the roof, particularly using the correct materials and design to combat heat.

Builders choose from a wide selection of roofing materials. There are, however, certain materials that are better suited for places with hot weather like Phoenix, Arizona. Some of these are:

Terra Cotta and Clay

The cooling effects brought by terra cotta roofs are found not only on the materials used but also on the design itself. The curved or “S”-shaped roofing materials are placed in interlocking fashion to form beautiful arches. The spaces between the tiles allow air to freely flow and circulate, thereby rapidly dissipating heat and keeping the structure cool inside.

Rubber Membrane

A product of modern technology, rubber roofing is made from thermoplastic or ethylene propylene diene Monomer (EPDM), a synthetic rubber. The reflective properties of the rubber minimize heat absorption from the sun and keep the structure cool. Roofers get extra benefits from using rubber-membrane roofing – waterproofing the roof because of their seamless nature, which further prolongs the roof lifespan by preventing water from seeping in.


An affordable alternative to other roofing materials that many builders in hot countries prefer because it takes a long time to heat up from being exposed to the sun. Concretes are either poured to form slab roofs or installed as tiles. An added advantage from using concrete roofing materials is their fire-proof qualities. Roofers can enhance the cooling capabilities of concrete roofs by using light colors that reflect sunlight.

Slate Tiles

A very common roofing materials that originated during the 17th century. Slates come from natural stones and are available in light and earth-toned colors. The material’s reflective properties reduce heat absorption from the sun and keep the building interior cooler. Its global use can be attributed to its reputation as a cool material for roofing and availability in places where slates are abundant.

Solar Panels

Phoenix, Arizona with its arid weather and long sunny days is perfect for this type of roofing system. Solar panels or photovoltaic roof shingles do not actually reflect sunlight but absorb them and convert the heat into electricity.