Shingles are the traditional roofing material for homes to cover the roof. The basic material asphalt that saturates a woven, matted material that is then covered with granules that provide extra protection, various colors and a rough surface. A three-tab shingle is most often used but a laminated shingle labeled an architectural roof shingle may be used in more upscale homes, as the price is higher and it gives a different appearance to the roof.
The manufacture of the architectural roof shingle determines the length of the warranty that it offers. There is no standard measurement or government code for the label. Various factors such as the thickness of the shingle, the materials that it is manufactured from and the amount of asphalt used are used by the company to determine what length of warranty it will put on the shingle.
Different Manufacturing Standards
Comparing 30-year or 50-year shingles from different manufacturers will show that there may be significant differences between shingles that have the same length of warranty. This also affects the price of the shingle, with the better ones costing more. A roofer may order a substandard brand of a shingle to save him money on expenses. This allows the roofer to pocket more of the profit for himself after the job.
Realistic Life Span
The consumer is going to pay more for a 50-year warrantied shingle. However, the warranty is not what affects the lifespan of the shingle. Factors such as the sun, the climate and the installation have a much greater affect on the real life span. In areas of intense, year-around sun such as the Southwest, an architectural roof shingle is going to be lucky to last much past 20 years regardless of the warranty.
Choosing a 50-year Shingle
If the homeowner is planning to stay in the home for several decades and the climate is mild, it then makes financial sense to pay for a high-quality, brand-name 50-year warrantied shingle. Hiring a contractor that is proven to have the experience and expertise in installing the advertised long-lived shingle helps ensure that it will last for its maximum length. If moving soon after the roof installation, it doesn't make that much of a difference in resale value.