Are fiberglass or laminated shingles better? Can you recommend brands?
Would you recommend laminated or fiberglass shingles? How long does each last, and what brand is best?
-- Dallas, Texas
Laminated shingles are designed mainly to achieve a certain look, while still getting the cost effectiveness of asphalt shingles. In fact, laminated shingles are asphalt shingles. Essentially, they are two sheets of the old three-tab asphalt shingles melded together. The result is increased durability, because of the laminate. Often people choose laminated shingles, so that their asphalt roof will have a pattern that more closely resembles a cedar shake or even a slate shingle roof. When the asphalt shingle are laminated together it creates different patterns. These products are also called architectural shingles.
Fiberglass shingles are also just a modification of the age-old three-tab asphalt shingles. The traditional shingle is heavy felt sandwiched between two layers of watertight asphalt. Fiberglass shingles replace the fiber-based felt with a weave of fiberglass to increase durability and life expectancy. The fiberglass is still coated by asphalt to make it waterproof.
Not to complicate matters, but there are some products that are laminated fiberglass shingles, which means you can have the look of a laminated, three-tab shingle with the durability of a synthetic fiber.
How long the shingles last depends more on the way they were made than on the material from which they were made. The rule of thumb is that shingles last about 20 years. If low grade materials are used, or if the roof is exposed to harsh weather, the shingles will probably wear out sooner. Some manufacturers offer warranties that last longer than 20 years, but you will pay extra for it.
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If you come to find out that your roof has been damaged and needs to be fixed then there are two main approaches you can take. You can either decide to make a roof repair or replace the entire roof. Roof repairs will generally save you time and money, but in most cases a new roof is the best option. As a general rule of thumb, if the existing roof on is only one layer and there are no problems with the roof deck, a new roof is not necessary.
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