Composition Shingles

Composition shingles are the most common type of roofing product used in steep slope roofing applications. They are the most popular product used due to their affordability, availability, and performance characteristics. They are comprised of three main components a fiberglass mat, asphalt, and granules. The mat is what gives the shingle structure and contributes to the tear resistance properties, fire resistance (Class A), and in some product lines impact resistance. Asphalt is the second major component and the water proofing portion of the shingle. Asphalt blends vary from manufacturer to manufacturer as well vary in thickness depending on what “make and model” being produced. Generally, the more asphalt contained in the finished shingle the longer the warranty available from the manufacturer. Improvements in the manufacturing process as well as material composition have enabled a reduction in the amount of asphalt used in the production of shingles while enhancing performance and warranty. The last major component is the ceramic granules. Granules protect the asphalt from UV exposure, reflect light, provides the color found on shingles, contains the fungus/algae inhibitors, and improves fire resistance. From a basic three tab to a laminate tile or slate look alike, compositions shingles are available today to meet just about any architectural theme.

photo many layers OC Weather Guard HP Driftwood

The many layers of GAF Timberline HD Product

Although composition shingles are available in big box stores for the “do it yourself” segment of the population there is a misconception that anybody can nail on shingles. This misconception has cost homeowners significant losses by hiring inexperienced or non-professional installers that do not put the product on correctly and don’t use the required products to qualify for the advertised warranty. Warranty claims on performance or material failures will be subject to rejection and homeowners left with limited recourse. In addition, local building codes and insurance agencies such as the Texas Windstorm Insurance Agency (TWIA) have adopted stringent wind performance criteria requiring installation and product enhancements. At Brinkmann Quality Roofing Services our staff is fully trained and certified by the different manufacturers to ensure that you are getting a properly installed roofing system that will be eligible for advertised and if selected enhanced warranties. From the ground most roofs look the same. It is how the roof is put on and what is contained within the roof system that gives the roof its ability to meet performance expectations.

Tough, yet easy to install

In addition to the best-in-class performance rating, WeatherGuard HP shingles stand up to 130-MPH winds. They’re also easier to install and handle than other UL 2218-rated shingles because they:

  • Are not SBS modified—the result is minimal granule loss due to foot traffic during hot-weather applications
  • Will not fuse together in the bundle or on the rooftop during high-temperature conditions


Common Composition shingle questions

What can I do to keep the black streaks from forming on my roof?
The black streaks are a blue/green algae that is prevalent in humid climates and normally forms predominately on the North and West slopes of roofs. It forms in these areas first due to the these roof slopes retaining moisture for longer periods of in the day (Easterly rising sun and Northern Hemisphere). Most shingle manufacturers have an optional feature available that incorporates a copper and/or zinc formulation into the granule mix. This is done during the manufacturing process and is has to be chosen prior to installation. This feature is not warranted for the full warranty term of the shingle and is most often found for a period of 10 years due to the algae building up a resistance to this formulation. Brinkmann Quality Roofing does have access to products with a “time release” granule coating that can be warranted for the life of the shingle.
Am I better off using 15 pound felt or 30 pound felt?
There is 2 times more asphalt in 30- pound felt than there is in 15-pound which reduces the coverage of each roll of 30 pound by half. This doubles the cost of material and labor in 30 pound applications. Felt is applied to keep your home dry until shingles are installed. We recommend using 30-pound felt in roof applications that will remain exposed for a longer period of time and homes with an 8/12 pitch or greater. The main reason we recommend the 30-pound for steep pitches is primarily for safety reasons. The traditional thought on 30# felt is that it should be installed on lower pitched roofs as a “backup to shingles”. This is erroneous thinking as shingles should not be installed on roofs with a slope under 4/12. Doubling up 30-pound felt under low slope composition applications will not keep the roof from leaking. Once the system is complete there are over 20,000 nail holes through this “backup to shingles”.
I have a roof with a low slope. Can I install shingles on it?
There are limitations for composition shingle applications. Shingles should not be installed on roof slopes under 4/12(4 inches of vertical fall for every 12 inches of horizontal length). Most manufactuers say they will warrant their shingles on a 2/12 roof slope. They will warrant the shingle against manufacturing defects down to a 2/12 but they don’t warrant against leaks. We have been after them for years to change their information as it is confusing to the public. Just because you had shingles on these slopes previously does not mean that you can come back with modern shingles and get the same performance on these slopes. Due to the emphasis of wind ratings spawned from the insurance industry a more agressive and solid adhesive strip is on modern shingles which traps migrating water between the shingles which rust the nail heads out. This eventually leaves voids all the way through your roof deck. Shingles installed on roof pitches under 4/12 will start to leak around year 3-4. Our position on this has cost us 30+ projects a year. If we can’t do the job right we would prefer not do it at all. Shingles are not for low slope applications.
I have a roof with a low slope. Can I put a fully adhered underlayment on it and it perform?
No. A common enhancement prescribed by inexperienced roofers and third parties is to install an “ice and watershield” as the primary underlayment on low slope shingle applications. Although this sounds like an logical remedy it does not work. These membranes do seal to the commonly used Electro Galvanized nail when it is penetrated. Once the nail head rust from water exposure the shank will begin to rust through the roof deck leaving a hollow shell of galvanized material. When these products first came out we used them in this manner and it did extend the leak free period by 1-2 years. However, this system will likely start to leak between years 4 and 5. Learn from our experience and do not let a contractor convince you that shingles can be installed on roof pitches below 4/12. If you do please keep our phone number handy.
Do the plastic strips need to be removed from the back of the shingle before they are installed?
No. Shingles with factory-applied adhesive have a strip of clear polyester film applied to each shingle to prevent the sealing strips from bonding the shingles together when packaged. When the shingles are installed, the self-sealing strips will not align with the plastic film strips and will bond to adjacent shingles. For this reason, the plastic film strips do not have to be removed.

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