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What is the Most Common Type of Residential Roof?

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When it comes time for a roof replacement, one of the first decisions you’ll have to make is choosing the right shingles for your new roof. However, looking through every single type of roofing material on the market can be overwhelming.

One of the best ways to start your search is to look at your neighbors’ roofs. If they’re like the majority of homes in the United States, they’re probably all using the same type of roofing material. But what is the most common type of residential roof?

Since 1991, On Tops Roofing has repaired, replaced, and maintained hundreds of roofs in Raleigh and the surrounding areas. We always strive to help our homeowners through the roofing process, including helping them choose the right shingles for their roofs. Now, we want to share that information with you.

By the end of this article, you will learn what the most common type of roof is, plus four important things to know about it. If you’re ready, let’s dive in.

What is the Most Common Type of Roof?

Next time you walk through your neighborhood, spend some time looking at the different roofs in your area. I bet you’ll notice they all have shingles with different styles, colors, and textures. Chances are, despite their differences, almost all of them are asphalt roofs.

What are the different types of asphalt roofing shingles

Featuring durable shingles that are resistant to moisture, inclement weather, and fire hazards, asphalt roofs are designed to protect your home with minimal maintenance.

Their durability and longevity make them the roofing material of choice for over 80% of homes in the United States. However, one of the biggest reasons homeowners tend to choose asphalt shingles is because they are cost-effective.

4 Things You Should Know About an Asphalt Roof

1. The 3 Types of Asphalt Shingles

There are three major categories of asphalt shingles: 3-tab, dimensional, and luxury. Each type comes with its own unique aesthetic, price point, and lifespan.

  • 3-Tab (or Strip Shingles) - 3-tab asphalt shingles get their name from the 3 tabs on each shingle strip. You can identify 3-tab shingles by their relatively simple, consistent appearance. All of the individual shingles are the same shape, perfectly rectangular, and lay flat next to each other. They’re the cheapest of the 3 types of asphalt shingles.

    three tab shinglesbrown three-tab shingles on a white house with red shutters

  • Dimensional (or Architectural Shingles) - Dimensional shingles feature two layers of asphalt that are bonded together. These shingles are much more durable than 3-tab and boast a multi-dimensional texture and appearance that can last 30 years or longer. This is the most popular asphalt shingle on the market today. 

    architectural shinglesbrown architectural asphalt shingles on a beige brick house

  • Luxury (or Premium Shingles) - Luxury shingles are the highest-quality asphalt shingle available. They offer the most realistic representation of old-world shake and quarried slate shingles. However, they are the most expensive out of the three types of asphalt shingles.

    brown luxury asphalt shinglesbrown luxury asphalt shingles on a beige house surrounded by greenery

You can read this article to learn more about the three types of asphalt shingles and decide which is the right type for your roof replacement.

2. The Materials That Make Up an Asphalt Roof

When looking at a roof from down below, it’s easy to assume that the asphalt shingles you see from the street are all that makeup a roof. However, a roof is made up of several different materials and components that all come together to form a complete roofing system. 

While shingles are the bulk of an asphalt roof, all the other roofing materials are just as important. The main materials and components that make up an asphalt roof are:

All of these materials are important to help your asphalt roof do what it does best, protecting you and your family. To learn more about each of the roofing components mentioned, read this article on the 10 materials included in your asphalt roof replacement.

3. How Long an Asphalt Roof Will Last

The average lifespan of an asphalt shingle roof is 15-40 years. As long as your roof has been properly installed and your attic is well ventilated, you should get pretty close to those 15-40 years.

We usually recommend that you invest in a replacement somewhere around the 80-85% mark of the projected lifespan for your roof. For example, you should consider replacing a 25-year old asphalt roof around the 20-year mark.

Replacing your roof before the end of its life is the best way to avoid potential problems that could pop up as your roof ages. However, there are plenty of ways to extend the life of your asphalt roof. Read this article to learn how you can get the most life out of your asphalt roof.

4. An Asphalt Roof Needs Regular Maintenance & Inspections

You might assume your roof needs attention only when it’s damaged or leaking. The reality is you shouldn’t neglect developing a regular maintenance routine for an asphalt roof.

Roof maintenance is the periodical checking of all the vulnerable areas on your roof that could be susceptible to damage. It is critical to preventing roof problems and keeping your roof in good condition for years to come.

But how often should you maintain your roof? Is roof maintenance something you can do on your own? Honestly, a good routine includes both biannual maintenance and biyearly professional roof inspections. Let’s take a look at what both look like to help you develop your schedule:

  • Maintenance: Tasks like cleaning your gutters, trimming your trees, and inspecting your attic for signs of water damage should be performed twice a year. If you feel comfortable on a ladder and your home is less than two stories tall, you can actually perform these maintenance tasks on your own. You can use these self-maintenance tips to keep your roof in good working condition. However, if you can’t do maintenance on your own, you can always hire a professional roofer to help you.

  • Inspections: Even with a regular maintenance routine, it’s a good idea to have your roof professionally inspected at least once every two years. This will allow your contractor to catch any hidden issues you might’ve missed during your maintenance routine, helping to ensure a safe roof over your head. A professional will look for curling/blistering shingles, popped nails, cracked caulking, damaged flashing, and more to help you prevent further roof damage.

Now that you know how vital maintenance is to the health of your asphalt roof, you can read this article to learn more about developing a regular maintenance routine.

Looking to get an Asphalt Roof Replacement?

Now that you’ve learned everything you need to know about asphalt roofs, you may be wondering if these are the right shingles for your replacement. One of the best ways to figure out whether an asphalt roof would work for your home is to ask a roofing contractor!

Roofing contractors aren't just there to replace your roof and leave. They should be there to answer any questions you have about your project and help you make the best choices for your roof. Read this article to learn five different questions you can ask your contractor to make sure they’re the best fit for your replacement.

If you live in Raleigh and want an asphalt roof replacement, don’t hesitate to fill out the form below for an inspection, a free estimate, or even to ask us more questions about asphalt roofs. With over 900 roofs worked on each year, we know how to provide the high-quality roofing service that homeowners, like you, are looking for.

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