How to Choose Quality Asphalt Shingle Roofing by Comparing Ratings and Grades

You have choices to make when it comes to new asphalt shingle roofing. Besides color, you get to choose the quality of the shingles. You can determine the quality of different shingles by looking at their ratings and grades. Here are some examples.

Energy Star Rated Shingles

If you buy asphalt shingles with an Energy Star rating, you can be sure you're buying energy-efficient shingles that help control your utility costs and that helps keep your home cooler. Energy Star shingles usually have a top layer or coating that reflects the sun's rays. The more rays that are reflected, the less heat that enters your home.

By reducing the heat in your attic, there will be less heat to waft down into your living space, so your air conditioner may not have to run as much. This saves money as well as wear on your HVAC. In addition, a cooler attic is better for the shingles since the heat from a hot attic causes asphalt shingles to wear down faster.

Wind-Resistance Rating

Shingles are rated for wind resistance according to the wind speed they can withstand. You don't necessarily need to buy roofing with the highest wind-resistance rating unless you live in an area where hurricanes are a threat. A roofing contractor can help you choose the right rating for your local climate and expected storm conditions.

Impact-Resistance Ratings

If you live where hail is a possibility, then the impact rating of your roofing could be important. The impact rating is determined by dropping steel balls of different sizes on the shingles to see if they get damaged. The roofing is then rated, with class 4 being the highest rating. Buying a shingle roof with the highest rating gives you peace of mind your shingles will survive a typical storm with small to medium hail.

Fire-Rated Shingles

Since a fire could break out anywhere, you probably want shingles with a high fire rating. However, if you live in an area with wildfires, the highest rating is essential. Class A shingles provide the best protection from fire. Class B shingles provide some protection from a fire, but not the best. You may want to avoid Class C or unrated shingles since your home would be at a higher risk of fire. You may want to discuss the appropriate fire rating for your new shingles with your roofing contractor.

Shingle Grades

Asphalt shingles are also rated according to grade, with the best grades being the thickest shingles. Because they're thicker, the best grades are usually more durable and more resistant to wind and hail damage. However, ratings vary among shingle manufacturers, so when the quality of the shingles matters, be sure to compare different manufacturers to find the right shingles for your home or discuss your choices with your roofer.


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