Recent technological advances have increased the acceptance of composite shingles in steep-slope roof applications. The increase in popularity can be attributed to the variety of styles and colors that are now available for these types of materials. The styles available include those that mimic the look of traditional three-tab shingles, wood shake shingles, slate shingles, metal and thermoplastics. The advancements in the manufacturing process have enabled the look of the composite shingles to be identical to the traditional materials.
Composite shingles are manufactured with a blend of various roof materials, which are added to recyclable products such as post-industrial plastics and hemp fibers. The core materials are typically multiple layers blended between asphalts and adhesives that provide durability and strength. Special additives are provided to increase the shingle’s resistance to algae, moss growth and ultraviolet degradation. In addition to their aesthetic appeal, composite shingles are very durable and are available with warranties of 30 to 50 years. Some manufacturers even provide lifetime warranties on certain styles. The manufactured thickness - composite shingles are up to 60 percent thicker than traditional shingles - provides significant durability and the materials all but eliminate cracks, blisters, splits, peeling and warping.
The biggest advantage of composite shingles is the ability to duplicate the look of slate, shakes and various metals and coppers at an economical price. Cost savings are provided through easier application methods with lighter weight materials. The composite shingles are also easier to cut and can be attached using pneumatic nail guns or by hand. Most of the composite shingles are available in multiple contour patterns, which eliminate block patterns from forming. Proper shingle placement is completed with the use of spacer tabs. Most manufacturers imprint markings on the shingles for proper exposure placement, centerlines for proper shingle alignment and nail zones for proper nail application. This allows the contractor the ability to simply set the shingle in place and fasten it to the substrate.
Laminated asphalt shingles are manufactured with a double-layer (fiberglass or organic) mat construction. The layers are coated with asphalt, laminated together and surfaced with granules. They are used in steep-slope applications that have a pitch between 2 inches and 4 inches per foot. Laminated asphalt shingles are applied in similar fashion to traditional shingles with exposure of 55/8 inches and four nails per shingle - six nails in high velocity wind zones.
Steel composite shingles are manufactured from heavy-gauge galvanized steel with a factory applied anti-corrosive primer and coating. Copper composite shingles are also available. The steel is fabricated to the contours and textures of slate (typically double stamped), cedar shakes or a smooth metal finish. These types of shingles are used in steep-slope applications that have a pitch between 3 inches and 4 inches per foot. They are also commonly applied on mansards. They can be applied in new construction or remedial applications over asphalt shingles. The exposure is 12 inches and they are typically interlocked at all four corners using clips. Some manufacturers require that a joint pan system be applied throughout the roof area to lock the shingles in place. Nails are placed through slotted holes at the top of the shingle. Copper shingles require attachment with copper nails.
Shake composite shingles are available in 5-inch, 7-inch and 12-inch widths. They are manufactured with specific textures and contours of wood shakes and provide an authentic look in dimension and design. They can be secured with two corrosion-resistant nails with a pneumatic gun or they can be hand nailed. It is recommended that the size of the first shingle in each successive course is alternated to prevent exposure of the nails and keyways.
Slate composite shingles are manufactured from a variety of different materials that include plastic and synthetic slate. They are available in 5-inch, 7-inch and 12-inch widths. They are manufactured with specific textures and contours of slate and provide an authentic look in dimension and design. They can be secured with two corrosion-resistant nails with a pneumatic gun or hand nailed. It is recommended that the size of the first shingle in each successive course is alternated to prevent exposure of the nails and keyways.