Synthetic Shingles 101: A Beginner's Guide to Modern Roofing

Synthetic Shingles 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Modern Roofing

As roofing technology evolves rapidly, new and better products continue to emerge. Homeowners have more options than ever. Evaluating various roofing alternatives can feel daunting. Synthetic shingles represent the newest (and, in many respects, most exciting) wave in innovative and transformative roofing technology. So, exactly what should a homeowner make of it?

What Are Synthetic Shingles?

Manufactured primarily from recycled plastics and rubber (and, in some cases, paper, fiberglass, or asphalt), synthetic shingles provide a viable alternative to other forms of roofing.

Types Of Synthetic Shingles

Many leading roofing manufacturers, including CeDur, CertainTeed, DaVinci, EcoStar, and F-Wave, produce synthetic shingles for homeowners. Synthetic roofing can capture the look and feel of asphalt shingle, clay tile, cedar shake, and slate. The options are limitless.

How They Differ From Traditional Asphalt Shingles

Nearly four in five homeowners have asphalt shingle roofing. However, this trend is rapidly changing as synthetic roofs become increasingly popular. Consider the following differences between asphalt and synthetic:

The visual attractiveness of a home from the street determines its curb appeal. If a home has an outstanding aesthetic, it will increase a home’s value. Roofing plays a significant role in the perception of a home. Most prospective buyers consider a well-maintained asphalt shingle roof to be appealing. Synthetic roofs easily mimic asphalt shingles and other styles (like cedar shake).

Expert studies demonstrate that the typical synthetic roof lasts twice as long as the average asphalt shingle roof (40-50 years compared to 20-25 years for an equivalent style). For practical purposes, most homeowners will never need to replace a synthetic roof while they own the home. This particular benefit represents a dramatic savings on the cost of replacing a roof.

Average Life Expectancy of Roofing Materials Chart

Adverse weather conditions, including rain, snow, and hail, significantly affect a roof’s condition and performance. Industry research reveals synthetic shingles exhibit far stronger resistance to forceful impact (such as severe hail or heavy snow) than asphalt shingles. Thus, they are less susceptible to cracking and typically receive a Class 4 Impact Resistance Rating.

Average Impact Resistance Rating Line Graph

Generally, asphalt roofs absorb heat from the sun’s rays and transfer that heat inside the home. Consequently, a homeowner’s energy bills soar to compensate for the added heat. On the other hand, synthetic provide a much higher energy efficiency factor. They don’t have the same heat absorption properties. They can reflect sunlight away much more efficiently.

The sun’s rays can severely damage a roof. Asphalt roofing absorbs heat from the sun. Over time, warping and curling of shingles occur. Conversely, synthetic roofing performs well in sunlight, often receiving a Class A Fire Rating (the highest level of protection against extreme heat). Synthetic roofs do not rely upon tiny granules. They depend on an embedded mineral coating.

Compared to slate, clay, or metal, synthetic roofing offers a much more budget-friendly alternative. Although asphalt shingles tend to be the most price-effective material, synthetic shingles are the next most affordable option. In fact, given the likelihood that synthetic shingles will survive twice as long as asphalt shingles, synthetic roofing provides better long-term value.

How well a roof withstands powerful winds helps determine the roof’s overall performance and reliability. Hurricane-force, tornadic, straight line, or gale-force winds can cause untold damage. On average, a synthetic roof performs twice as well in windy conditions compared to asphalt shingles. This benefit gives synthetic shingles a considerable advantage over asphalt roofing.

Average Wind Resistance Factor Graph
Post and beam style home with synthetic shingle roof replacement

6 Reasons To Choose Synthetic Shingles Over Traditional Asphalt Shingles

Consider these compelling factors for selecting synthetic roofing over asphalt shingles:

  1. Synthetic roofing is extremely lightweight (yet durable) and does not degrade quickly.
  2. Synthetic roofing has the industry’s highest fire rating (Class A).
  3. Synthetic roofs are much more wind-resistant than asphalt shingles.
  4. Synthetic roofs provide a much greater ability to reflect sunlight than asphalt roofs.
  5. Synthetic shingles offer the highest impact resistance rating on the market.
  6. Synthetic shingles provide nearly double the lifespan of asphalt shingles.
Large Tudor Stle Home With New synthetic shingle roof

What Kinds Of Homes Are Ideal For This Type of Shingles

Nearly every residential home can support synthetic shingles. Unless the roof pitch is flat or low-slope, synthetic roofing should be a viable option for homeowners looking to replace their existing roof. A reputable roofing company experienced with installing this type of shingles can assist a homeowner with questions about this innovative material.

Finding A Qualified Roofing Contractor

Not all roofing companies will install synthetic roofing precisely. In fact, most roofing companies lack the knowledge, training, and experience to construct a synthetic roof. At 3JM Exteriors, we know the ins and outs of synthetic roofing. Our expertise rises to the surface when needed most.
If you own a home in Northeastern Illinois, including the Greater Chicagoland area, 3JM Exteriors covers any required roofing service. Trust us to deliver the industry’s highest quality craftsmanship and unsurpassed roofing products. To learn more or schedule an appointment, contact us today.

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