Protect your home with quality and style: Modern advances in asphalt shingle installation


Protect your home with quality and style: Modern advances in asphalt shingle installation

Residential home with complex roof sections covered with brown, textured asphalt shingles.

New technology advances in asphalt shingle options can give homes and businesses better protection against rain, hail, heat, cold, and more. Modern upgrades also give shingles sticking and staying power when the wind blows hard against them. 

In addition to better performance, these advances offer many more choices in the roof’s appearance. Think designer roof if it’s color, texture, or style that you desire. 

Finally, the roofing process has become more sustainable by adding environmentally friendly strategies that protect our planet. If a new roof is in your future, here are some helpful and interesting things to know about what’s now available.

Some of the latest advances in asphalt shingle roof installation include:


Hail stones hitting corner of asphalt-shingled roof and gutterImpact resistance, cracking, & tearing. Roofing companies are now offering shingles modified with polymer rubber to provide exceptional impact resistance.  Granules are added to the asphalt base and the resulting shingles protect against impacts caused by hail and other weather conditions. This kind of shingle, called SBS-modified, is also more flexible for a good fit during installation.

Rubberized polymer asphalt shingles make excellent roofs for all climates. Most include other adhesion principles that protect against cracks and tears. This can prevent a roof from leaking, too. 

An example of a method used to test the toughness involves dropping a two-inch steel ball from 20 feet in the air to see if the shingle will fracture. A shingle that “passes” means it will come out of the ordeal with no splits or tears. In another test, the shingles can be bent – say, around a pole – and then straightened and tested for cracking.

Many rubberized polymer asphalt shingles come with a Class 4 rating (UL Classified to UL 2218). Depending on your state and insurance company, installing this type of shingle can result in nice savings on the cost of homeowners insurance.

Roofing system updates. Modern roofing systems include multiple components in addition to shingles, such as leak barriers and ventilation to help avoid moisture penetration from rain. There are also excellent solutions available to prevent ice damming in colder climates.

Deterring ugly black streaks. The unsightly black streaks running down an otherwise beautiful roof makes one turn their head in disgust–especially if it’s your own roof. For use in climates where algae are the cause of the streaks, roofing companies have a solution. They’ve developed a process that adds copper-infused surface granules to the asphalt shingles. This prevents the algae from attaching to the shingles, preventing streaks and helping maintain its color and beauty. 

Wider, clearly marked nailing area. If you have ever watched roofers, they work from sunup to sundown. This can make visibility high up on the roof less than ideal at times. With visible nail strips made for both high and low light, the contractor can work faster and more accurately when installing your roof. 

Firmer bonding adhesive. Roofs can withstand wind and weather when they have a strong bonding adhesion to secure the layers together. Advanced application processes and bonding adhesives are offered in several levels of quality and strength. Choices in this area are often tied to the length of the roof manufacturer’s warranty.

Designer Roofs

5 different blocks of asphalt shingles, each with different formats, textures, and colors

Color. Our grandparents would be surprised to see shingles in many colors or surface designs.  Colors may range from vibrant to peaceful. They might be brown and red, black and gold, beige and gold or some other color combination. Also called “Designer Shingles,” colored shingles can be part of modern curb appeal.

Format, texture, and appearance. While single-layer shingles with no cutouts may still be popular, those desiring a designer or decorative architectural edge are choosing open-tab designer shingles or laminated shingles in multiple thicknesses. See the illustration above for examples of several architectural designs. More advances in asphalt roofing design also include choices in texture and appearance. These can make a roof look like wood, cedar, or even slate.

Depending on the home’s style, a designer roof can add a multi-dimensional look that makes the entire home ‘POP!’

Environmental Friendliness

recycle symbol on blacktop roadFrom applying shingles to throwing them away, there have been major advances in making the entire roofing process more friendly to the earth. 

Efficiency & Waste Reduction Using Computerized Equipment. Using computers to calculate size, roof anomalies, and more before purchasing and applying a roof results in less material waste (and a lower cost!), and a more coordinated install. 

Cheaper Pavement from Shingle Recycling. Asphalt shingles from tear-offs are now being recycled on a regular basis.  In 2018, asphalt shingle recycling in the U.S saved over a million tons of waste that would otherwise go into landfills. The recycled shingle bi-products are often used for paving roads, parking lots, and driveways. In addition to being good for the environment, recycling creates jobs at recycling locations and reduces the cost of paving.

Energy Savings with Cool Roofing. ‘Cool roofs’ are ideal for hot climates, reflecting up to 27% of solar heat.  They include two properties: solar reflective shingles that reflect solar energy away from the roof and higher thermal emittance properties that help the roof radiate absorbed heat away from the roof. Both help keep the home or business cooler, reduce the load on air conditioners, and subsequently reduce energy costs.

How to Choose

Advances in research and development have led to shingles that meet the highest performance standards against the elements. 

Think about the area where you live. Does it get wind, hail, rain, or cold? If the answer is “yes” to any of these conditions, consider impact-resistant shingles. In warmer climates or for cottages used only in the hot summer months, a cool roof may be the answer. Consider climate change and the fact that extreme weather can arise quickly. 

In the end, a smart shopper will study durability, curb appeal, and cost. Discuss these factors with a roofing contractor who has the experience and knowledge to balance these considerations and provide the best outcome for you. 

If you live within 50 miles of Grand Rapids, MI, contact Melvin Belk Roofing with your questions about the type of asphalt roof that meets your performance and appearance requirements. We offer numerous choices, free estimates, and a no-pressure consultation. Armed with this information you can ask the right questions and make the best decisions to protect your home with both quality and style.

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