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Shingle Shed Roofs–3 Differences Between the BEST and the REST

Updated: Mar 20

Asphalt Shingles: Not All the Same Quality

Shingles are a super-popular shed roof. They look great, can match the house, and come in a variety of colors. But let’s face it. Some are GREAT. Some you’ll HATE.

Asphalt shingles can be a pain if they are low-quality. They can curl and crack before their time. They can blow off in a wind storm. Either of these will give you a leaky roof. And a leaky roof is not only obnoxious, it will rot out your shed in no time.

So if you decide on shingles for your shed roof, make sure you get shingles that will serve you well over the years. Most brands of shingles look pretty similar from the ground. But they are not all the same quality. Even within the same brand, quality may vary. And of course, there’s more to a roof than the quality of the shingles.

Let’s take a look at what you need to know.

3-tab shingles don’t last as long as architectural shingles.

Architectural shingles are thicker and longer-lasting.

Best Asphalt Shingles: 3 Things to Look For

Here are 3 things to consider for the best shingle shed roofs.

  1. Style. Find out whether the shingles are architectural or 3-tab, and whether there is a cost to upgrade to architectural. 3-tab shingles are cheaper, but typically they don’t last well as architectural shingles. And, in my very blunt opinion, 3-tabs don’t look nearly as good as architectural shingles.

  2. Installation. Installation is really important, as you would imagine. The best shingle is no better than its installation. Two things to be aware of here:

  3. Shed companies have to haul their sheds over the road. That means the shingle roof will encounter high winds, to the tune of 50-70 mph depending on the speed of the delivery driver. That’s a lot of wind, similar to a major windstorm, and shingles want to blow off.

Some companies will actually staple down the exposed part of the shingles all along the leading edge of the roof so that they won’t blow off going down the road. But the staples or nails fastening the shingles should be hidden. If they’re not hidden from your eye, they’re not hidden from the rain. And rain rusts. We’ve had to go back and fix some sheds, because the exposed staples rusted through. (So we learned this one the hard way. We’ve never built sheds this way, but we did purchase and sell some that were not made to our specs. We went back and did warranty work to a lot of sheds. You can bet that installation method got changed!)

  1. Some people make a big deal of nails vs. staples, and claim that nails are much better. We use staples, and have for many years. We do our own warranty work, and have never had any problems with staples. We have found them to be fully as effective as nails.

  2. Warranty. This one is complex. Shingle warranties have vast amounts of fine print. And the numbers don’t all mean the same thing. But generally, a shingle warranty will tell you roughly the quality of the shingle. It usually won’t tell you how long the shingles will actually last. Here are examples of the warranty of the shingles we use, made by IKO.

  3. On our architectural shingles (which is the only shingle we use), IKO has an “Ironclad” warranty of 15 years. Here’s how they explain it: “This means that IKO will supply replacement Shingles similar to those already on the roof, plus a reasonable allowance for the cost of applying the new Shingles.” We’ve had no trouble with these shingles, and we think they have a good chance of actually lasting 15 years.

  4. BUT–hang on to your hat–that same shingle has a “Limited Lifetime Warranty.” Whoa! You probably hope that your lifetime is more than 15 years. What’s going on? Basically what this means is that beyond the Ironclad Warranty, IKO will pro-rate the cost of replacing the roof. To put it simply, beyond 15 years, they will pay for less of roof replacement as the years go by. Eventually they will pay for nothing. So “Limited Lifetime Warranty” really does mean “limited.”

Obviously, shingle shed roofs can be replaced. And it’s not even terrifically expensive. That being said, I’d rather my roof would last a long time, and I bet you would too. Do a bit of homework, and you can make sure you are getting a shingle shed roof that will serve you well for many years.

Charming Garden Cottage with architectural shingles

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