There are many types of roofing materials homeowners can choose from, with cost usually being the main factor. If insurance is covering the replacement, it will typically only pay to restore your home the way it was, not upgrade it. Appearances can be a factor, especially the color. Resale value is a further consideration, as it may not make sense to install expensive designer shingles if you are planning to move, or if no other houses in the neighborhood are using them.
Asphalt shingles are by far the most widely used roofing material in the DFW area. Once made mainly of organic base, most asphalt shingles are now made of fiberglass. Fiberglass shingles have a higher fire rating than organic shingles. Asphalt shingles are popular due to their affordability. Though asphalt shingles do not typically last as long as some other types of materials, choosing a good quality shingle can be a perfectly good investment in your roof. There are different grades of asphalt shingles, as detailed below.
Left: Architectural Shingles, Right: 3 Tab Shingles
3-Tab shingles can be a good value for the money, if chosen from a quality manufacturer such as GAF. They offer perfectly acceptable protection for your home, though they are more popular on starter homes and rental properties. 3-tab shingles are made of three regularly spaced asphalt tabs which are uniform in size and shape The pattern will therefore look very repetitive. These shingles are the lightest in weight, with less material and therefore less sturdy. The warranty will be shortest on 3-tab shingles.
In contrast, architectural shingles, also known as laminate shingles or dimensional shingles, are more expensive than the traditional 3-tab type. Architectural shingles have a more varied size and shape to them, giving them a more "dimensional" look, hence the name. The can appear to be more like shake, and are preferred by many. They are thicker/heavier and can therefore withstand higher winds and impacts. The warranty on architectural shingles is longer than for that of 3-tab shingles, and the cost is proportionately more. These are a popular choice because of better quality and appearance.
Some manufacturers, such as GAF, make impact resistant shingles, similar to architectural shingles, only stronger, thicker and better able to withstand severe weather. These are also known as Class 4 shingles, because they pass the UL 2218 Class 4 impact test. This is UL's toughest impact test, meaning the shingle shows no evidence of cracks or ruptures on the front or back of the shingle after impact. Interestingly enough, the manufacturer warranty does not cover hail damage.
So why would anyone pay more and get the same warranty? The main reason is that many insurance companies will offer a discount on your home policy if you have a Class 4 roof. In other words, over the life of your roof you will, indeed, save money, but how much depends on your insurance company. And the fact that Class 4 shingles are more durable gives added peace of mind to homeowners wanting the best. These shingles are high quality and definitely give more protection, which make them a great choice if you live in Collin County or greater Dallas.
In the end, you as the homeowner must decide what is right for you. We work with GAF, Owens Corning, and CertainTeed, which are all top quality manufacturers with excellent reputations. They all make a variety of shingles to fit most budgets and design choices. Will work with you to recommend the best product for your situation.