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The roof that you choose matters. It is one of the most important elements of any home. If you make the wrong decision, your home will not be properly protected from the elements.

Choosing the wrong materials for the construction of your roof could be a mistake that you end up regretting for decades. It will start to deteriorate far faster than it should. When that happens, your headaches begin. You will have two choices – have it all stripped off and replaces, which will be expensive. Or, stick with it and hire someone to go up there every year and patch things up. At least until you reach the point where that is no longer possible, and you have no choice but to completely replace your roof.

Unfortunately, at Dominion Roofing, over the decades, we have come across many people who have made a mistake when choosing what to use to construct their roof. That is why we have written a series of articles that provide you with the information you need to decide which type of roofing material to use.

Below, we share with you the pros and cons of asphalt shingles. Explaining what they are made from and giving you an overview of the different types that are available.

Pros and Cons of Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles are one of the most popular roofing materials used in North America. In particular, in Canada. They have an excellent track record, which is why they have been used for more than 120 years.

As the name suggests, they are a roof shingle, that has been coated with a layer of asphalt, which is used because of its waterproofing abilities. When laid well, these shingles can protect a roof for decades and do so in all kinds of weather conditions. As a result, they are one of the most widely used roofing materials in Canada.

Advantages of Using Asphalt Shingles

There are several advantages to using asphalt shingles. Here are the most important of them:

Durability – They are incredibly durable. If you use the highest quality ones, they can easily last for 50 years. That is a lot longer than traditional wooden shingles.

Least expensive roofing material – Yet, despite their incredible durability, they are the least expensive viable roofing materials. Using them is a particularly good way to keep your roofing costs down.

Easy to install – Asphalt shingles go up fast. They are relatively light, so it does not take long to get them up to the roof. Once they are up there, you only have to nail them in place.

Extremely good waterproofing qualities – Asphalt has extremely good waterproofing qualities. It easily withstands exposure to the beating sun as well as being covered in snow and ice. Even after years of that, they remain waterproof. Protecting your home during storms, heavy rain, and hailstones.

Granules easily withstand the sun´s ultraviolet rays – The fact that they can stand up to the sun´s ultraviolet rays so well means that the colour barely fades.

They are fire-resistant – Surprisingly, they are also fire-resistant. Even when the roof space is alight, class A shingles can stay intact for up to 2 hours. So, once the fire is out, they can still provide some protection from the elements, while you re-build. Plus, the chances of your home catching fire due to wind-borne burning embers landing on the roof are practically non-existent.

Easy to repair – Should part of your roof start to deteriorate you will be able to easily repair the areas that need attention. The fact that you can do this will greatly prolong the overall life of your roof.

Easy to totally replace – Of course, at some point your roof will need to be replaced in its entirety. This is the case regardless of what roofing materials are used. With an asphalt shingle roof, the process of totally replacing your roof is relatively easy. The old tiles can easily be removed. In fact, as you can see here, in some cases you will be able to lay new shingles over the top of the old ones, which makes the process of re-roofing even easier. Compared to metal or shake shingles laying a replacement asphalt shingle roof is easy. It can be done quickly which means that it is relatively inexpensive.

Disadvantages of Using Asphalt Shingles

However, as with all things in life, there are some disadvantages to using this traditional roofing material. But, as you will see, not so many that it is not the best choice for most homes and many types of commercial buildings.

It does not last as long as metal does – In comparison to metal, asphalt does not last as long. Typically, a well-laid metal roof will remain intact for 40 to 70 years. Whereas an asphalt shingle one will last for between 20 and 50 years. In both cases, how long the roof stays intact is largely dependent on the grade of the materials that are used.

Requires more frequent inspections – Perhaps the biggest drawback is the fact that shingle roofs need to be inspected more than other types of roofs do. When the roof is relatively new, you can get away with doing it every 3 years. But when it is nearing the end of its life this needs to be done every year. Understandably most homeowners in the areas we work in hire us to regularly inspect and tune up their roofs.

In time, granule loss becomes an issue – Over time, all roofing materials deteriorate. How that happens varies. As asphalt ages, the granules that it is made from start to slowly dry out and stop sticking together. When that happens, the bond they have with the base material that has been used for the shingle also starts to breakdown. Eventually, patches of the base are exposed to the elements and that area of the roof is no longer waterproof.

Asphalt is vulnerable to attack by various compounds – Asphalt is tough stuff, but, like any material, it has its vulnerabilities. Over time, exposure to pollution, mildew, mould, and moss will all start to break it down and compromise it. That is why it is important to learn how to keep your roof moss, mildew, and mould free.

Consult with a Dominion Roofing expert today to know more about asphalt roofing shingle installation and maintenance.

Talk to an Asphalt Shingle Expert from Dominion Roofing now

If you want to know more about asphalt shingles, please give us a call using the number on this site. Or, visit our Toronto office along Cartwright Avenue. We would enjoy seeing you and discussing your roofing needs on a one to one basis.

Alternatively, you can leave us a message via our online contact form.


“Asphalt shingles are widely considered as one of the most popular roofing materials in Canada.”

FAQs on Asphalt Shingles

How reliable are asphalt shingles as a roofing material?

Asphalt shingles are extremely reliable as a roofing material. Depending on the grade of material you use this type of roof can easily stay intact for between 20 and 50 years.

What is granule loss?

Granule loss is when asphalt shingles start to breakdown and the grit that forms the outer layer starts to come unstuck from the base material. Once that happens, the process tends to accelerate. Until, eventually, there is not enough grit left on the surface of the shingle for it to remain waterproof.

Are asphalt shingles expensive?

Asphalt shingles are not expensive. They are one of the most affordable roofing materials you can buy. The fact that the installation process is also faster and easier than it is for other roofing materials also helps to keep the price down.

How do I know if my asphalt shingles are in need of replacing?

You should look into replacing your asphalt shingles if they have missing granules, the shingles themselves are curing or moss or mould covers them. Additionally, shingles on your roof need changing if some of them are missing or if your roof is very old. Make sure you check whenever a leak occurs so that it doesn’t cause unnecessary damage.

Is it advisable to replace my asphalt shingles during winter?

It’s not advisable to replace asphalt shingles during winter. This is because the shingles themselves lose their pliability, and you can’t cut them as easily. During the installation process, the bonding agents you use also don’t function well in the cold. The amount of clothing needed in winter also makes working on a roof extremely difficult for repairers.

Should I choose asphalt shingles over fibreglass shingles?

One of the critical things to consider when choosing your shingles is the type of weather in your area. Fibreglass shingles work better in hotter climates and are more water and fire-resistant. On the other hand, asphalt shingles offer superior waterproofing in snow and ice and are easy to repair. So if you live in an area where the climate tends to be colder, asphalt shingles would work best.

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