Asphalt Shingle Roofs in Pittsburgh

Repairing and Replacing Asphalt Shingle Roofs

In Pittsburgh, PA, the varying climate demands a lot from roofing materials, particularly asphalt shingles. From the sweltering heat of summer to the icy chill of winter, these conditions can accelerate wear and tear on your roof. Whether you’re considering replacing your roof or just making some repairs, understanding the specific challenges and solutions for asphalt shingle roofs in this region is crucial. This guide will provide homeowners in Pittsburgh with comprehensive insights into maintaining, repairing, and replacing asphalt shingle roofs.

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Types of Asphalt Shingle Roofs

What Are Asphalt Shingle Roofs?

Understanding Asphalt Shingle Roofs?

Asphalt shingles are one of the most popular roofing materials in the United States due to their cost-effectiveness, durability, and aesthetic flexibility. They consist of a fiberglass mat coated in asphalt and topped with ceramic granules that protect against UV rays and weathering. There are primarily three types of asphalt shingles: 3-tab shingles, dimensional shingles, and luxury shingles, each offering different levels of durability, aesthetic appeal, and wind resistance.

What Are Asphalt Shingle Roofs Made From?

Asphalt shingle roofs are primarily made from a base mat, asphalt coating, and a layer of protective granules:

  1. Base Mat: This foundational layer of the shingle can be made from either organic materials (like wood fiber, cellulose, and recycled paper) or fiberglass. Organic mats were more common in the past, but fiberglass mats have become the standard due to their fire resistance, durability, and lighter weight.

  2. Asphalt Coating: The base mat is coated in asphalt to make the shingles waterproof. The type of asphalt used can vary, but it is typically a refined petroleum product that has been modified with polymers to enhance durability and flexibility.

  3. Protective Granules: The top layer of the shingles includes ceramic-coated mineral granules that provide protection from UV rays and physical wear. These granules also contribute to the color and aesthetic appearance of the roof.

These components are combined to create shingles that are effective at repelling water, durable against the elements, and available in various styles and colors to suit different architectural needs.

Choosing The Right Asphalt Shingle Roofing Contractor in Pittsburgh

Selecting the right contractor is crucial for both roof repairs and replacements. Look for local contractors with good reputations and the following qualifications:

  • Licenses and Insurance: Ensure the contractor is licensed and insured in Pennsylvania.
  • Experience with Asphalt Shingles: Check that they have specific experience with asphalt shingle roofs in Pittsburgh’s climate.
  • References and Reviews: Ask for references and read online reviews to gauge the satisfaction of previous customers.

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Pro's & Con's of Asphalt Shingle Roofs

Common Issues with Asphalt Shingle Roofs

Asphalt shingle roofs in Pittsburgh can face several common issues due to the local climate:

  • Weather Damage: Severe weather, such as hail, heavy snow, and ice accumulation, can cause immediate and visible damage to shingles, such as cracking and breaking.
  • Moisture and Algae Growth: Pittsburgh’s humid summers and wet winters are conducive to algae and moss growth, which can undermine the structural integrity of shingles over time.
  • Thermal Shock: Rapid temperature fluctuations can cause shingles to expand and contract, potentially leading to cracks or splits.
  • Wind Damage: Strong winds can lift or even rip shingles from the roof, compromising the roof’s ability to protect the home.
  • Maintenance and Repair: Asphalt shingle roofs require regular maintenance to maximize their lifespan, including cleaning gutters, removing debris, and conducting inspections for damage. They are also relatively easy to repair if damaged by weather or other impacts.

    Overall, an asphalt shingle roof offers a practical and cost-effective solution for residential roofing, combining performance with aesthetic flexibility to meet a wide range of homeowner needs.

When To Repair & When To Replace Your Pittsburgh Asphalt Shingle Roof?

When To Repair?

Repairing an asphalt shingle roof is appropriate when damage is localized to one area of the roof. Here are scenarios when repair might be the best course of action:

  • Replacing Shingles: If a few shingles are damaged or missing, replacing them can be a straightforward and effective fix.
  • Addressing Leaks: If leaks are confined to a small area, repairing the flashing or replacing the damaged shingles may resolve the problem.
  • Fixing the Flashing: Over time, the flashing around chimneys, vents, and other junctions can become loose or corroded. Re-sealing or replacing the flashing can often extend the life of the roof.

When To Replace?

Sometimes, repairs might not be sufficient, particularly if the damage is widespread or the roof is nearing the end of its lifespan. Here are indicators that it might be time for a roof replacement:

  • Age of the Roof: If your asphalt shingle roof is older than 20 years, it might be time to consider a replacement, especially if you’re experiencing frequent leaks or other persistent issues.
  • Extensive Damage: If large areas of the roof are compromised, or if you notice widespread granule loss, replacing the entire roof might be more cost-effective in the long run.
  • Renovation: If you’re renovating or expanding your home, installing a new roof can ensure that all parts of your home are equally protected and aesthetically consistent.


The lifespan of an asphalt shingle roof typically ranges from 15 to 30 years, depending on the quality of materials, installation, climate conditions, and maintenance practices.

Asphalt shingles are versatile and can be used in most climates. However, they perform best in temperate climates. In areas with extreme temperature fluctuations, special consideration must be given to material selection and installation methods to mitigate potential damage.

The cost of an asphalt shingle roof can vary widely based on factors such as the type of shingles, the size of the roof, and regional labor costs. On average, homeowners might expect to pay between $5,000 and $10,000 for a typical installation.

To extend the life of an asphalt shingle roof, regular maintenance should include:

  • Inspecting and cleaning gutters and downspouts to prevent water buildup.
  • Removing debris from the roof surface.
  • Checking for damaged or missing shingles and replacing them.
  • Inspecting for signs of algae or moss and treating appropriately to prevent damage.

Yes, one of the advantages of asphalt shingle roofs is their ease of repair. Damaged or worn shingles can be replaced individually without the need to address the entire roof, making it a cost-effective solution for many homeowners.

Traditional asphalt shingles are petroleum-based products and are not generally considered environmentally friendly. However, recycling programs are available in many areas, which can help mitigate the environmental impact by reducing landfill waste. Additionally, newer “cool roof” asphalt shingles are designed to reflect more sunlight and absorb less heat, improving energy efficiency.

Asphalt shingles themselves do not provide significant insulation. However, the overall insulation efficiency of a roof can be enhanced with proper attic insulation and ventilation as part of the roofing system.

Warranties for asphalt shingle roofs vary by manufacturer but typically range from 15 to 30 years. It’s important to read and understand the warranty details as they cover aspects like materials defects and, in some cases, labor for repairs.

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