In the residential roofing market the most popular product is the fiberglass laminate shingle. This laminate or architectural shingle has been around in some form or another since the 1960’s. The design and composition of the shingles has changed over time and the consistency of shingle quality has certainly improved over the last 20 years for sure. A shingle is essentially composed of three components: a fiberglass mat or scrim that forms the base of the shingle giving it its size,shape and strength; waterproofing asphalt saturating and/or coating this fiberglass base and ceramic granules that protect the asphalt and give the shingle its colour.
Today in Kevin’s Roof Product Reviews I would like to discuss the Owens Corning offering to this class of roofing products. Owens Corning is well known when it comes to their fiberglass insulation products. ” Do it right,think pink” comes to mind. But did you know that pink wrapper also cases my favorite basic fiberglass laminate shingle? In my opinion it is the best bang for the buck on the market today. I have been installing residential and commercial shingle roof systems for almost 30 years and I have installed a lot of products in that time.
So why are the Owens Corning Duration the best for the buck in their class of shingle?
- A Triple Layer At The Common Bond Area
Most importantly it is the triple layer of strength created by a woven fabric layer over the common bond area where all fiberglass laminate shingles must be fastened.This fabric layer not only strengthens the common bond area but ensures weather tight nailing. The average fiberglass laminate shingle does not provide this protection. When shingles are installed, most often the roofer will be using a nail gun. Depending on the weather conditions and the expertise of the installer quite often fasteners will be improperly driven into the shingle.When the weather is warm and the shingles are soft,nails can be blown right throw the shingle. When the weather is cold and the shingles are brittle,nails can be blown right through. When this happens the shingle is not 100% fastened and it is prone to blow off under windy conditions. It can also slip or slide out of position creating a water proofing issue that could lead to a roof leak. The woven fiber strip of the Owens Corning Duration shingle ensures that under these types of conditions the fasteners will not blow right through the shingle.
2. Lays Flat
Another nice feature of the Owens Corning Duration shingle is they lay flat right out of the bundle. Unlike the Malarkey products for example which come out of the package lumpy as all heck and require plenty of warm weather to lay flat. The Duration shingle lays flat year round even in the winter time. This is important for a couple reasons.When the shingle lays flat on the roof deck it will seal to adjacent shingles more quickly providing better wind resistance from day one. It also allows for better fastening. When the shingles sit all lumpy and “fish mouthed” as they typically do when it is colder it is far more likely nails will shoot right through the shingle resulting in improper fastening. Improper fastening will lead to shingle blow off under windy conditions as well as potential leaks. There is also the cosmetic appeal to a new roof when the shingles lay flat. I don’t like looking up at roof I’ve just installed and seeing those fish mouths everywhere. This is another why I tend away from the Malarkey products as well and stand behind the Owens Corning Products.
3. Good Tear Strength
Tear strength is an important feature in the handling of the shingles during installation. When you remove shingles from the bundles as you lay them you certainly don’t want them falling apart in your hands. I have found most fiberglass laminate shingles are good in this regard but stay away from the BP Mystique shingles. I only install these if absolutely necessary because they are such a terrible product to work with. This is a subject for another review but rest assured tear strength is an important feature where the installation of the shingle is concerned.
For instance, when working around roof protrusions such as vents,skylights,chimneys and the like where it is necessary to put stress on the shingle while cutting it you want to be able to make these cuts without having the shingle rip or tear from this stress. These inconveniences particularly affect ease of application and you also have to be aware the integrity of the shingle isn’t comprimised in these critical areas.
Another critical reason tear strength of the roof shingle matters is steep slope installation. The steeper the slope the greater the force of gravity pulling the shingles down the roof face. If the tear strength of the shingle isn’t high enough then over time the shingle will pull away from the fasteners leading to unsightly shingle slippage,shingle blow offs and roof leaks. The Duration shingle performs well in these areas and I recommend on this quality as well.
4. Granule Retention
The Granule retention of an asphalt fiberglass shingle is important for two primary reasons. Functionally the granule protects the water proofing asphalt in the composition for UV rays that will break it down. If the shingle doesn’t hold those granules in place and the asphalt becomes exposed the shingle will degrade. The shingle degrades losing more granules leading to more UV degradation and so on and so on.
Granule retention also make for easier installation as you’re not so worried about every step you take scuffing them off the shingle as you’re working. It’s also safer as you’re not slipping and sliding as much on loose granules
Cosmetically the granules give the shingles their color. When the granule loss begins to occur the shingles discolors and becomes less attractive and representative of its initial blend.
5. An Effective Self Seal
Most if not all of these composite shingles today have what is called a “Self Seal”feature. This is a heat activated strip of sealant applied in the factory to either the bottom leading edge of the shingle or on top of the shingles at the exposure line. I personally prefer the self seal on the underside of the leading edge of the shingle as it allows for cleaner fastening insofar as you don’t have to drag the tip of your gun through the self seal gumming it up. Its also just cleaner to work with while moving on the roof and standing on the shingles.
These self seals are there to increase the wind resistance of the shingle. If the bottom edge of the shingle is loose flapping in the wind the shingle will eventually fatigue and snap off and/or simply blow off under windy conditions. The Owens Corning Duration shingle has the sealant where I like it under the leading edge. The sealant of these shingles actually bonds right through the woven cloth reinforcement at the common bond area proving a superior wind resistant shingle.
6. A Nice Array Of Colors
This feature may not seam that important but it won’t matter how well that shingle performs if you don’t like the look of it every time you come home to it. Thankfully these shingles come in a variety of blends that are pleasing to the eye and should match with whatever your exterior design ideas are. These shingle use a typical “3 step drop” as most shingle manufacturers do to create the illusion of depth and texture. I find the subtleties of the Owens Corning shingle color blends to be a nice change of pace from say the Malarkey blend which tend to be a bit dramatic and blotchy in appearance.
After having installed asphalt composite shingles on Residential and Commercial roofs for 30 years I conclude that the Owens Corning Duration fiberglass laminate shingle is the best value for the money. From its triple layer protection at the common bond area,superior wind resistance to its ease of application it is always my first choice. Laying flat right out of the bundle and coming in a pleasing palette for the discerning designer these shingle will provide decades of good performance while looking good doing it. No wonder they come with a fully transferable,lifetime warranty.
Please leave a comment if you have any questions regarding the Owens Corning Duration Shingle or any other fiberglass laminate shingle.
If you need an estimate on a roof project or are curious about this product then contact the Canadian Roofsmith here.