Asphalt Shingle Thickness – Does It Matter?

When hiring asphalt roofers to install a new shingle roof, homeowners may be interested in luxury dimensional or architectural shingles, premium wind-resistant shingles, or other types of high-performance products.

Although it seems as though a shingle is a shingle and any shingle should be installable on any roof, this is not always the case.

Shingle thickness matters, especially when asphalt roofer services are installing a premium product.

In these instances, shingle performance must be balanced with shingle thickness, which is determined by other critical factors.

Why Does It Matter?

The shingles applied by asphalt roofer contractors perform better and look more appealing when they are thicker.

While standard 3-tab shingles lie fairly flat on a roof, dimensional and architectural shingles have an attractive shape and profile, looks that are gained by creating a thicker, molded shingle.

Similarly, high-rated wind-proof and impact-proof shingles are also thicker, so they are not so easily blown off a roof or damaged by hail.

Thicker shingles are heavier and therefore cannot be installed by asphalt roofers on every rooftop.

How Does Shingle Thickness Affect The Installation?

As already mentioned, thicker shingles are heavier, but that is not the only concern.

To install thicker shingles, asphalt roofer services must first calculate the per-square weight of the total roofing installation, then determine whether the support structures can safely support it all.

That gets calculated by determining the following:

  • Rafter Thickness - Rafter board sizes usually range from 2x4” to 2x12”. The thicker the rafters are, the larger the load, and the thicker the shingles they can safely support. 
  • Decking Thickness - Decking strength and weight must also be calculated. The thicker the decking is, the thicker the shingles can be supported; however, thicker decking adds more load onto the rafters according to asphalt roofers.

Ultimately, asphalt roofer contractors must accurately calculate the weight limit that a roof is capable of safely supporting based on rafter size and decking thickness, then limit shingle varieties to those that come in under that amount.

In some cases where thinner rafters were used in the construction of the top of the house, thicker asphalt shingles like some dimensional or performance shingles may be too heavy.

If installing thicker, premium shingles such as wind-resistant roofing in hurricane-prone locations is a priority, asphalt roofer services may need to add structural support to the roof to make that possible. 

Seek The Advice of Experienced Asphalt Roofers!

Always work with an asphalt roofer contractor who knows about shingle thickness and how it relates to the structural soundness of shingle roofs!