Note: This is cleaning/treatment/restoration only. We do not offer roof repair services.
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Exploring Basics of Asphalt Shingle Roofing: Types of Asphalt Roofing Shingles

what is a asphalt roof


Roofing plays a pivotal role in safeguarding a home. With the plethora of roofing materials available today, homeowners are often overwhelmed with choices. One of the most popular and enduring choices is the asphalt roof. Let’s explore this type of roofing material in detail.

Basics of Asphalt Roof Shingle

Asphalt Shingle Roof: The asphalt shingle is at the heart of asphalt roofing. This is essentially a type of roof covering made up of a base material coated with asphalt. The base could be made from various materials, including asphalt shingles made from glass fiber.

Composition: An asphalt shingle is not made of asphalt alone. The primary component is either an organic felt or a glass-fiber mat, heavily coated with asphalt and surfaced with weather-resistant mineral granules.

Longevity: With proper maintenance, the life of your asphalt shingle can extend up to 20-30 years, depending on the quality and type of asphalt roofing shingles used.

Types of Asphalt Shingles

There are primarily three types of asphalt roofing shingles:

  1. Strip Shingles are the original and most basic type of asphalt shingle, often used for homes that want a more traditional look.
  2. Dimensional Shingles: A very popular choice, these shingles are multi-layered, offering a richer, more upscale appearance.
  3. Luxury Shingles: As the name suggests, these are top-tier, offering maximum durability, higher aesthetic appeal, and mimicking the look of more expensive roofing materials.

Asphalt Shingle Roof: Why Choose It?

Diverse Range: With a vast array of asphalt shingle types, homeowners can select the one that perfectly complements the aesthetics of their homes.

Cost-Effective: One of the main advantages of a new asphalt roof is its cost-effectiveness. The cost of asphalt shingles is often lower than many other roofing materials, making it accessible for many homeowners.

Durability: Asphalt shingles are designed to withstand extreme weather conditions, making them a durable roofing material. Properly installed by a professional roofing contractor, they can last for decades.

Versatility: Roofing manufacturers produce asphalt shingles in various colors and styles, allowing homeowners to customize their home’s appearance.

Pros and Cons of Asphalt Shingles


  • Economical: As mentioned, the cost of asphalt shingles is comparatively lower than many other roofing options.
  • Ease of Installation: A professional roofing contractor can usually complete an asphalt shingle roof in a shorter time frame than many other types of roofs.
  • Maintenance: Keeping up with minor repairs can extend the life of your asphalt shingle roof.


  • Environmental Concerns: Asphalt roofs are not always recyclable, unlike some eco-friendly roofing options.
  • Lifespan: While durable, asphalt roofs might not last as long as tile or metal roofing.

Asphalt Shingles vs Concrete Tiles

While asphalt shingles and concrete tiles are both popular choices, they serve different needs:

  • Weight: Asphalt shingles are lighter than concrete tiles, which might require additional structural support.
  • Aesthetics: While asphalt shingles offer versatility in design, concrete tiles give homes a distinct Mediterranean or Spanish look.
  • Price: Installing concrete tiles is generally more expensive than asphalt shingles.

Final Thoughts: Is Asphalt Roofing the Right Choice for You?

When considering a new roof, weighing the benefits of asphalt against its drawbacks and comparing it with other roofing materials is essential. An asphalt shingle roof offers durability, versatility in design, and cost-effectiveness, but it’s crucial to ensure that asphalt shingles are the right choice for your specific needs and environment.

Before making a final decision, consult a contractor familiar with various roofing systems. They can provide insight into the best roof system for your home, ensuring your investment stands strong for years.

Cedar Shake Roof Cleaning in Des Moines Iowa
Cedar Shake Roof before & after cleaning

Meet Bruce

50 Years of Experience &
Over 2,000 Shake Roofs Cleaned

Bruce Sullivan has over 50 years of experience in maintaining, cleaning, and restoring cedar shake roofs. Making him one of the top authorities on cedar shake roofs in the US.

Watch the Cedar Shakes Cleaning Process in Action in this video

Play Video about Roof Cleaning How to Remove Moss, Lichen, Fungi from a Cedar Roof Sullivan Roof


What can I say? Bruce and Keith provided an exceptional service, and they are really nice guys too. Found out at the last minute they were in Minneapolis, and they fit me in for a cedar shake roof cleaning the next evening after their regular job was done. Even cleaned up my gutters, small fence, and small deck at no charge. The place looks outstanding! Highly recommended.

Mike Richards

I highly recommend this business. Due to the work performed we are going to get another 10-14 years out of our cedar shake roof. We were told by some roofing companies that the roof should be replaced in 2 years. I lucked out and found Sullivan Roof Cleaning while researching companies that perform this service, and was pleased to learn that the company does work outside of Iowa. If you need your cedar shakes cleaned, go with Sullivan Roof Cleaning.

Eric Oelrich, 
St Cloud, MN

Bruce did a great job cleaning the whole exterior of my house. The roof has new life! It looks practically brand new. All the mold and moss on the roof, on the gutters, under the eaves, completely gone. He exceeded all our expectations. When he tells you what he can do for your house, you can believe and trust him. Great guy, great service.

Stuart Malone
Kansas City, MO


Cedar shakes are organic. Though a resilient material. Being organic they need to be maintained. Over time, like any organic material that are subjected to weather elements, they reach a stage of deterioration. Like UV exposure, moisture and seasonal changes. Which results in moss, mold, mildew, lichen and brown rot fungi. These infestations need to be removed to further preserve the integrity of the cedar shake.
The proper way to clean a cedar shake roof is from a ladder. By spraying a special formulated solution onto the shakes and then rinsed with a garden hose pressure. Best done by a professional cedar shake roof cleaner. Not DIY recommended.
No. Pressure washer will require walking on the shakes, which will harm them, and even at its lowest setting will also damage the shakes.
On average, cedar shakes should be cleaned every 10 ten years. Subjective to the grade of the shakes and the amount of surrounding tree cover.
Avoiding walking on a cedar shake roof, other than for repairs.
Never seal a cedar shake roof. Cedar shakes need to breathe. They expand and contract in rain conditions. Seal will shorten the lifespan, to the point of premature replacement.
Staining has no real preserve value and can also harm the integrity of shakes, as stated, they need to be able to breathe. Also, if the shakes are not properly cleaned staining can seal the deteriorating infestation within the shakes.
Depending on the grade of the shakes and installation, and if maintained properly, 40 to 60 years.


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