Posted on Monday, April 15th, 2024 at 9:00 am    

A Guide to Rolled Roofing vs Shingles in Austin Properties

Are you planning to install new roofing materials on a property in Austin, TX? Roll roofing (or “rolled roofing”) is a sometimes-overlooked option you might want to consider, especially when compared to other roofing materials in the roll roofing vs shingles debate.

Perhaps you’re debating between roll roofing and asphalt shingles, each offering several benefits. Learning about their differences can help you better determine what right roofing system might be ideal for your needs, considering the popular choice of other materials available on the market.

What Is Rolled Roofing?

Roll roofing, unlike shingles, is made of an oil-based asphalt product. This rolled roofing material, often reinforced with saturated felt and a fiberglass mat, can be purchased at most large home improvement stores. MSR roofing is a type of roll roofing known for its ease of installation. It is a popular choice due to its advantages, such as cost efficiency and simple setup.

As the name implies, asphalt roll roofing comes in long strips that contractors can cut into various sizes depending on the space. The installation process usually involves these steps:

  • Cleaning and drying the area to prep for installation
  • Applying a synthetic underlayment that will go beneath the roll roofing to add extra protection and absorption
  • Measuring and cutting the necessary pieces of roofing materials
  • Applying roofing cement to the surface of the roof
  • Unrolling the roofing materials onto the cement
  • Securing edges, sealing any seams, and cutting away any excess that remains

You may also have the option of adding a protective coating to roll roofing. Doing so will boost the material’s durability and may also increase your home’s energy efficiency.

Is Roll Roofing Better Than Shingles?

In the debate of rolled roofing vs asphalt shingles, it’s important to understand that no type of roofing material is universally “better” than another. Roofing materials vary in aesthetic appeal, durability, and ease of installation. Shingles provide excellent protection and have a significant resale value because of their aesthetic appeal and ability to withstand harsh weather conditions, including high winds and heavy rain.

Factors to consider when choosing between roll roofing and shingles include:

  • Roof slope—Roll roofing is typically best for low-slope and mild-slope roofs. It might not be the ideal option if your roof’s slope is fairly steep.
  • Cost – Roll roofing is less expensive because it’s lightweight and requires fewer materials to cover the same area, typically measured per square foot.
  • Lifespan – While roll roofing is durable, it has a limited lifespan compared to asphalt shingles, which can last up to 30 years with regular maintenance.
  • Aesthetics – Your roof plays a major role in your home’s curb appeal. Aesthetic options in shingle roofing, such as three-tab shingles and architectural shingles, offer more variety than roll roofing.
  • Property type – Asphalt shingle roofs are prevalent among Austin houses, offering flexibility and variety allowing homeowners to select the best fit for their aesthetic and functional needs. However, your property might not be a residential one. You may consider metal roofing or roll roofing for the roof of a commercial building, especially suitable for unoccupied structures.
  • Upkeep needs – Maintenance for asphalt shingle roofs isn’t particularly difficult but does require regular maintenance. Asphalt shingle roofs may need more upkeep than roll roofing, especially in areas that experience severe weather conditions. Regular roof repairs and inspections are crucial to ensure that shingles continue to offer optimal protection and maintain their aesthetic value. Conversely, while roll roofing may require fewer roof repairs over its lifespan, its overall durability and resistance to environmental factors aren’t as robust, necessitating earlier replacement or maintenance.
  • Speed – There are various reasons you might need to install a roof quickly. For example, if you’re preparing a commercial property and have a firm opening date, roll roofing can be properly installed more quickly than asphalt shingles.

Discuss your goals and budget thoroughly when speaking with a roofing contractor about your options. There’s no one type of roofing material that’s ideal for everyone.

How Long Does Roll Roofing Last?

There’s no consensus on the lifespan of roll roofing, largely due to the varieties of this roofing material available on the market. Many forms of roll roofing are designed for shorter lifespan applications, typically lasting eight to 10 years. Some specialized types, influenced by their unique manufacturing process, may last up to 15 to 20 years, although such longevity is rare. This type of roofing is manufactured to be easy to install and durable enough to withstand moderate environmental conditions. These qualities make it an appealing choice for most homeowners seeking a cost-effective solution.

However, roll roofing offers a shorter duration of effectiveness compared to other roofing materials. Specifically, asphalt shingles are composed of individual shingles designed to overlap, enhancing their durability. With proper maintenance, an asphalt shingle roof can remain in good condition for 15 to 30 years. This makes it a more sustainable investment for residential properties, particularly when considering options for re-roofing. Such durability and longevity showcase why understanding different roofing types is crucial for homeowners aiming to make informed decisions about their roofing needs.

The Influence of Austin Weather on Your Choice of Roof Design

Austin’s unique climate is a factor to keep in mind when choosing between roll roofing and shingles. Austin’s summers can get quite hot, whereas its winters tend to be mild. Depending on the season, Austin can also see fairly heavy rainfall at times.

Consider the following points when assessing how Austin’s climate may affect your choice of roofing material:

  • Shingles stand up to hail and other forms of harsh weather more reliably than roll roofing
  • Roll roofing may crack from sunlight and rain more easily than shingles
  • Shingles offer greater wind resistance than roll roofing

This does not mean that roll roofing is never the right choice for a property. It’s a budget-friendly option that can remain in good condition for several years with proper upkeep. However, shingles will usually fare better in Austin’s climate.

Can You Put Rolled Roofing Over Shingles?

austin texas property with shingles installed on roof

Yes, it is possible to install roll roofing over existing roofing materials without removing the existing roof, which can add considerable value to your roofing project by saving both time and resources. However, experts typically recommend this installation method only for flat roofs or low-sloped roofs that can support the additional layer’s structural integrity. Roll roofing, including mod bit (modified bitumen) systems, can be an excellent option for enhancing an older roof’s waterproofing and durability. This choice offers the benefits without the high costs associated with a full roof replacement.

Despite its easy-to-install nature, it’s vital to ensure material compatibility between the roll roofing and the underlying shingles. Careful consideration of the weight, texture, and method of application will determine the success of the installation. Experienced roofing contractors can add a new protective layer by installing roll roofing over shingles, which helps extend the material’s life and improves the property’s overall aesthetic appeal.

Contact an Austin Roofing Contractor

At, we understand that no two roofing projects are exactly alike. That’s why we work closely with our roofing contractors to understand their goals. If you’re having trouble choosing between roll roofing and shingles, we can help you decide which is best for you.

We can also offer reliable service that has earned us a reputation as a top roofing contractor in Austin, TX. Learn more about what we can do for you by contacting us online today.

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Last Updated: 04-29-2024
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