Across Atlanta, you can see roofs covered in asphalt shingles—from the historic homes in Candler Park to the recently renovated homes in the West End. There are even million-dollar homes situated blocks from Piedmont Park that use asphalt shingles to cover their roofs.

Asphalt shingles are a popular choice for residential homes both in the Atlanta area and across the nation. It’s estimated that at least 80 percent of homeowners have asphalt shingle roofs.

Types of Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles have become the leading roofing material in America because they’re easy to produce, distribute, and install. They come in two varieties: fiberglass and organic. In comparison to organic shingles, fiberglass is lighter in weight and more environmentally friendly, economical, and fire resistant.

Organic shingles tend to last longer and stand up against colder climates better than fiberglass shingles. However, organic shingles are prone to warping and are harder to install because the material is heavier.

Both organic and fiberglass shingles are available in three different styles:

3-tab asphalt shingles architectural-asphalt-shingles premium-asphalt-shingles
 3-Tab shingles  Architectural shingles  Premium shingles

A 3-tab shingle is the basic and most economical choice, while architectural shingles offer more style due to their three-dimensional design. Premium shingles have a unique appearance that sets them apart from architectural shingles and helps to elevate your curb appeal.

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Asphalt Shingles and Atlanta Weather

With highs in the 90s and 100s and incredibly humid days, summers in Atlanta can be quite intolerable at times. Warm temperatures—highs starting in the 70s—usually start in April and don’t cease until October. During the remaining five months of the year, the weather can seem mild in comparison.

Occasionally, Atlanta receives harsh weather, such as heavy storms with high winds, hail, and snow, but winters are nowhere near as severe as what homeowners experience in the northeast.

Asphalt shingles and summer

While Atlanta homeowners won’t have to worry so much about hail or wind damage, the summer’s heat and humidity can become a problem. For one, high temperatures can decrease the lifespan of your roof. Asphalt shingles last 15 to 20 years on average.

Extreme summer temperatures can cause warping and cracking. Once shingles have started to warp or crack, your home would be exposed to moisture, which could jeopardize the entire structure of your roof and result in expensive repairs.

To avoid this, it’s important to be diligent about checking your roof for any damaged shingles, especially in the hotter months. As soon as you notice a damaged shingle, contact a reputable roofing company to repair it.

In the end, a prompt response to missing or damaged shingles will save you a lot of money and headache.

Asphalt shingles and heavy rain

While Atlanta isn’t considered a particularly wet city, there are occasions when the city receives heavy rains. Asphalt shingles can stand up to rain, but heavy rains, especially prolonged periods of rain, can start to wreak havoc on your asphalt roof.

Heavy rains can compromise the integrity of the shingle and cause it to deteriorate. Similar to damage cause by high summer temperatures, deteriorated shingles can allow moisture to seep underneath the sheathing, causing the flashing to rust and mold and mildew to grow.

If you notice any damage to your roof after you’ve inspected it, be sure to contact a reputable roofer to help you fix the issue. Or, if you are up for the challenge, there are some fixes to your asphalt roof you can DIY.

Asphalt Roof Maintenance Tips

old mossy asphalt roof

To get the most out of your asphalt roof, regular maintenance is key. Below are some basic steps to help you maintain the health of your shingles:

Inspect

Besides checking on your roof during the summer and after heavy rain, it’s important to do a visual inspection of your roof at least twice a year. This will help keep your roof healthy and prevent leaks.

First, you will want to do an interior inspection. Check the underside of your roof, which means you will probably have to go into the attic. Take a flashlight with you and look for any signs of damage, such as holes or leaks. Leaks are more easily spotted if you conduct an inspection after a rainfall.

When you finish the interior inspection, check the exterior of the roof. Look for the following:

  • Missing or damaged shingles (especially if you noticed issues when looking at the underside of the roof)
  • Algae or moss
  • Debris (branches, leaves, etc.)

Safety comes first! Climbing on top of your home can be dangerous, so if you’re not comfortable with ladders, don’t have the right safety equipment, or have a steep or damaged roof, contact a professional to help you perform the inspection.

Clean

If you notice any debris on your roof, clear it off. Consider cutting back any trees that hang over your home to prevent additional limbs and leaves from falling on your roof. If you have a skylight, make sure to remove any debris that has collected around it.

Algae can definitely become a problem in Atlanta since it thrives in warm, moist climates. If you discover an algae problem, you can spray the area with a 50/50 mix of water and bleach. Avoid using a pressure washer since this can cause more problems.

While on the roof, this is a good time to remove debris from the gutters. Tackle any debris in the downspouts once you’re back on the ground.

Repair

If your inspection uncovered damaged shingles, you can choose to either repair the damage yourself (if the issue seems small enough), or contact a roofing company to inspect and repair the damage for you.

Record

Keep a record of any maintenance completed on your roof—whether it’s completed by you or a professional. This will help you keep track of the age of the different parts of your roof. Professionals also recommend taking pictures of your roof during the inspection that you can use to compare year to year. It’s an easier way to measure the changes to your roof over time.

The Bottom Line

An asphalt shingle roof is a popular choice for Atlanta residents. Even though the summer months can be hard on asphalt roofs, they can be easily cared for with regular inspections and maintenance.

After heavy rains, strong storms, and prolonged high temperatures, give your roof a once-over from the ground to catch any major problems. If you’re confident with ladders and have the right safety equipment (and a good spotter to help you stay safe), getting on the roof will give you an even better view.

And if you see anything concerning, or if it’s been a while since your roof has been tended to, don’t hesitate to give the pros a call. They’ll be able to make the right recommendations to keep your asphalt roof in good shape for years to come.

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