Putting roof shingles to the test

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- It's not the most glamorous renovation, but if your house's roof is 20 years or older, you might need a new one.

Are the shingles cracked or curled and blowing off in the wind-or worse, is your roof leaking? A new one can cost thousands, but it may be a necessary expense before more damage is done. The experts at Consumer Reports just put asphalt roofing shingles through some serious strength and endurance tests to find the best ones.

Consumer Reports tested three-tab shingles, which are the kind most people go with. Also included in the tests were architectural shingles, which offer a little bit more layering and more material at a slightly higher cost, and multilayered architectural shingles, which offer significantly more material and a much more layered look, but at a significantly higher cost.

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CR performs a variety of tests to evaluate the strength of a shingle. An Instron machine helps testers assess whether a roofing material's adhesive will stick or separate when strong winds hit. It's also used to see how much force it takes for a nail to rip through a shingle. And a weathering machine hits samples of the shingles with 500 hours of simulated sunlight and rain.

The pricier, multilayered architectural shingles came out on top for performance. CR recommends the Owens Corning Berkshire Collection for $225 per square, which is enough material to cover 100 square feet. But that doesn't mean you need to spend that much.

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The Atlas StormMaster Slate three-tab shingles performed well in CRs tests and cost less, $135 per square. For even less, consider the Tamko Heritage architectural shingle, which costs about $71 per square.

CR says while buying a good-performing shingle is important, so is hiring a reputable contractor to make sure the shingles are installed correctly.

CR also says it's important to check the fine print on the warranty for your roofing. For example, some manufacturers provide reimbursement only for the depreciated value of the shingles themselves. The best warranties cover full replacement costs for new shingles and even labor. To determine whether you need a new roof, check out our video online.

All Consumer Reports material Copyright 2019 Consumer Reports, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Consumer Reports is a not-for-profit organization which accepts no advertising. It has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site. For more information visit ConsumerReports.org.

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