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(800) 994-3194

Mid-tier vs. Upper-tier Shingles

Have you ever had a roofing salesman in your home start discussing “designer” or “luxury” shingles for your new roof and wondered what in the world they were talking about? Read on to find out!

 In roofing, there are usually three tiers of shingles that can be used on almost any roof. The lowest tier or “budget” choice is usually called three-tab shingles. Most roofers would like to sell you a better shingle than this minimum-requirement shingle. This shingle isn’t bad; it is just not as well-warrantied as other shingles. Most manufacturers offer a much shorter-term warranty for this type of shingle. But this is not the type of shingle I want to discuss today.

Today I want to give you an inside look at the other two tiers of shingles offered by most manufacturers. The mid- and upper-tier shingles can be a little confusing to try to differentiate for the average homeowner, so I thought I would “simple it up” a little for you, our fans.

Mid-tier shingles often have a common brand name, like GAF’s Timberline series, or CertainTeed’s Landmark varieties. These shingles usually look like a standard shingle roof when applied. The application is usually such that any one spot on the roof is covered by three layers of shingle material. This does not mean that three shingles are stacked, but that they are layered so that the whole roof has three-layer protection. They come with a lifetime limited warranty and a mid-tier price tag. In brochures they are often listed before the upper-tier shingles because they are the most commonly sold roof-systems in America. This is the roof for a homeowner who needs a high-quality roof without paying an arm-and-a-leg price. It is a good choice and so many of these roofs are sold.

Upper-tier shingles are a little more difficult to understand. At first glance, it seems this roof is more expensive just because of the way it looks – different from a run-of-the-mill shingle roof. Often these shingles are fashioned to look like other materials such as tile or slate. Sometimes only the shape of the shingle looks different. But there is more to these “designer” shingles than meets the eye. They are often thicker, or applied in more layers than the mid-tier shingles, giving them more resistance to certain elements like hail and wind. This is not to be confused with class IV impact resistant shingles, which can grant you a discount on your homeowner’s insurance. Both types of shingles can come equipped with that higher level of protection. However, the upper-tier shingles have a little more strength, just because they are usually a heavier, thicker shingle with more stacked layers than a mid-tier system. This is also what can make them more expensive – different profiles require more material and more machining of that material than a mid-tier shingle. To make shingle look like wood-shakes for example, several layers of material are applied in a certain way to achieve a look that can pass, to the naked eye, as wood shakes. To achieve the cement/clay tile appearance, different colors of granules have to be applied to different areas of the shingles as well as other things. This type of shingle also requires specialized knowledge for application, so the labor is more expensive. When the roof is complete, you will have a home with a very attractive and often stylized roof that can improve resale value of your home as well as the appearance. Upper-tier shingles are always a value-added option, and it is not all about looks.

Choosing a shingle is a personal process for each homeowner, and at Lone-Star Roof Systems we respect that. Whether we are proposing a roof in Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, Bryan/College Station, or even Austin (as we occasionally do), we always strive to offer several options to choose from. Much of this information is presented any time we sell a roof because we understand that the final decision is up to you! We are certified as GAF Master Elite and CertainTeed Master Shingle Applicator so that we can provide a quality product with quality installation and professional service by expert roofers. We are “Texas’ Premier Roofers” and you can count on us to stand by our work for years to come.

Remember, contact Lone-Star Roof Systems for all your roofing needs!



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1511 South Texas Avenue, #172

College Station, TX 77840


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722 Peach Creek Cut Off, Ste. 100

College Station, TX 77845


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5040 Grisham Dr., Suite 103

Rowlett, TX 75088


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15219 Stuebner Airline

Houston, TX 77069

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