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What's in a Roof?: Composite Shingle System


Last week I outlined the components of a Composite Shingle Roof System and their basic functions. Each component comes in several brands and some in different styles from the same brand. Several manufacturers of shingles also carry their own accessories such as GAF and Certainteed. If you are looking to get maximum warranty coverage for your roof, you need to be sure that your installer is qualified to offer extended warranties and that they will use the correct materials. Many accessories are available in a “generic” product which is somewhat cheaper but will not qualify for most extended warranties.


Deck protection:

  • 15# felt is ypically used on slopes of 4/12 – 6/12. This is more breathable than 30# felt so it helps keep moisture from damaging shingles
  • 30# felt is less breathable but more durable than 15# felt. This extra durability is needed when working on slopes of 7/12 and steeper.
  • Branded products are GAF Shinglemate, Certainteed Roofer’s Select.
  • Generic product is CMI.

Leak barrier:

  • Leak barrier, also known as “ice and water” is used to waterproof valleys or other areas where water may pool and increase the risk of leaks.
  • Branded products are GAF Stormguard, Certainteed Winterguard.
  • Generic product is Tarco.

Starter Strip:

  • Starter shingles are designed to work with the different products of their brand to create a strong adhesion along the first two rows of shingles. This helps resist wind uplift around the edges where the roof is more vulnerable.
  • Only available with shingle brands such as GAF Prostart or Certainteed Sure Start.


  • Most brands have done away with 30 year, 40 year, and 50 year dimensional shingles, and gone to lifetime shingles.
  • There is still a cheap option of 3-tab shingles which are the lowest quality because of their construction and typically carry a shorter, limited warranty.
  • In some major brands such as GAF and Certainteed, your roofer must take product education and installation courses from the company and pass their certification program to offer extended warranties. Even if you do not want an extended warranty, certification offers the peace of mind that your roofer really knows the product and how to install it properly.
  • Many brands have visualizers on their websites to help you choose the right product for your home.


  • Adequate ventilation is critical to keeping down energy bills and keeping moisture from damaging your shingles. Attics without ventilation trap heat and moisture which can cause air conditioners to run more and moisture to condense under the shingles.
  • Ridge vent such as Cobra Ridge Vent III from GAF is a good option for most any home, especially larger homes.
  • Static vents such as Air-Hawks can provide ventilation for smaller buildings but does not provide as much as ridge vent.

Hip & ridge:

  • Hip and ridge shingles are specially designed to accent dimensional shingles and provide added protection to hip and ridge areas which are vulnerable to wind-uplift.
  • Branded products are GAF Z-Ridge, and Certainteed ShadowRidge.
  • Some contractors use 3-tab shingles on hips and ridges, while this option is cheaper it is not as resistant to wind uplift and will typically not qualify for deluxe extended warranties.

Lone-Star Roof Systems would be happy to give you a free estimate and work with you to choose the roof system that is right for you. Call 800-317-1939, or request a quote online today.


Contact Lone-Star Roof Systems, LLC. at one of our 3 offices today!

Mailing Address for All Offices
1511 South Texas Avenue, #172
College Station, TX 77840

College Station Office
722 Peach Creek Cut Off, Ste. 100
College Station, TX 77845

Dallas Office
5040 Grisham Dr., Suite 103
Rowlett, TX 75088

Houston Office
15219 Stuebner Airline, #12
Houston, TX 77069


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