Q&A – HOA Restrictions on Shingle Weight

Q&A HOA Restrictions
March 18, 2023 at 6:00 a.m.

With the HOA enforcing a weight minimum for roofs that seemed outdated, this Washington homeowner decided to ask the experts. 

This Washington homeowner lives within an HOA that has specific weight restrictions for roofs that seemed dated. So Kim asked: 

Do today's roofing shingles generally weigh less than ones from 20 - 30 years ago, even if they are thicker and more wind-resistant? Our HOA is holding people to a weight minimum that we believe is outdated as the only roofs that can conform, in our area at least, are 50-year roofs while the original roofs put on the houses in our neighborhood were 30-year roofs. Our assumption is technology has made better shingles today that just weigh less than those from 20+ years ago and we are hoping you can confirm that. Thank you! 

Wendy Marvin from Matrix Roofing and Home Solutions in Vancouver, Washington said: 

Hey there – thanks for asking this important question! I do agree that if your HOA guidelines were written 20+ years ago, there has been a significant decrease in the weight of shingles overall. Weight, as a general rule, does not indicate a better shingle. The most important component of shingle quality is the chemical composition that keeps the granules in place. 

Shingles are manufactured in layers. The most basic explanation is the bottom is fiberglass mat, the next few layers are tar based chemical and the last layers are tar, but installed so that the manufacturer can imbed granules into it.  The granules are honestly the best waterproofing part of a shingle. 

Also of interest.  As an association, your roofs are subject to different warranties than regular homes. Especially if the purchase is being covered by the association as most associations cover the exterior of the homes. If this is the case with your group, some manufacturers limit “multi-unit” installations to 40-year warranties. 

Remember the warranty you hear most about is just for the manufacturer coverage of the shingle itself. Often even with an approved claim, normal 30-year shingles won’t cover the removal and reinstallation of your roof.  To combat this you should also be looking for an installer who gives a form of warranty as well. That side of the coverage would be for the installation or commonly called workmanship in the industry. It’s also important to choose an installer with a good history as they will be your partner should a manufacturer warranty claim be necessary. Typically for either manufacturer or installation – warranty issues show up fairly quickly. 

Hope this helps! Please feel free to reach out to me directly. I’ve met with many Homeowner Associations over the years, and I’m happy to explain this further to your board if needed. 

Take care, Wendy 

John Kenney from Cotney Consulting Group shared: 

You are correct. With advances in the manufacturing technology of shingles, they are lighter today for a covered warranty period. For example, a shingle made in the '90s would weigh about 250 pounds per square (a square being 100 S.F.) and carry a 25-year warranty. Today, that same shingle weighs between 235-238 pounds per square and has a "limited lifetime" warranty. I am not aware of any national or local building code that restricts the weight of today's modern shingles. 

Back when shingles were made from asphalt and other heavier fillers than we have today, shingles' durability was gauged by weight. That is because additional asphalt had to be added to make them last. That is not the case today, with fiberglass as the reinforcement for asphalt. Lighter weight shingles and longer warranties are normal. 

John Stout from Go Roof Tune Up says: 
In response to your question regarding the manufacturing of roof shingles, very great advancements have been made in the manufacture of roof shingles. Decades ago, asphalt shingles were made with paper felt impregnated with asphalt. To make a higher grade, more felt and asphalt was added to the shingle. Today, shingles are manufactured with a glass mat base with modified asphalt. This produces a shingle that is far lighter in weight and more flexible. Even with a reduction in weight the shingles are superior quality. Shingles were at one time identified by the weight of the shingle, the heavier the better. 

Architectural, or laminated shingles, are built with a heavy base mat and a more refined type of asphalt than was used 30 years ago. The weight of the shingle has been reduced, and the quality has been increased. 

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