As a residential homeowner, you will need to calculate the weight of shingles when repairing or replacing your roof. This might happen as part of a tear-off project, such as when you are replacing shingles that have been damaged by a storm.
As part of this repair or replacement project, the weight of the shingles matters because you will need to deposit your old materials somewhere for eventual removal.
Often, that means choosing a dumpster or trash removal service that offers the appropriate weight allowance. If you under-calculate the amount you are removing, you could be hit with costly overage charges (as high as $100 per extra ton).
On the other hand, if you over-calculate the amount, then you are essentially paying for extra dumpster space that you don’t need.
Before you buy
Within the construction industry, there are several important terms to recognize and understand.
For example, a very important term is the roofing square. This is equivalent to 100 square feet.
When talking about shingles, most roofing contractors will use this term, and not square feet. Thus, if the top of your home measures 600 square feet, then this is equivalent to 6 roofing squares.
You will need to be familiar with this terminology in order to figure out how much your roofing materials will weigh. This is because roofing shingles are not sold by the square; instead, you buy them by the bundle.
And, as a general rule of thumb, an average bundle is enough to cover 1/3rd of a square.
The thicker and more durable they are, the smaller the coverage area. For example, a set of premium, extra-thick asphalt shingles might cover significantly less than that. You can see immediately that this will drive up both the cost of your home improvement project.
Thus, some trade publications or sales brochures will publish information, but they will do so in terms of squares, and not on a square foot basis.
You will need to reverse-engineer the math to figure out amounts and sizes. If heavier materials will only cover one-third of a certain area, for example, you will need to divide by a factor of 3.
If they will only cover 1/4th, you will need to divide by a factor of 4. For example, if you are told that a certain type comes in at 320 pounds, you can reverse-engineer that total to determine that these will come in at about 80 pounds.
Factor #1: Type
It is important to note that not all shingles are created the same. Yes, all shingles come packaged in bundles that are designed to be light enough to carry, but the amount of shingles can vary significantly based on the type inside.
As a general rule of thumb, shingles come in about 50 to 80 pounds. The most common 3-tab shingles come in about 50 to 65 pounds, which is at the lower end of the range. More expensive architectural shingles come in about 65 to 80 pounds, which is at the higher end of the range. In between, you can find cedar shingles, which can range anywhere from 40 to 80 pounds. (The exact amount of these can vary depending on if they are dry or not.)
Factor #2: Quality
Another factor to keep in mind is not just the type of shingle (e.g. asphalt or cedar), but also the quality. In a home improvement store, you might see that one type comes with a 20-year warranty while another comes with a 30-year warranty.
Almost always without exception, the longer the warranty, the heavier and more durable is the shingle, and thus, the materials are heavier too.
So, how much does a bundle of shingles weigh?
Let’s say that you are finally ready to buy some new shingles and are trying to figure out the details for transporting them between the home improvement store and your home.
Is there a certain amount you should buy? And will they all fit in your truck or van? Remember, you will need to carry them on foot from the truck to your home.
You will first need to calculate the area on top of your home. Once you have that figure, you will need to decide whether you want regular three-tab asphalt materials, or whether you want to go premium.
For regular shingles, simply multiply the number of roofing squares by a factor of 3. Assuming, your roof is 6 squares in size, this means you will need 18. Most home improvement contractors use the following as a guideline:
1 square of shingles weight is: 150 to 240 pounds (68.03 to 108.8 KG)
1 bundle of shingles weight is: 50 to 80 pounds (22.67 to 36.28 KG)
Using these figures, you can determine whether everything will fit in a single heavy load, or if you will need to make multiple trips:
(Weight of 1 bundle) x (total bundles) x (# of shingle layers) = estimated weight
Moreover, you now have a very handy, convenient figure for knowing the size of the dumpster that you will need for removal purposes.
You can do a quick, back-of-the-envelope calculation here: the amount of the asphalt materials coming off the roof will be almost exactly equivalent to the amount of the asphalt materials going onto it (unless the top of your home has been severely damaged, of course).
As we have seen above, shingle weight can vary significantly, depending on factors such as type, size, and quality.
In general, asphalt shingles will weigh about 50 to 65 pounds, but that total might be higher if they are premium asphalt or architectural shingles, and not just regular three-tab shingles.
The cost of a home repair project can increase dramatically based on the overall size of your roof, and the quality of the shingles that you are using. By taking a few key factors into account, you can start and complete your home renovation project in a shorter period of time than you ever expected.