T-lock shingles – an effective, all you need to know guide!

T-lock shingles were highly sought after in their prime, especially by contractors and builders in high wind areas. But as time went on, manufacturers started making less of these roof shingles till they were gradually phased off. Why did this happen? 

Should you be worried if your house has T-lock shingles? Can they still withstand the test of time? This article answers these questions, and more you may have about t-lock shingles.


  1. What are T-lock shingles?
  2. Advantages of T-lock shingles
  3. Challenges of the T-lock shingles
  4. Insurance and T-lock shingles
  5. Can you sell a house with a T-lock roof?
  6. Should you buy a house with a T-lock roof?
  7. Can you repair T-lock shingles?
  8. Conclusion

What are T-lock shingles?

As the name implies, a T-lock shingle is shaped like the letter “T.” This shape allows the shingles to interlock like a puzzle. The interconnected system of a T-lock roof makes it less likely to be damaged by wind or storm. In fact, it was also named Thunderstorm shingle for this reason. 

T-lock shingles came into play in the 1930s and were immediately the favorite on the block, especially in cities in the US like Colorado, Denver, and places surrounding windy areas. They were constructed with high asphalt content, which made them very strong. These shingles could withstand almost anything thrown at them and were popular in roofing construction until the 1990s. 

During this period, asphalt prices began to increase, and it was no longer cost-effective for manufacturers to make T-lock shingles with a lot of asphalt. This led to a decline in quality, and as newer roofing technologies came out that replaced T-lock shingles, their production was on the decline and eventually discontinued. However, a stop in production hasn’t put a total end to T-lock shingles. You’ll still find them around in houses, and they’ve proven to withstand the test of time. 

Let’s look at the benefits of having a T-lock shingle.

Advantages of T-lock shingles

Better wind resistance

Initially, T-lock shingles were designed to solve the weak roof problem. The roof is arguably one of the most critical features of house protection. There is no protection in a house where the roof can easily break down with just one storm. The design of T-lock shingles allows them to withstand harsh weather. Come rain or sunshine, your roof will be standing firm.


T-lock shingles have gone out of production, and somehow we still find them on roofs years after they’ve been discontinued. This is because t-lock shingles are built to last for several decades.


T-lock shingles are versatile and can work with almost any roof. They have no complicated angles or shapes, just a simple T-shape that interconnects to form a solid roofing system.

Challenges of the T-lock shingles

Unfortunately, there are some disadvantages that come with T-lock shingles. Some of these issues led to the stop in production. 

Costly manufacturing

Manufacturers went heavy on asphalt with the first set of T-lock shingles in the market. But over time, asphalt became more expensive, and it was no longer possible to keep up with the production cost of quality T-lock shingles. 

Lower quality

The high asphalt content made T-lock shingles sturdy, durable, and resistant to harsh weather. But because the production process was no longer cost-effective, manufacturers started adding filler content to make up for the asphalt. This reduced the quality of the shingles, and they were no longer as strong as they used to be. 

They became brittle, thin, and sub-par. T-lock shingles could no longer live up to their name or withstand storms and strong winds.

Newer roofing technologies

Change is one thing that proves to be constant. There is always a new trend to jump on, and this applies to almost every sector. T-lock shingles were the in-thing in the 1900s. They fought a good fight during their good days and have been replaced by more sophisticated roofing technology. 

3-tab and architectural shingles became more popular in the early 2000s to the point where manufacturers no longer found it economical to keep producing T-lock shingles. 

Furthermore, there are also luxury shingles for high-end roofing needs.

Design loophole

T-lock shingles were effectively designed to withstand winds and storms, and this is why they were more prevalent in windy areas like Denver and Colorado. However, there was a loophole in the design of these roofing shingles. The whole system was designed to fit like an interlocking puzzle which was great, but this design also created air pockets that made it susceptible to hail. 

So, even though T-lock shingles could do well in places with strong wind, recurrent hail storms could damage them.

Costly repairs

We have already discussed the cost of the T-lock shingles from the manufacturer’s perspective. But how does this affect the consumer? Since T-lock shingles are no longer in the market, it becomes almost impossible to repair when damaged.

Think of it this way; if you buy a car today and the car company stops producing that model, it will be challenging to get replacement parts for repairs. And because scarcity leads to an increase in price, repairs become more expensive. This analogy goes the same way for T-lock shingles. 

It will be more expensive to repair because it is no longer on the market. In fact, you’re likely to do a total roof replacement if any part of the T-lock shingle gets run down. This can be annoying for a homeowner with these roofing shingles.

Insurance difficulty

One of the most vital steps to take as a homeowner is insurance. We all hope for good things and safe housing, but that is not always the case, which is why you will need home insurance to offer protection for losses in the event of an unforeseen circumstance. The insurance company will have to pay for repairs and damages, which is why it is often more challenging to get insurance on a house with T-lock shingles. 

The cost of repairs is expensive and usually requires a total replacement. If you eventually find an insurer to cover your house, you might pay higher premiums and deductibles. 

Selling difficulty

A house with T-lock shingles is not likely to be the favorite thing on the housing market. It might take time to close on this house because of the outdated roofing system.

Insurance and T-lock shingles

Earlier, we mentioned the problem Homeowners with T-lock shingles face with insurance companies. We’ll be analyzing this issue and delving more profoundly in this section.

How is the insurance price set?

The primary function of an insurance company is to provide coverage for your property in the event of a loss. For instance, if there are damages from a fire or your house got robbed or vandalized, your insurance company will cover it. Depending on your policy, they will also cover repairs and replacements. 

However, this comes at a cost, and you are charged a premium to keep your policy active. Several factors determine the amount you pay in premium. The company will inspect your home and determine the home’s risk potential and replacement cost. A higher risk potential and replacement cost will lead to higher rates. 

The age of the home is another factor to consider. Older homes can be more expensive to insure. Larger homes are also more expensive to rebuild and will require higher premiums. Therefore, if you own a large home with a large area, you can expect to be charged higher premiums than a smaller house.

Insuring your T-lock shingles house

So what do all these have to do with T-lock shingles? Insurance companies also inspect a home’s architectural style to determine its risk value, including the roof. Most insurance companies are reluctant to cover homes with T-lock shingles because they see it as high risk. This reluctance is because it has been discontinued and is no longer in production so that a little damage can result in an entire roof replacement

This is why many insurance underwriters strictly instruct their inspectors to report T-lock shingles as a significant insurance hazard. However, insurance companies that still cover T-lock shingles might provide you with the ACV option. ACV means Actual Cash Value, and this policy only pays the value of the roof in its current state. 

ACV insurance will pay the amount it takes to replace your roof minus depreciation. Depreciation is the decrease in value caused by factors like age and condition. ACV policy is different from RCV policy. With a Replacement Cost Value policy, you will receive the total amount necessary to replace the damaged roof. 

The insurance company retains the depreciation issued to you after replacing your property. If your current home already has an RCV policy, it’ll be better to retain that policy to get a cost-free replacement of your roof. But if you’re shopping for a new policy for a T-lock shingle house, the RCV option will likely not be available. 

Insurance companies might also require you to pay a high deductible to lessen their replacement cost for T-lock shingles. A deductible is an amount you are required to pay out on a claim to cover part of the loss. 

Can you sell a house with a T-lock roof?

As mentioned earlier, selling a T-lock shingle roof home might be difficult because of insurance. Most buyers are on the lookout to buy the best houses at good prices. Your offer might be great, but buyers might consider the extra fees on insurance and opt out of the sale.

No one wants to go through the stress of finding just the few insurance companies that will cover the insurance of a T-lock shingle roof. Buyers will also not be thrilled to pay a massive deductible on the roof. However, this doesn’t mean selling your house will be impossible.

 If your house is under a replacement cost insurance policy, you should consider having the roof inspected. If there’s even tiny damage on your shingle, the insurance company will pay for replacing the entire roof. With a new roof, you should be able to sell your house in no time as this will attract potential buyers.

Should you buy a house with a T-lock roof?

If you’re looking to buy a house, the best advice will be to steer clear of houses with T-lock shingles because it might be difficult to get an insurance policy for the roof. However, if you must buy the house because it suits you well, consider striking a deal with the current owner. You can ask the homeowner to take responsibility for the roof replacement

Although most sellers might not be willing to pay the extra cost, they might opt to replace the roof if their insurance policy covers it. They can also lower the offer price to make up for the cost of replacing the roof.

Can you repair T-lock shingles?

T-lock shingles have been out of the market for quite a while, and it might be very difficult to repair or find replacement parts. But, if you absolutely need to fix it, you can check out sites like eBay or Craigslist. There might be roofers or suppliers that have held onto them, and occasionally, they can be listed on those sites


Do you have to replace a T-lock roof?

If you currently own a home with T-lock shingles, the best step to take is to call a professional to inspect the roof. It is possible that you might have inspected the roof yourself or called a friend to help. But it is still vital to have it checked by a professional because roof damages can be subtle at times, and you might have missed something. 

After inspection, you can reach out to your insurance company to confirm your coverage. If your insurance policy covers your roof, you can have the roof replaced at no cost to you. This will increase the value of the home, and this way, you can get more interest on it if you decide to sell in the future.


T-lock shingles once used to be the prime option for roofers and homeowners. However, over time there has been a drastic decline in its availability due to discontinued production. Nevertheless, if you own a house with a T-lock shingle roof, you need to be informed about the options available to you and find out your coverage from your insurance provider. 

If you are looking for a new house, it may be best to avoid T-lock shingle roofs, except you totally cannot, due to scarce repair parts.