One of the most overlooked aspects of a quality roof system is the proper material selection for the hip and ridge caps. Beyond valleys, hips and ridges face some of the harshest conditions on your roof. Cap shingles typically face more UV exposure and wind than any other area. They are also one of the only areas on your roof where shingles are not laid flat (The other is in a closed valley application) They are bent to form and fit the contour of the hip or ridge line. The stress from this forming along with the extra wind and sun exposure make cap shingles one of the first failure points on your roof system. Today I’d like to take a look at the options for cap shingles. Specifically, which options will enhance your roof assembly and which ones will undoubtedly cause premature failure.
Prior to laminate shingles becoming the industry standard, most roof replacements were done using traditional 3 tab shingles. The common practice was to use the same shingles for caps. They were simply cut at each tab length and installed at all hip and ridge lines. This practice is still acceptable by the industry, as the cap shingles being used are of the same material, wind rating and expected life span as the shingles being used in the field. The introduction of
laminate shingles, however, has changed this thinking.
Quality shingle manufacturers, such as CertainTeed and Owens Corning, quickly realized that 3 tab shingles being cut to serve as caps were not meeting the performance levels of the shingles they were installed with. These newer laminate shingles had superior wind resistance at over 100 MPH, while the 3 tab cap shingle counterpart was only rated at 75 MPH. Furthermore, these newer laminate shingles were proving to be more durable than the 3 tab option, which meant 3 tab caps were not really up to the task. Also, the 3 tabs cut as caps were lacking aesthetically with some of these newer shingles.
Some contractors started using laminate shingles as caps. They would cut them to a similar size of a tab width and install along the hip and ridge lines. While one could argue these caps at least looked to match the shingles better, this method proved to be a performance failure. When bending these caps to fit hip and ridge lines, the additional laminate sections on these shingles would typically crack through the shingle from the stress of being bent. This greatly reduced the cap shingles’ lifespan and wind rating. The net result was a lot of prematurely failed roofs and
3 tab cap shingles often lack the aesthetics to match laminate shingles. They are also a compromise in durability and wind resistance of the roof
Never use laminate shingles cut to serve as cap shingles. Bending these shingles to form at the hip and ridge lines can cause stress cracks in the shingles, which result in a greater likelihood of wind damage and premature failure.
Once leading manufacturers realized 3 tab shingles were not up to the task, the development and introduction of specifically designed hip and ridge shingles quickly followed. These newer shingles were not only thicker, which enhanced the aesthetics and wind rating, the additional, softer asphalt in these shingles was able to bend and yield to the hip and ridge line contours without cracking due to stress. The results were so positive that some manufacturers were able to increase their wind rating and warranty durations, simply by using the specifically designed cap shingles. These shingles were considerably higher in cost, so many contractors were skeptical to use them at first. Once the shingles proved themselves in the field, however, many contractors warmed up to using them. They saw that happier customers and less call backs for wind damage made the extra money on these cap shingles well worth it.
Today, there are many options for cap shingles. Most leading manufacturers have options for cap shingles that are designed not only their luxury shingle lines, but also on more cost effective options.
For all CertainTeed Landmark and Landmark Pro installations, Logik Roofing recommends and uses CertainTeed Shadow Ridge Caps.
For a higher profile and more accentuated roof line, we recommend CertainTeed Cedar Crest caps. These cap shingles are compatible with Landmark shingles as well as Highland Slate.
In closing, I’d like to offer some tips for homeowners regarding shingle caps:
If you have any questions regarding cap shingle options or other aspects of roofing, please contact or office.