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What are Starter Shingles? Can You Skip Them?

Posted on July 18, 2023

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What are Starter Shingles? Can You Skip Them?

When it comes to roofing projects, many homeowners may wonder about the purpose and necessity of certain materials. Starter shingles fall into this category, and their importance is often underestimated or overlooked. As a roofing specialist, I am here to emphasize the importance of these shingles. 

In this blog post, we will learn how a shingle installation starts, explaining the role and benefits of starter shingles and how they differ from regular roofing shingles. This information will help you make the right decisions during the installation, repair, and replacement of new roofing materials.

Are Starter Shingles the Same as Regular Shingles?

No, starter shingles are not the same as regular shingles such as 3-tab, architectural, and luxury. Starter shingles have a different configuration than these shingles; They have a flatter, narrower, and longer composition and are usually black in color.

Let’s dig deeper to understand their role and find out if you need them.

What are Starter Shingles?

Also known as starter strips, this is the first line of shingles installed on a pitched roof. The main goal of starter strips is to provide a secure base for regular shingles and drip edges. This ensures proper installation and maximum protection against wind and water damage.

starter shingles

Are Starter Shingles Necessary? Can You Use Regular Shingles Instead?

Regular shingles have different shapes and thicknesses compared to starter strips, so it is not a good idea to use them in place of starter shingles. If you are a roofing pro or handy with such projects, you can cut regular shingles to give them the required shape, but the thickness will still be the same.

That makes a starter strip absolutely necessary for homes with pitched roofs located in areas prone to high winds and heavy rain. Without these shingles, your roof will be more susceptible to shingle curling and lifting, roof leaks, and premature deterioration. 

Here are the benefits that come with using starter strips:

Improved Shingle Alignment

When it comes to achieving a visually appealing roof, proper shingle alignment is crucial. Starter strips play a significant role in this aspect. By providing a guide for the alignment of the following shingle rows, they ensure that each row is placed straight and evenly. This prevents misalignment and unsightly gaps between the shingles. The result is a roof that looks neat and professional. With improved shingle alignment, the overall curb appeal of your home is enhanced, leaving a positive impression on visitors and potential buyers.

Enhanced Wind Resistance

High winds can pose a significant threat to the integrity of your roof. But, the starter strips come to the rescue by fortifying your roof against powerful gusts. By securely fastening the initial row of shingles, they create a strong bond between the shingles and the roof deck. This helps to prevent drip edge dislocation and shingle uplift during severe weather conditions. By ensuring that the shingles remain firmly in place, starter shingles enhance the wind resistance of your roof, providing valuable protection against wind-related damage.

Protection Against Leaks

Water infiltration is one of the biggest concerns when it comes to roofing systems. Starter strips play a vital role in protecting your roof from leaks and water damage. They act as a barrier against water penetration, ensuring that moisture cannot seep underneath the shingles. This is achieved through the design of starter strip shingles, which incorporates an adhesive strip. This strip forms a watertight seal when the shingles are properly installed. As a result, the roof’s ability to withstand heavy rain and other moisture-related issues is significantly enhanced. With these shingles in place, you can make sure that your roof is safeguarded against heavy rain and blustering winds.

It’s clear why starter strips are a valuable component of an asphalt shingle roof on rainy days. Plus, these shingles make the surface of your roof even and refined with properly installed shingles.

Drip Edge Installation Support

Drip Edge

Starter shingles provide an additional benefit by assisting in the installation of a drip edge or gutter apron. Drip edges and gutter aprons are crucial components that help redirect water away from the edges of the roof, preventing water damage and protecting the underlying structure. Starter strips serve as a solid base for properly securing and overlapping drip edge flashing strips. This ensures effective water management making your roof a durable and beautiful investment.

So, when you are looking for a new roof installation or replacement, don’t skip the starter shingles. This small investment is incredibly useful for a reliable roofing system.

However, a few misconceptions about this roofing material are circulating, which must be clarified.

Addressing Common Misconceptions Related to Starter Strip Shingles

Some people believe using separate starter strips can be more time-consuming and costly, so it is better to choose an alternative. However, this is not the case.

You Can Save Time and Money By Not Using Starter Strip Shingles

While it may seem tempting to skip starter strips to save money, it’s important to consider the long-term costs of potential roof repairs or replacements. Investing in the quality of these shingle strips can prevent costly issues down the line and provide peace of mind. It also might appear that you’ll save time during the installation by bypassing the installation of these shingles, but a proper roof installation will ultimately save you significant time and headaches over the years.

There Are Alternative Solutions To Starter Strip Shingles 

Some individuals may suggest alternative methods to replace starter shingles, such as using regular shingles or doubling up the first row. But alternative options lack the specific design and functionality of starter strip shingles. Opting for alternatives can lead to below-average performance, compromise manufacturer warranties, and even cause complications during insurance claims.

If you’re thinking about getting a new roof or fixing an existing one, it’s really important to know about the common mistakes that can happen during the installation of starter shingles.

Avoiding Common Mistakes When Installing Starter Shingles

Installing the starter strips can be a bit tricky, and there are a bunch of mistakes that homeowners or inexperienced roofers often make. These errors can have a big impact on how well a shingle roof works, and how long it lasts, so it’s important to be aware of them and make sure the installation is done right.

Let’s take a look at some of the common mistakes you should avoid:

Incorrect Positioning

One of the most frequent mistakes is not putting the starter strips in the right position along the edge of the roof. It’s really important to line these shingles up with the edge of the roof to create a strong base for the rest of the shingles. If they’re not positioned correctly, it can make the surface of the roof uneven and leave gaps between the shingles.

Insufficient Overhang

Another mistake to watch out for is not giving the starter shingles enough overhang. These shingles should hang over the edge of the roof deck a bit so that water can flow off properly. If there’s not enough overhang, water can seep underneath the shingles and cause damage to the roof.

Improper Fastening

Not fastening the starter strip shingles correctly is another common mistake. It’s really important to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for nailing or securing these shingles, and it’s a job that requires precision and practice. Using the right techniques will ensure that the shingles stay in place and do their job effectively.

Overlapping Errors

When installing a starter strip, it’s crucial to ensure proper overlap with the following shingle rows. Failing to overlap them correctly can compromise the roof’s integrity, allowing water to penetrate underneath the shingles and cause leaks.

Skipping Adhesive Strip Activation

Many starter strip shingles come with an adhesive strip that helps create a watertight seal when activated. Neglecting to activate the adhesive strip by pressing it firmly onto the roof deck can lead to reduced water resistance and an increased risk of leaks.

Using the Wrong Size

Starter shingles come in various sizes to accommodate different roof dimensions. Using the wrong size can result in an improper fit, compromising their effectiveness and overall performance.

Neglecting Proper Roof Preparation

Before installing the first shingles, it’s essential to ensure that the roof underlayment and deck are repaired, cleaned, and properly installed without uneven surfaces. Neglecting proper roof deck preparation can affect the adhesion of starter shingles.

However, you shouldn’t have to worry about these installation mistakes if you hire an experienced and reputable roofing contractor for the roof repair or replacement project. The experts will make sure your roof is installed perfectly, and you enjoy all the benefits that come with it.

If you are getting a new roof in Lansdale, PA, or repairing an old one, our team is here to help you with professional advice and services.

Schedule a Free Roofing Consultation with the Experts

At North Star Roofing, we’ve been helping homeowners in Lansdale, and the surrounding areas, for years! We are proud to have reliable, skilled, and experienced professionals on our team who care about the community. We can provide you with valuable insights, assess your specific needs, and guide you on how to get started. If you are looking to install new roofing shingles in Lansdale, call us at (484) 302-7663. We will be happy to help you with a free consultation and estimate on your roof installation project. Get ready to learn the roofing secrets with our experts, and understand how we can help you save money and time with our services.

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