Starter Shingle Roll vs. Roof Singles Cost

Starter shingle rolls might look more expensive than cutting individual starter strips at first glance, but part of the cost comparison is going to depend the size of the project, the crew, and local building practices. This article compares the cost of the shingle roll with individual shingles. Our Starter Shingle Roll article covers some of the pros and cons.

Shingle roll vs. individual shingles example

We'll use a 30' roof with 10' rakes for the example comparison, so there's 60 lineal feet of eaves and 40 lineal feet of rakes for a total of 100 lineal feet of starter shingles. You can adjust the math to suit your situation. Yes, yes, some contractors say you don't need starter shingles on the rakes, but we're up north with high winds and lots of snow, so we always add starter strips on the rake ends. Most roofers get their shingles from wholesale building suppliers, but the prices for this example came from Lowes.

Cutting individual starter shingles

Each individual roof shingle nets one three-foot starter shingle so you'd need to cut 20 shingles for the eaves, and 14 shingles for the rakes, for a toal of 34 shingles. A bundle of architectural shingles contains 29 shingles per bundle, and a bundle of three-tab shingles contains 26 shingles per bundle, so you'd need one bundle plus five (or eight) shingles from a second bundle. A bundle of GAF Oak Ridge architectural shingles is currently $32 without tax. That comes to $1.10 per shingle, so the extra five shingles adds $5.50. Total cost for individual starter shingles: $37.50

Owens-CorningĀ® starter shingle roll

The Owens-CorningĀ® starter shingle roll contains 33.3 feet so you'd need three boxes plus a couple of shingles to cover any overlap (33.3' x 3 boxes = 99.9 feet). A box of starter shingle roll at Lowes currently goes for $22, times three boxes equals $66, plus $2.20 for the two shingles, for a total cost of $68.20.

At this point, the individual shingles are more cost-effective than the shingle roll, but here's where the other variables enter the equation.

Starter shingle roll pros and cons

I usually work alone, even with roofing jobs. The 34 individual starter strips have to be cut, stacked, and distributed. The waste from the cut shingles needs to go into a demo bag and eventually the dumpster. Not a huge amount of space or weight, but it still counts. The individual shingles also need more nails than the shingle roll, which adds time and expense.

The starter shingle rolls may cost more, but the boxes are light, take up less space, and there's no time lost to cutting, stacking, and distributing the shingles. There's almost no waste to clean up with the shingle roll - the only thing left once the shingle roll is installed is the paper backing and the box. The paper isn't recyclable, but the box is, making the shingle roll a good choice environmentlly. The one-piece roll looks nicer, especially on the rakes, and the roll goes on smoothly and evenly. No time spent lining up and nailing individual shingles.

The starter shingle roll probably isn't the best choice for large roofing crews, but for some smaller contractors and DIYers, the extra $30 is worth it.