Top Roofing

Replacing a roof can cost thousands of dollars, but if you're dealing with leaks and insects-not replacing it can prove even more costly.

Consumer Reports' tests show if you need a new roof, you can keep costs down without sacrificing style.

One roof is being replaced with laminated asphalt shingles like the ones ones next door to it.

Consumer Reports says they're a stylish choice for homeowners on a budget.

"Laminated shingles give you the three-dimensional appearance of real wood or slate, at a fraction of the cost," said Consumer Reports Jim Nanni.

Vinnie Leonardis tested 18 kinds of laminated shingles to see how well they can withstand the elements.

One test determines how much damage could happen if something falls on the shingles, like a tree limb.

Most suffered only slight damage.

A second test checks the strength of the shingles.

It measure how much force it takes to tear one in half.

And a third machine checks the force needed to pull two layers of shingles apart.

Most of the shingles tested would not do well in very high winds.

Overall, there were big differences in the way shingles stacked up.

"It pays to look for a professional who will work with one of our recommended models," said Nanni.

Consumer Reports says there are plenty of options, including two Best Buys.

They're CertainTeed's Landmark and Owens Corning Oakridge.

For a big project, both are good choices at around $70 per hundred square feet.

And here's another recommendation from Consumer Reports.

If you're planning to use laminated shingles, don't install a new roof over the old one.

The added weight can overload your rafters.

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