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Residential Roofing

The Benefits of Starter Strip Shingles

By Annie Crawford

February 08, 2021

Contractor with red gloves installing a starter strip shingle

Contractors might skip using pre-perforated starter strip shingles for a variety of reasons. Hand-cutting traditional 3-tab shingles may seem cheaper, quicker, or easier. In reality, using pre-perforated starter strips helps save roofing contractors time and effort.

Outdated roofing habits can die hard, but eliminating the use of hand-cut, 3-tab shingles as starters is a smart play for savvy roofers. If your crew is still wasting time cutting by hand, consider making the switch to pre-perforated starter strips.

How Do Starter Strip Shingles Benefit Roofers?

"All in all, pre-perforated starter strips offer an easy, fast, and convenient solution for installing starter strips at the eave and rake areas of the roof," says Jeff Avitabile, senior product manager of steep slope accessories at GAF. Check out the benefits of starter strip shingles like those manufactured by GAF:

  • Properly-positioned adhesive: Pre-applied adhesive in the right location can reduce the risk of shingle blow-off. GAF Pro-Start® Eave/Rake Starter Strip Shingles have factory-applied Dura Grip™ Adhesive to help secure the roof edges at the eaves and rakes.
  • More coverage: Starter strips offer more coverage per bundle than hand-cut GAF 3-tabs. For example, the GAF Pro-Start® Starter Strips offer at least 50 percent more coverage per bundle. Plus, there's no cutting required for most English- and metric-sized GAF shingles, thanks to this pre-perforated option.
  • Less waste: "Easy hand-tearing on pre-perforated starter strips eliminates time-consuming hand cuts. Without all those cuts, there's significantly less scrap waste created," says Avitabile. It's also less material to load and handle on the roof. In addition, since Pro-Start® Starter Strips typically cover up to 50 percent more lineal feet per bundle vs. GAF 3-tab shingles, they can also save labor time.
  • Excellent wind resistance: Using a product like the WeatherBlocker™ Premium Eave/Rake Starter Strip Shingle helps reduce the risk of shingle blow-off at the eave and rake edges of the roof. On GAF starter strips, the powerful grip of factory-applied Dura Grip™ Adhesive keeps shingles in place during a wind event.
  • Great look: Starter strips on the eaves and rakes help create a clean, straight edge that's difficult to achieve with hand-cut 3-tabs. Aesthetically pleasing roofs are good for your customer and good for your roofing reputation.

How Do Starter Strip Shingles Benefit Customers?

Besides the quick and easy installation for roofers, customers also win with starter strips. By requesting products like those in the GAF Starter Strip Shingle product line when installing a GAF roofing system, customers can receive the following benefits:

  • Enhanced warranty coverage: Some manufacturers offer enhanced wind warranty coverage when you install starter strip shingles. For example, GAF shingles will be covered up to the Maximum Wind Speed listed in the applicable Limited Warranty* only if installed using the required number of nails (depending on shingle type) and with starter strip shingles at eaves and rakes.
  • Less waste: The pre-perforated design of starter strip shingles means less scrap is created on the job when compared to using cut up 3-tab shingles, leaving the customer's property tidier.
  • Curb appeal: Starter strips at the eaves (and rakes) give customers that polished, straightedge look that can increase their home's curb appeal. Plus, using a product like GAF StarterMatch® Starter Strips in conjunction with GAF WeatherBlocker™Starter Strips offers a seamless complementary color when used with select GAF Shingles, such as Grand Canyon® Shingles or Grand Sequoia® Shingles.

Do You Need Starter Strips for Architectural Shingles?

When installing architectural shingles, pre-perforated starter strips are a great choice. They provide a clean look, a strong grip, and ease of installation.

"Pre-perforated starter strips are not only easy and efficient to install, but they also play an important role in wind-resistance of architectural shingles on the roof. This is because the high-quality, properly positioned adhesive helps lock down shingles at the eave and rake edges of the roof," says Avitabile.

Who doesn't want a product that is quick, easy, and effective? Pre-cut starter strips can help fast-track your roofing business toward success.

Learn more tips for increasing roof installation speed and quality by visiting our on-demand Learning Portal (use Branch code: GAF to register).

*See GAF Shingle & Accessory Limited Warranty or GAF Roofing System Limited Warranty for complete coverage and restrictions.

About the Author

Annie Crawford is a freelance writer in Oakland, CA, covering travel, style, and home improvement. Find more of her work at annielcrawford.com.

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