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Residential Roofing

Hip and Ridge Cap Shingles Beat Out Cut 3-Tabs

By Annie Crawford

March 01, 2021

Roof with ridge caps with sky in the background

Are you hand-cutting 3-tab shingles instead of using perforated hip and ridge cap shingles? You're not alone. At one time, 3-tab shingles were the market leader, so hand-cutting and installing 3-tabs on ridges and hips was standard practice.

Times have changed. Hip and ridge cap shingles are the new industry gold standard. They're faster to install, save you money in labor costs, and result in a better looking, higher-quality, more wind-resistant product.

Here's why it's time to make the change from using hand-cut 3-tab shingles to pre-manufactured hip and ridge caps on residential roofs.

Hip and Ridge Caps Can Give Roofers Big Benefits

Hip and ridge caps were specially designed for use on a roof's ridges and hips. Here are the ways they improve roof installation speed and quality in ways that hand-cut 3-tabs don't.

Save time and labor: Pre-manufactured hip and ridge caps have perforations that roofers can quickly tear and install on the roof. Perforations reduce labor costs by eliminating time-consuming hand cuts that 3-tab shingles require. Plus, hip and ridge caps typically have larger exposure than hand-cut 3-tabs, so they not only look more polished, there are also fewer pieces to install.

Perforations can reduce waste as well as human error and material loss due to cutting. "Some pre-manufactured hip and ridge caps are even packaged individually in boxes, so that they can be removed from the box and fastened without any tearing or cutting needed," says Jeff Avitabile, a senior product manager for GAF steep slope accessories.

Reduce blow-off: Hip and ridge caps are pre-manufactured with properly positioned adhesive to help shingles fight against wind. Factory-applied adhesive reduces wind-related callbacks. As an example, GAF Hip and Ridge Cap Shingles come with Dura Grip™ Self-Seal Adhesive that helps seal shingles down tight for a high-quality, wind-resistant installation.

Boost roofing reputation: Happy customers mean five-star reviews, word-of-mouth referrals, and fewer callbacks. For example, with GAF hip and ridge caps used as part of a GAF Lifetime Roofing System, customers are eligible for enhanced warranty and wind-protection options, improved curb appeal (thanks to factory color match), and a wider range of finish styles.

What Customers Can Gain with Hip and Ridge Caps

The best relationship is one where everyone benefits. Beyond the financial and reputation perks a contractor can receive when installing hip and ridge caps, customers could enjoy some perks, too.

Stronger warranties: Customers who install hip and ridge caps (instead of cut 3-tab shingles) win big with their warranties. "The pre-manufactured hip and ridge caps are designed to provide up to a lifetime warranty, matching the warranty of the laminate shingles, while 3-tab shingles are typically only 20 or 25-year warranty products," explains Avitabile. "So, when installing a lifetime warranty laminate shingle, why install only a 20- or 25-year warranty 3-tab ridge cap?"

Peace of mind: Hip and ridge caps can give customers better protection from leaks, thanks to proper design and adhesive pre-applied during production. For customers in extreme weather climates, GAF offers the Seal-A-Ridge® ArmorShield™ SBS Modified Ridge Cap Shingles that helps keep even the roughest weather out. Seal-A-Ridge® ArmorShield™ customers may be eligible for additional insurance discounts, too.

Improved aesthetics: In addition to safety and protection, customers want their roofs to look good. "Today's pre-manufactured hip and ridge caps are available in high profile or other distinct designs that help frame and provide the perfect finishing touch on a laminate shingle roof," says Avitabile. "In contrast, 3-tab shingles result in a flat finished appearance on the hips and ridges of a laminate shingle roof."

Plus, pre-manufactured hip and ridge caps are factory color blended for a complementary match for the laminate shingles. "This helps avoid the all-too-common ugly mismatch on the roof with the laminate shingles," says Avitabile.

Hip and Ridge Caps Are an Easy Choice

Overall, hip and ridge caps are good for roofing professionals and customers alike. They reduce wind blow-off and wind-related callbacks. They can save time and money on installation labor, reduce waste, and can provide up to a lifetime limited warranty*. Best of all, they look better, resulting in a boosted reputation for you.

Ready to give hip and ridge caps a try? Connect with CARE, the Center for the Advancement of Roofing Excellence at GAF to learn more through cutting-edge training and roofing education. CARE also provides other tips and techniques that help improve roofing speed and quality.


*See GAF Shingle & Accessory Limited Warranty and 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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