So, you’re dying to know about asphalt roofing… awesome! You came to the right place.
Wait, you didn’t know you were dying to know about asphalt roofing? You should, because there’s a really good chance that it’s on your roof right now. Even with the technological improvements and cost reductions in energy-efficient metal roofing material (among other materials), more than 70% of the roofs in the United States are asphalt roofs.
That kind of makes asphalt roofing a big deal. So, if you’re in the majority, it wouldn’t hurt to know how an asphalt roof keeps the inside of your house warm and dry, while keeping the outside out.
Every roofing company from Maine to Hawaii should know how to install an asphalt roof properly (“should” being the operative word). Asphalt has been the primary roofing material since 1900, ever since fire departments determined that the more common wood shingle of that time was something of a fire hazard. The asphalt component serves as a fire retardant and adhesive, with the base material traditionally getting dipped in asphalt and then coated in another layer of asphalt to allow adhesion of the granules. Granules help protect the surface of the shingle from UV rays, but also give the roof some visual contrast – they also help hide bumps and bruises- to make the roof more appealing from the ground.
Asphalt shingles fall into two categories: organic and fiberglass. (Technically, it’s “formerly living” organic because an organic roof would imply that it’s still alive? That would be weird.) Here’s a quick side-by-side comparison:
- An organic shingle likely has a paper or wood fiber base which is soaked in asphalt before being coated with a final layer of asphalt
- A fiberglass shingle is self-described; fiberglass is bonded with a resin which is then coated with a final layer of asphalt
- Organic shingles don’t rate as high for fire protection but are more durable because they contain more asphalt than fiberglass
- Fiberglass shingles provide better fire protection but are more brittle than organic shingles and are more prone to cold weather snaps
- Organic asphalt shingles are more expensive because of their durability (hard to tear in high winds)
- Fiberglass is a cheaper option and does have a slight environmental edge because of the lower asphalt content in each shingle.
Depending on whether you prefer the fiberglass or organic asphalt shingle, the cost difference may be more a by-product of supply and location. A good roofing company can talk you through the best material option for you, as well as shingle design.
Asphalt shingle design
Shingle design also contributes to a shingle’s function and cost. Three-tab shingles are easier for a roofing company to install and thus costs less than an architectural (dimensional) shingle. Dimensional asphalt shingles are thicker and stronger, which are nice traits to have on a roof, but come at a higher cost. Insurance companies do prefer the dimensional shingles, and they are more durable, resistant to wear and tear. While your roofing costs may be higher if you choose to go with a dimensional shingle, maintenance costs and higher insurance premiums might be avoided over the life of the roof. Three-Tab manufacturers offer standard 30-year warranties, and dimensional shingle warranties can go as high as 50 years.
What to Choose? Ask Your Roofing Company
Roofing technology has improved over the last decade and new materials are being used more readily. One thing remains constant, though, asphalt shingles remain the most affordable and most readily available for all types of homes. That also means that there are different products of varying quality, so what to choose for your next roofing project? This is when it pays to understand the difference between a roofer and a roofing expert. Next Wave Roof & Gutter is a roofing company that lives and breathes asphalt shingles, because they are the most popular shingle option for our customers. There is never a bad time to talk asphalt shingle with us. So call us! We’re know you’re dying to talk shingles.
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