Asphalt Shingles as Roofing Material

Asphalt roofing materials have a rich history dating back to the 1890s, and today, they dominate the roofing landscape in the United States, covering 70 to 80 percent of roofs. This roofing solution has also gained popularity worldwide. In this blog post, we’ll explore the versatility, benefits, and types of asphalt shingles, as well as essential considerations for installation and repair.

The Appeal of Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt roof shingles have earned their popularity for several compelling reasons:

1. Aesthetic Appeal

One of the standout features of asphalt shingles is their attractive appearance. They come in a variety of colors and styles, making it easy for homeowners to find the perfect match for their homes.

2. Fire and Wind Resistance

Asphalt shingles offer high resistance to both fire and wind. This makes them a safe and durable choice for roofing in various climates.

3. Cost-Effective

Affordability is another advantage of asphalt shingles. They provide excellent value for the aesthetics and durability they offer, making them a cost-effective choice for roofing projects.

4. Easy Installation and Low Maintenance

Installing asphalt shingles is a straightforward process, and they require minimal maintenance over their lifespan. This ease of installation and maintenance contributes to their popularity among contractors and homeowners alike.

Types of Asphalt Shingles

There are two primary types of asphalt shingles: organic shingles and fiberglass shingles.

Organic Shingles

Organic asphalt shingles are constructed with a base mat composed of cellulose fibers, typically made from recycled paper or wood chips, along with cotton or wool rags. However, today’s versions use asphalt-saturated roofing felt as the base mat. This base is coated with asphalt on both sides for added durability. The strength of organic shingles comes from this base mat, which is saturated with asphalt. Mineral stabilizers, such as ground limestone, slate, or trap rock, are added to reinforce the asphalt saturant. The shingles’ exposed surface is covered with coarse mineral granules, providing both color and weather resistance. Additionally, a layer of talc, mica, or sand on the backside prevents the shingles from sticking together.

Fiberglass Shingles

Fiberglass asphalt shingles made their debut in the late 1950s and have since become a popular choice. These shingles have a base mat saturated with flexible asphalt and are also surfaced with mineral granules. Compared to organic shingles, fiberglass shingles are lighter and thinner, as they contain more asphalt. This distinction is crucial because organic shingles have a tendency to absorb water from underneath, potentially leading to curling and decreased demand.

Deck Requirements for Asphalt Shingles

When installing asphalt shingles, a solid roof deck is essential. Typically, asphalt shingles can be installed on slopes ranging from 4 in 12 to 21 in 12, using standard installation methods. However, special application procedures are required for slopes as low as 2 in 12 and as steep as 21 in 12.

Types of Asphalt Shingles

Two main types of asphalt shingles are commonly used in roof construction:

1. Three-Tab Shingles

Three-tab shingles feature two slots that divide the exposed part of the shingle into thirds. They are a traditional choice for roofing.

2. Laminated Shingles (Architectural and Dimensional Shingles)

Laminated shingles, also known as architectural or dimensional shingles, are widely used today. They consist of two layers, making them thicker and more wind-resistant than three-tab shingles.

Repairing Asphalt Shingles

Repairing asphalt shingles can be necessary for various reasons, such as leaks, wear, or the need to install roof vents or plumbing vents. When removing shingles for repair, it’s essential to do so when they are cool, as this makes the adhesive beneath them brittle and easier to remove. Attempting to remove shingles in hot conditions can lead to tearing and damage.

In conclusion, asphalt shingles have come a long way since their inception in the 1890s. Their versatility, aesthetic appeal, and durability have made them the roofing material of choice for the majority of homes in the United States. Whether you opt for organic or fiberglass shingles, understanding their attributes and proper installation techniques is key to ensuring a long-lasting and reliable roof for your construction project.

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