Contrary to what some homeowners and even handymen think BEFORE they have dealt with a real asphalt roof, asphalt roofing is fairly similar to other forms of shingle roofing and is NOT simply a roll-on substance akin to tar that is spread on top of a roof as if one were mopping or painting the roof. Asphalt roofing is named for the type of material used in the shingles themselves and not for a particular type of process that differs from traditional roof shingling activities.
When it comes to asphalt shingles, two common varieties are available. Glass fiber asphalt shingles have a glass fiber reinforcing mat that is made in the shape of the shingle itself. The mat is coated with asphalt, which contains mineral fillers. The glass mat provides the shape and structure of the shingle while the asphalt provides the waterproofing material that will keep rain and other precipitation from penetrating the roofing surface upon completion.
The other form of asphalt shingle is the organic asphalt shingle. This shingle features an organic felt material shaped as a shingle, which is then dipped into the asphalt to form a strong and waterproof shingling material. The difference between these two varieties is that the organic version has about 40% more asphalt per every 100 square feet, making the organic version longer lasting durability-wise, and also heavier – which makes them harder to blow-off the roof during extreme bouts of windy weather.
Currently, asphalt shingles are the most popular form of shingle material. These shingles are fairly inexpensive, coming in at about.80 cents per foot installed. They are available in differing shapes, colors and styles and are also pretty durable – which is what any home owner of roofing professional is looking for when they go to do roof repair or installation work.
An interesting note is the glass-like ceramic granules you’ll see an asphalt roofing shingles. These granules are there to help protect the shingles and to extend their lives, as the effects of the Sun on asphalt shingles is pretty destructive. The glass-line granules reflect the Sun’s energy away from the roofing material, extending the life of the shingles considerably. The glass-like granules also give asphalt shingles a nice hue and reflective quality to them, which is valued by the home owners.
Durability-wise, asphalt shingles seem to live a longer life in colder climates. Studies have been done using a 20-year shingle and it was tested in various locales. The shingle lasted 14 years in Arizona, 19.5 years in Minnesota, and 20.8 years in Pennsylvania, which is rather strange since Minnesota winters are certainly colder than those in Pennsylvania. It has also been determined that, since asphalt shingles cannot expand and contract to adjust to temperature extremes, “thermal shock” from quick temperature changes causes these shingles to become brittle and decay more quickly than steady temperature environments. This could explain why the asphalt shingles last only 14 + years in Arizona, where very hot days are followed by very chilly nights.