Most people don’t give much thought to the material covering their homes. All they know is that it looks nice and it keeps the rain out. And, most everyone knows that the material used on the roofs of most homes are called shingles. But beyond that…it gets a little vague.
Types of Asphalt Roofing Shingles
There are two types asphalt shingles, organic and fiberglass.
“Organic.” In the beginning all shingles were made of “Organic” based material such as waste paper, cellulose, wood pulp, and cotton rag. These materials were mixed with asphalt to make them waterproof. Some of the organic based shingles that were produced before 1980 contained asbestos. Roofers often have to call in a remediation expert to handle the asbestos shingles.
Asphalt based material. The binding material for asphalt shingles has been around for thousands of years. It was used for filling the cracks between bricks and stones in homes and other buildings to keep out the cold and heat. It was also used to waterproof canals to prevent water loss.
It might surprise you to know that roofing shingles haven’t changed much over the years. The process of making the shingle has remained pretty much the same since about the turn of the century. Asphalt coated felt with a stone granule finish has served America well for over a century. Little has changed in the actual process of making the shingle, although alternative material has been developed to make the shingle lighter and more durable. Most of the material used in making shingles have moved from an organic material to a non-organic material to make them fire resistant.
“Fiberglass” Asphalt shingles cover about 80 percent of the homes in America. The “Fiberglass” shingle itself is made up of a fiberglass mat, mixed with asphalt much like the asphalt used on building much of our highway system. The mat is then covered with a stone granule surfacing. The granules create the highly durable, long lasting, and fire resistant finish. The granules go through a ceramic firing to develop a range of long lasting colors.
Asphalt shingles comes in many shapes, colors, and textures. The three tab shingle is a single layer fiberglass shingle with three tabs cut into it. The three tab shingle is adequate for most homes but is at the lower end of the durability scale. Three tab shingles will usually need to be replaced after about 15 to 20 years. Most three tab shingles are used on lower valued homes and rental properties.
The asphalt architectural or dimensional shingle is stronger and thicker than the three tab shingle. It has a more expensive look because of the random highs and lows in its aesthetics. These shingles are more expensive but they also come with a longer warranty. Some asphalt architectural shingles come with an up to 50 year warranty.
The bottom line is, though you may not know all the details of the asphalt shingles on your house…but you can be sure that they are durable, wind resistant, fire resistant, some are hail resistant, algae resistant, and make just down right attractive roof. And that’s what matters, right?