Asphalt shingles still dominate the US roofing industry, accounting for more than 70% of all residential, sloped roofs including new construction and replacements. That’s probably why you’re here – asphalt shingles are on the short list of materials you’re considering for your home, garage, or business.
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However, not all asphalt shingle roofing products are created equal. This guide will help you:
- Understand the main types of asphalt shingles
- Compare top products and brands from most popular manufacturers
- Ultimately choose the best asphalt shingle type and style for your home
What are Asphalt Shingles?
There are many reasons for the popularity of asphalt shingles, and we’ll cover them in the pros and cons section, but the main reasons are low cost and ease of installation – the combination of low cost and fairly decent durability and longevity.
Note: If you come across a discussion of organic shingles in your research, the information is likely quite old or encyclopedic. Organic shingles didn’t perform up to the expectations of quality and performance, so most manufacturers stopped making them in 2008.
Did you know? The longevity of any asphalt shingle product is determined by the shingle thickness and quality of construction. More on that below:
Composition of a modern asphalt shingle:
- Fiberglass mat: The core of today’s durable asphalt shingles is fiberglass mat. This material is chosen because it is lightweight, resists tearing, and holds asphalt very well.
- Asphalt: The fiberglass mat is run through a saturator tank where the glass fibers are thoroughly coated with hot asphalt, a petroleum-based material used for its strong resistance to moisture. The weight and toughness of the asphalt is useful for wind and hail impact resistance.
- Mineral granules: The part of the asphalt shingle that will be exposed to the elements is coated with mineral granules that are available in a wide range of colors.
— Shingles can be given a single color to produce a solid-color shingle or a blend of colored granules for a more nuanced look.
— The ceramic-coated granules also reflect the UV rays of the sun – the single worst threat to shingles.
- Sealant strips: Continuous or intermittent lines of raw asphalt are applied to the top part of each shingle that will be covered by the next layer installed. The sealant strip bonds the shingles together once they heat up in sun and warmth.
Did you know? The sunnier a climate is, the shorter the lifespan of the average shingle will be. One of the ways to extend the lifespan of an asphalt roof in a sunny climate such as Florida, Arizona, Texas, is to opt for a solar-reflective, light colored shingles designed to reflect solar radiant heat and UV radiation.
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