Traditional asphalt shingles cover about 80 percent of the homes in the U.S. These shingles are cheap to manufacture, inexpensive to purchase, simple to install and easy to maintain.
The disadvantage of asphalt shingles is their relative lack of durability. They usually need to be replaced within 15 to 30 years, depending on the design of the roof structure and the local climate. Fort Worth roofing professionals can provide homeowners with advice on whether and which kinds of asphalt shingles are appropriate for their buildings.
The most common asphalt shingle is made with a base mat of woven fiberglass. The fiberglass mat is covered with either a modified bitumen or asphalt layer to provide waterproofing. The shingle is finally topped with a layer of mineral granules. A shingle built on a fiberglass base is light and flexible and requires less asphalt to confer strength and durability. Shingles with a fiberglass base also have higher fire ratings and longer warranties.
Newer asphalt shingles feature a base layer of recycled organic materials such as wool, cellulose or cotton. Organic asphalt shingles are still petroleum based, however. In fact, they are less environmentally friendly and cost more than those with fiberglass mats.
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During the manufacture process, the organic material is saturated with bitumen asphalt and then coated with additional adhesive asphalt. These organic shingles use about 40 percent more asphalt per shingle, making each shingle much heavier than a fiberglass counterpart would be by comparison.
The advantage of the organic bases is that the required additional asphalt content makes each shingle more flexible and robust. At the same time, however, they are absorb more water and can warp.
There are two types of asphalt shingles. The first has the traditional three tabs. Each shingle appears to be three separate shingles but is instead only one. The alternative is called an architectural shingle. The lower portions are coated with additional asphalt, making the shingle appear contoured. The extra layer gives the shingle added waterproofing. It is longer lasting but is not recommended for use on roofs with low slopes, which are more vulnerable to damage in rain driven by high winds.
Today, more advanced manufacturing techniques allow owners to buy economical asphalt shingles that can be manufactured to resemble many other types of shingles. They may seem to be slate, tile or wood shake. More colors and shades are available than ever before.
No matter which style of building an owner needs to cover, asphalt shingles offer more flexibility and design choices than ever.