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All About Asphalt Shingles

November 30 2010

Have you been thinking about new shingles for your roof?

Asphalt shingling is the most common roofing choice made by consumers today, says TheRoofingContractors.com. And why not? They’re the most affordable option. Base models can last as long as 20 years given the right weather conditions, and upgrades can last even longer. But before committing, here’s some information on how to choose the right asphalt shingle for your home.

Two types of asphalt shingle exist today, organic and fiberglass.

According to RoofHelp.com, organic shingles are made from felt paper saturated in asphalt, making it waterproof. A superficial layer of asphalt is then applied with the addition of ceramic granules to protect the material from UV rays.

Fiberglass shingles are manufactured in much the same way; sheets of fiberglass are coated in asphalt followed by a layer of adhesive, and finally ceramic granules.

While asphalt is popular due its affordability, one type might be better for your home than another. Asphalt is weakest in regions where dense snow, strong winds or direct sun are common.

The harshness of extreme cold makes fiberglass brittle and more susceptible to cracking, says nrca.net.  In the south, where intense heat is common, fiberglass shingles outlast their organic counterpart and have the added bonus of being ASTM Class A-rated, the highest level flame retardant ranking possible.

Fiberglass shingles are also a rich source of alkaline material which algae love to eat. Because of this,  fiberglass shingles look dirty fast, says cipressurewash.com. Algae growth can also lead to premature granule loss, and loss of solar reflectivity meaning subsequent increases in cooling costs as heat is trapped in your attic. 

Organic shingles tend to be heavier and perform better in both colder and windier conditions. They do not suffer from the algae problem of fiberglass because the porosity of the felt allows for deeper absorption of asphalt. On the downside, their ASTM rating is C.     

The best part about asphalt is its affordability; at less than half of most other roofing alternatives it can be significantly less in materials and installation costs. To get the best ideas of what’s available, contact a qualified roofing expert in your area.