What Are Asphalt Shingles?
Asphalt shingles are the most commonly used roofing material in the United States, and for a good reason. They are affordable, durable, and come in various colors and styles to match any home’s aesthetic. In this article, we will dive into the details of what asphalt shingles are and why they are a popular choice for roofing.
What Are Asphalt Shingles?
Asphalt shingles are made from a base mat, typically made of fiberglass or organic materials such as felt, and coated with an asphalt layer. The asphalt coating contains small granules of various colors, which provide the shingle with its texture and protect it from the sun’s harmful UV rays.
Types of Asphalt Shingles
There are two main types of asphalt shingles: fiberglass shingles and organic shingles. Fiberglass shingles are made from a fiberglass mat and are more durable and fire-resistant than organic shingles. On the other hand, organic shingles are made from a base mat of felt and are coated with asphalt and a layer of adhesive.
Asphalt shingles come in various styles, including three-tab, architectural, and designer shingles. Three-tab shingles are the most basic type of asphalt shingle and are known for their affordability and simplicity. Architectural or dimensional shingles have a three-dimensional appearance and provide a more textured and layered look. Designer shingles are the most premium type of asphalt shingle and offer a broader range of colors, textures, and designs.
Advantages of Asphalt Shingles
Asphalt shingles offer many advantages over other types of roofing materials, including:
- Affordability – Asphalt shingles are one of the most affordable roofing materials on the market, making them a popular choice for homeowners on a budget.
- Durability – Asphalt shingles are durable and can withstand various weather conditions, including rain, wind, and hail.
- Easy Installation – Asphalt shingles are relatively easy to install and can be done by a roofing professional or a DIY enthusiast with some experience.
- Versatility – Asphalt shingles come in various colors and styles, making them a versatile option for any home.
- Energy Efficiency – Certain types of asphalt shingles are designed to reflect more of the sun’s heat, which can help lower energy costs and keep your home cooler in the summer.
Disadvantages of Asphalt Shingles
Despite their many advantages, asphalt shingles do have some drawbacks, including:
Shorter Lifespan: Asphalt shingles typically have a lifespan of 15-30 years, which is shorter than other roofing materials such as metal or slate.
Environmental Impact: Asphalt shingles are not a very environmentally friendly roofing option. They are not biodegradable and can take up space in landfills.
Vulnerability to Algae and Moss Growth: Asphalt shingles can be susceptible to algae and moss growth, which can cause discoloration and damage to the shingles.
Should You Use Asphalt Shingles Today?
There are several reasons why asphalt shingles are a popular choice for roofing. Here are some of the main reasons:
- Affordability: Asphalt shingles are one of the most affordable roofing materials on the market, making them a popular choice for homeowners on a budget. They are much less expensive than metal, tile, or slate roofing materials.
- Durability: Asphalt shingles are durable and can withstand various weather conditions. They are designed to be water-resistant, and many are also impact-resistant, making them a good choice for areas prone to hail.
- Easy Installation: Asphalt shingles are relatively easy to install, saving you money on installation costs. They can be installed quickly and efficiently by a professional roofing contractor or a DIY enthusiast with some experience.
- Versatility: Asphalt shingles come in various colors and styles, making them a versatile option for any home. They can be customized to match the look of your home and can be used on various roof styles, including steep and low-sloped roofs.
- Energy Efficiency: Some types of asphalt shingles are designed to reflect more of the sun’s heat, which can help lower energy costs and keep your home cooler in the summer. This can be especially beneficial in hot climates.
- Availability: Asphalt shingles are widely available, which makes them an accessible roofing material to find and purchase. They can be found at most home improvement stores and roofing supply companies.
Overall, asphalt shingles are a practical, affordable, and durable roofing material that can be a good choice for many homeowners. They offer a wide range of benefits, from easy installation to energy efficiency, and are a popular choice for a reason.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long do asphalt shingles typically last?
Asphalt shingles can last anywhere from 15-30 years, depending on the quality of the shingles and the climate in which they are installed.
Can I install asphalt shingles myself?
While it is possible to install asphalt shingles yourself, hiring a professional roofing contractor is recommended. Improper installation can lead to leaks and other issues down the road.
What should I look for when choosing asphalt shingles?
When choosing asphalt shingles, look for ones made from high-quality materials and have a good warranty. Consider the climate you live in and choose appropriate shingles for your area.
Are asphalt shingles environmentally friendly?
Asphalt shingles are not environmentally friendly, as they are not biodegradable and can take up landfill space. However, some manufacturers are making efforts to produce more sustainable shingles.
Can I install asphalt shingles over an existing roof?
While it is possible to install asphalt shingles over an existing roof, it is generally not recommended. Doing so can add unnecessary weight to the roof, making it more challenging to identify and repair any underlying issues.
Asphalt shingles are a popular roofing option for their affordability, durability, and versatility. They come in various colors and styles and can be easily installed by a professional or a DIY enthusiast with some experience.
However, it’s essential to consider their environmental impact and shorter lifespan compared to other roofing materials. By choosing high-quality asphalt shingles and maintaining your roof regularly, you can enjoy a long-lasting and attractive roof for years to come.