Asphalt shingles are the most common roofing material in the US. They can be divided into two prominent (and most common) categories: Organic and Fiberglass. But before we discuss the types, and pros of asphalt shingles for any roof, know the ‘Whys’ first.
If your roof needs a replacement and you’re looking for an economical yet aesthetic roof type, then asphalt shingles might be it! Asphalt shingles are appealing, long-lasting, and durable for residential projects.
Why are Asphalt Shingles so popular in America?
Homeowners love to get their hands on Asphalt shingles for three reasons: 1) Durability, 2) affordability, and 3) longevity. They’re also the most popular and affordable residential roofing materials, so it’s no surprise they’re pervasive. Asphalt shingles make up almost half of all new roofs installed in America annually—and that number is growing rapidly!
But that’s not just it. Asphalt Shingles are also a popular choice by homeowners in Canada and Europe (with some variations between countries). These roofing systems have been around since medieval times when they were used for terraces on castle walls or farmhouses.
The asphalt shingle is made of a base, or substrate, coated with asphalt and then covered with mineral granules.
The base is made of organic felt or fiberglass, coated with asphalt, and then covered with mineral granules. These granules provide the structure for your shingle roofing material, making it stronger than conventional materials used in homes without this covering.
The installation process for asphalt shingles can take anywhere from one day to three weeks, depending on how much time you have available to complete it yourself or if you hire someone else to do it for you. If you’re interested in learning more about how this type of roofing system works, check out our page on installing an asphalt shingle roof:
Types of Asphalt Shingle Roofing
Two main categories of Asphalt shingles for roofs are Organic and Fiberglass. Let’s briefly dive into these types.
Organic Base Asphalt Shingles
Organic Asphalt Shingles are made from a thick organic felt (cellulose or paper) that is saturated with asphalt and coated with mineral granules. Organic base shingles are the most popular choice in the US. These shingles are very durable and have excellent longevity.
Benefits of Organic Asphalt Shingles
Organic shingles provide excellent moisture resistance, making them ideal for areas with high humidity levels (e.g., coastal regions). They also have a low profile compared to fiberglass or metal products, which makes installation easier than other roofing materials because you don’t need scaffolding or ladders during installation!
For its remarkable endurance and aesthetic designs, this type of roofing is found in many homes, especially those with high-quality materials and finishes, as it offers superior durability and longevity over other roofing materials.
History of Organic Base Shingles
Organic base shingles have been around since 1994 when Owens Corning introduced them as an alternative to asphalt or fiberglass-based products. It provides a low-cost solution for homeowners who want to install their roofs without any professional assistance needed during installation. And those want something durable roofs that can withstand long enough through many years before needing replacement.
The most common causes of organic base shingles roof replacements
Wear Out: This happens due to weather changes in weather conditions over time, which also affects its performance ability.
Premature failure: Caused by extreme weather conditions such as snowfall during winter when freezing temperatures may occur.
Collapse: Collapse under heavy weight load placed upon them causing damages inside house structure, such as cracks across ceiling tiles, etc.
Fiberglass Base Asphalt Shingles
Fiberglass shingles are created from a woven glass-fiber reinforcement laminated to an asphalt-coated backing, then surfaced with mineral granules. The composites of crude glass and fiber mixed with asphalt result in Fiberglass base shingles. To add extra protection, manufacturers add mineral granules in the roofing shingles to protect the roof from exposed UV and fire.
Benefits of Fiberglass Base Shingles
- Fiberglass shingles are more weather-centric than organic shingles.
- Fiberglass shingles are more fire-resistant than organic shingles.
- Fiberglass shingles are lighter than organic shingles.
- Fiberglass shingles are more durable than organic shingles.
3-Tab Asphalt Shingles
Most homeowners confuse 3-tab shingles as another type of asphalt shingles—but it’s not. 3=tab asphalt shingle is a design/style that gives your roof a different look. It is one of the most liked designs of asphalt shingles. These asphalt shingles have 3-tab patterns, giving your roof a three-dimensional and appealing look. Apart from its durability, which is about 10-20 years max (if properly installed & maintained), 3-tab asphalt shingles are weather-friendly. It can only withstand wind up to 6-70 mph. 3-tab asphalt shingles are called ‘Dimensional Shingles.’
Advantages and Disadvantages of Asphalt Shingles
Easy installation: Asphalt shingles are the easiest type of roofing to install. They require no special tools and can be installed in less than one day by one person with basic carpentry skills.
Affordable: Asphalt shingles are among the least expensive types of roofing in America, costing as little as $4 per square foot for a properly installed system (after installation). They come pre-coated with an asphalt layer that helps prevent leaks, adding another layer of value for homeowners who want their roofs to last longer than others on the market today!
Fairly Durable: Unlike other roofing materials that are made with synthetic fiberglass or foam insulation boards, the material of asphalt (and products from it) are made with crushed rock or straw bales. It is why asphalt shingles last longer than most (but not all) roofing materials available on the market.
Apart from the said benefits of asphalt shingles, it also offers:
- Low maintenance
- User-friendly repair
- Wide range of colors, styles, and sizes
- Asphalt Shingles have limited longevity. They will not last more than 20 years (if properly installed and maintained).
- Asphalt shingles may not be your best roofing material if you live in a windy area. Asphalt shingles can withstand 100-30 mph, and the air above that limit will rip off the roof.
- Asphalt shingles are not energy efficient but environmentally friendly.
- Mildew is one of the homeowners’ most common problems after installing asphalt shingles. It mostly grows and spreads in shaded areas.
- Due to mildew, you will need to run cleaning inspections every time.
Cost of Asphalt Shingles Roof
The average installation cost for asphalt roofing ranges from $2,000 to $10,000, depending on slope, size, and labor costs. However, the asphalt shingle price depends on the following factors:
- Size of the roof
- The slope of the roof
- Labor costs
- The complexity of the roof
- Material used
How long can an asphalt shingle roof last?
A new asphalt shingle roof will last approximately 15 – 20 years. However, warranties are often up to 25 years but may be shorter depending on how well you maintain your shingles or replace them when needed.
The 3 Important Considerations
Before you head to the market or open your laptop to search for roofing materials, have these things in mind:
- Easiness of installation
- Availability of materials
The materials used in asphalt shingles are readily available and can be purchased at most hardware stores or home improvement centers. The products are usually shipped directly from the manufacturer’s plants, so there is no need for inventory or storage space on site. Asphalt shingles are also less costly than other types of roofing materials because they don’t require special paints or adhesives that different kinds do.
What type of shingles is best for my roof?
It depends on the cost, size of your roof, and materials used in the roofing type. Always compare the types of shingles and shortlist the ones that offer more durability, are weather-resistant, and have longevity.
Conclusion: The Bottom Line on Asphalt Shingle Roofs
Asphalt shingle roofs are a cost-effective way to restore and improve your home’s exterior. They are an excellent choice for most homeowners, but some downsides can be overlooked when choosing the right roofing material.
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