Asphalt Shingles and Roofing

Asphalt Roofing Shingle Types and their Benefits and Warranties

By Mark J. Donovan

The asphalt shingle is the most commonly and widely used roofing shingle type used. The main reasons for their dominant use in residential construction is that they are relatively inexpensive both from a material and installation perspective. Asphalt roofing shingles are typically used in more moderate climates as high heat dramatically shortens their lifespan.

There are two basic types of asphalt shingles on the market today, organic asphalt shingles and fiberglass asphalt shingles. There are also two asphalt shingle styles sold today on the market, 3 tab asphalt shingles and architectural asphalt roofing shingles.

Organic asphalt shingles have approximately 40% more asphalt in them than fiberglass shingles, and thus they are typically heavier and are considered less green friendly. Organic fiberglass shingles are also more susceptible to fire as well due to their higher asphalt content.

Organic asphalt shingles are manufactured by saturating an organic paper in asphalt, applying an adhesive to the top surface, and finally embedding sand granules into the adhesive. Asphalt shingle manufacturers also integrate algae resistant paint into the sand granules to create the various shingle colors and to protect against algae discoloration.

Fiberglass asphalt shingles are constructed from a base of fiberglass reinforcement mat. The fiberglass mat can vary in thickness and strength which affects its lifetime guarantee.

Asphalt shingle roof installation. Here are architectural shingles being installed.

Asphalt is applied to the mat, rather than saturating it with asphalt. Adhesive and sand granules, along with algae resistant paint, are then added to the top surface of the shingle.

3-tab asphalt roofing shingles still are the most common type of roofing product used due to their low cost and ease of installation. However, architectural shingles have become popular in recent years.

Typically architectural asphalt shingles are used more frequently on higher end homes. Architectural asphalt shingles cost more from both a materials and installation perspective, however they typically have a longer lifespan.

The quality and length of warranty on asphalt shingles varies widely with the overall weight of the shingle and its construction. Common asphalt shingle warranty life varies from 20 to 40 years. Heat can dramatically shorten the life of asphalt shingles. Consequently proper attic insulation and ventilation is critical for maximizing the life of asphalt shingles. In general the warranty life stated for asphalt shingles is a best case scenario with the shingles properly installed, and with moderate roof and attic temperature exposure.

Asphalt Shingle Roofing Bid Sheet

Asphalt shingle aging shows up by the observation of cupping and curling edges, staining, shrinkage, and cracking. Also the paper or fiberglass mesh backing may begin to tear and nail heads show. In addition, the sand granules begin to separate and roll off the shingle surface. Eventually all these issues lead to shingle failure and roof leaks. So when shopping for asphalt shingles make sure to buy the longest lifespan warranty you can afford and be sure to properly insulate and ventilate your attic.

For more help on Shingling Your Home’s Roof, see’s Asphalt Shingle Roofing Bid Sheet. The Asphalt Shingle Roofing Bid Sheet will help to ensure that your roof won’t end up with a blue tarp over it and a dumpster sitting in your yard for weeks as you wait for the roofing contractor to come back and finish roofing your home.

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