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Asphalt Roof: Pros and Cons of Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt Roof: Pros and Cons of Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles (or composite shingles) are probably the most common type of roofing material chosen for new roof installations today. They are among the least expensive options for roofing, and are also among the most well known both by homeowners and by most roofers. If you’re considering a new roof, chances are that asphalt roof shingles are the material you first considered or thought of when the time came.

What Are Asphalt Roof Shingles?

An asphalt shingle is an asphalt-saturated base made of fiberglass or an organic material that has been covered in additional asphalt on one or both sides before the top gets a coating of a mixture of mica, schist, quartz, slate, ceramic, or stone, while the back is covered with sand, talc, or mica to keep the shingles from sticking together.

The most common type of asphalt shingles are known as “three-tab”, which refers to the cut of the shingle and the way that it installs. Asphalt shingles and composition shingles can be found in a number of different shapes, however, as well as many different colors and styles.

Asphalt Shingle Pros

The biggest pro to asphalt roof shingles is the expense and ease of installation. They are quick and easy to put up, as well as tear down. You also have the option of layering one set on top of an existing set in some cases, which can further cut down on the amount of installation time and cost.

The granules that are placed on top of the shingles help to deflect UV rays which can both heat your home, and eventually damage the roof. With the many different colors that are available, asphalt roof shingles can match a wide variety of different homes, and some lighter colors like white have been produced that are certified to help reflect heat from your home.

Some fiberglass shingles are fairly fire resistant and will not catch fire from stray sparks. Most asphalt shingles are also not believed to be damaged by algae, which could harm some other roof types.

An asphalt roof lasts about 20 years, which can make it a good choice for homeowners who need a new roof, but don’t intend to stay in the home long enough to benefit from a longer lasting material.

Asphalt Shingle Cons

While an asphalt shingle roof is fairly inexpensive and low maintenance, it does have some drawbacks and disadvantages as well. The granules that cover the shingles and help protect them can be dislodged during hail storms and bad weather, weakening the roof. Excess UV light or moisture trapped beneath moss can also cause the shingles to begin to break down prematurely leading to curling edges and corners that could let water in.

Impact of any kind including hail stones or falling tree limbs can also crack or break the shingles, which can lead to a leak. Shingles that have not been properly installed may also come loose or break free from the roof, which can also lead to water infiltration.

Finally, for homeowners who intend to stay in their homes for more than 20 years, an asphalt shingle roof may not be the best investment. Some roofs may not last this long depending on weather conditions, and this means that future budgets need to be calculated with this in mind.


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