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Why are asphalt shingles right for my new roof?

Published on Tuesday July 26, 2016

Who loves asphalt shingles? Just about every American homeowner, according to roofing industry professionals. The Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association reports that the roofs of four out of five houses in the U.S. enjoy the benefits of this versatile material.

Asphalt shingles

“Asphalt roofing looks even better when you stack it up against the competition: Metal, tile, slate and wood,” the association notes. “None of these materials can match the wide array of benefits only asphalt roofing provides. Whether it’s superb colors and beautiful styles you’re looking for, or unparalleled durability and performance, the bottom line is you simply won’t find all these features in a single material… unless it’s asphalt.”

What’s so great about asphalt shingles?

Asphalt shingles are affordable, durable, low-maintenance and look great. Asphalt roofing shingles are found in a wider array of colors and styles than any other type of shingle.

“While other types of roofs are available, we specialize in asphalt shingles because that’s what our customers want,” Yanni Avramidis, director of roofing for Long Roofing, explains. “Customers today are educated. They research before they buy. They recognize the unparalleled value that asphalt shingles offer. The value and variety of many new styles and colors that are available today, combined with the longevity of a 50-year roof, make asphalt shingles the most popular shingle on the market.”

Let’s find out what these things are made of.

What are asphalt shingles?

Asphalt roofing shingles are rectangular sections of shingle made of a base mat, asphalt, granules and backsurfacing.

Asphalt shingles diagram

Since the 1980s, fiberglass base mat has been the mat of choice for roofing contractors. Fiberglass base mat is lighter, thinner and more resistant to fire than felt, the former favorite. Fiberglass base mat also carries a longer warranty because of its impressive strength and durability.

During the shingle manufacturing process, the fiberglass base mat is saturated with a waterproof asphalt coat. Asphalt also gives the shingle additional strength. Asphalt also allows granules to stick solidly to the base mat.

Fine-grain weather- and UV-resistant granules are then pressed into the asphalt coating. These granules can be any combination of mineral, brick or ceramic materials. The opacity of these substances protects the asphalt from harmful UV rays that can prematurely age the shingles.

Backsurfacing is a very fine grain mineral coating applied to the back of the shingles that prevents them from sticking together prior to installation.

Are there different types of asphalt shingles?

Asphalt shingles are available in 4 basic types:

1. 3-tab. Affordable shingles and easy to install. 3-tab shingles are the most basic and inexpensive type of asphalt shingle on the market.

Asphalt shingles

(Example: CertainTeed XT 25)

2. Architectural. Also called laminated or dimensional shingles. By far the most popular shingle on the market. Combines a great value with the added aesthetic of a three-dimensional look.

Asphalt shingles

(Examples: CertainTeed Landmark and Landmark Pro, CertainTeed Presidential Tri-laminate, CertainTeed Carriage House, CertainTeed Grand Manor)

3. Interlocking. The interlocking design provides greater wind resistance. Often used in areas prone to severe wind and weather. Interlocking shingles are more expensive.

Asphalt shingles

4. Large Format. Slab-type shingles that don’t have cutouts or tabs. Many slate-look shingles are large format shingles. Like interlocking shingles, large format shingles also have greater wind resistance.

Asphalt shingles

(Example: CertainTeed Patriot)

Can asphalt shingles give my home the look of cedar shakes or slate?

Yes! Laminated asphalt shingles are created with these styles in mind. Architectural, or dimensional, shingles are especially popular. They have the three-dimensional look of more expensive wood shakes.

Roofing product manufacturers also produce synthetic slate options. These alternatives can give your roof a million-dollar look without a million-dollar price tag.

How much do asphalt shingles cost?

“Asphalt shingles cost much less than other shingle types such as tile or slate,” Jeff Frantz, CertainTeed’s Washington, D.C. metro area territory manager for roofing products says. “In addition, several options have 25-40% solar reflectivity.”

Why does solar reflectivity matter? The solar reflectivity of shingles helps determine Energy Star compliance. Qualified roofing products can reduce peak cooling demand by up to 15%. Combined with proper installation and ventilation, this extra cooling translates to lower annual energy costs.

You can also qualify for a federal tax credit of up to 10% of material cost when you use qualifying EnergyStar products. Bottom line: the realized savings of asphalt shingles may be far greater than the cost of the materials alone.

How long do asphalt shingles last?

Asphalt shingles typically last about 10-15 years, but Long Roofing offers a 50-year lifetime, non-prorated, transferrable warranty because they know that properly installed asphalt shingles last much longer. This unique warranty also covers full replacement value, which isn’t necessarily common in the industry.

Do asphalt shingles require a lot of maintenance?

Asphalt shingles are low-maintenance. They do not need to be cleaned, power washed, painted or sealed. Multiple roofs with many elevation changes may require leaves and debris be removed from intersecting valleys. This kind of clutter can obstruct the flow of water to the gutters.

Want asphalt shingles on your roof replacement?

Asphalt shingles are an important component of an affordable roof replacement. Long Roofing specializes in asphalt shingle replacement and installation using CertainTeed roofing products and installation. For more information or a free estimate, contact us today.

When you need a new roof, contact Long Roofing online to get a price, schedule a free, in-home consultation or find answers to any home roofing questions.

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