What Are Asphalt Roofing Shingles?

Spring is a great time to consider re-roofing your home.  With that in mind, in this post and next, we will take some time to discuss roofing options.  This week we will be considering asphalt roofing shingles.  Asphalt shingles are currently one of the most popular roofing options available – in part because of their ease of use and durability, and in part, because of their price.
Asphalt is often considered a premier roofing material because of its ability to act as a waterproofing agent.  In addition, asphalt effectively holds shingle granules in place, adding to the material’s overall strength and durability.  Asphalt shingles come in two basic types – glass fiber, also known as fiber glass, and organic.  Organic shingles are composed of an organic felt material saturated with asphalt to make it waterproof.  A top coating of adhesive asphalt is then applied and the ceramic granules are embedded.  Organic shingles contain, on average, forty-percent more asphalt per sqaure foot than their glass fiber counterparts, making them weigh more and giving them both durability and blow-off resistance.  Organic shingles work best in cold, dry climates and, as such, are less common in the Midwest.  Alternately, glass fiber shingles are made from a base layer of glass fiber reinforcing mat.  The mat is coated with asphalt containing mineral filler, making the shingle waterproof.

In addition to their durability, asphalt shingles are also relatively inexpensive, starting at around $0.80 per square foot installed and increasing from there.  Sold in squares that cover a area of 100 square feet, an individual shingle is 36 inches long and 12 inches wide with tabs cut every 12 inches halfway through the width of each shingle – increments that make the shingles both easy to work with and to install!

Stay tuned for our next post in which we will be looking at another roofing alternative – energy star shingles!