Asphalt shingles, or asphalt roof tiles, are one of the most popular choices for residential roofs in the United States. They are inexpensive to manufacture, simple to install, and affordable for homeowners. They provide competitive weatherproofing and insulation with a muted look that fits nearly any style of home.
What is an Asphalt Roof Shingle?
Asphalt shingles are made of a solid, insulating base and a coating of a petroleum-based deposit known as asphalt. The asphalt coating consists of hydrocarbons, carboxylic acids, and asphaltenes.
Asphalt occurs in large amounts naturally, but most commercial-grade asphalt is derived from petroleum. Derivation helps asphalt shingle manufacturers ensure a uniform level of weatherproofing and insulation across all asphalt shingle roofs.
There are 2 types of bases for asphalt shingles.
A shingle with an organic base is composed of material that was once living. The material may include:
- Wood pulp
Fibrous materials are combined with asphalt to increase density and create a waterproof seal. Granules of ceramic are then added to the asphalt mix. The finished tile is less susceptible to damage from the cold than a fiberglass-based tile.
Fiberglass, or glass fibers woven in a resin matrix, makes up the first layer of fiberglass-based asphalt roof tiles. The mat of fiberglass is reinforced with asphalt to fill in areas where water can penetrate the surface.
Fiberglass is naturally more resistant to fire than organic material. However, fiberglass shingles are not as capable of resisting high winds and damage from the sun.
What are the advantages of asphalt shingles?
Asphalt shingles are the most popular choice for new residential and commercial roofs because of their:
Asphalt is so abundant and easy to install that roofing costs are minimal nationwide. Asphalt is resistant to weather and tearing, keeping the year-round cost of maintenance low.
In warm areas, asphalt tiles reflect enough sun to provide insulation that won’t cause your air conditioner to run all day. The ceramic granules also help deflect direct sunlight.
With proper flashing, asphalt roofing keeps storm rains and snow from causing leaks in your home. The tiles will keep water from damaging other important structural elements around the house.
Shape and Texture Variety
Asphalt roof tiles can be colored, finished, layered, and locked in many ways. Options will vary depending on which roofing company you use. Asphalt tiles will also include different grades of weatherproofing, fireproofing, and wind resistance.
How do I maintain asphalt tile?
Houses with asphalt shingles need to have moss and dirt removed as soon as they begin to affect the appearance of the roof.
While tiles are built to be resistant to moss, organic material will eventually begin to grow. It can be killed with a zinc chloride solution spread across the roof. Any algae can also be removed with a solution of bleach and water.
Remove dirt and debris such as sticks and leaves when possible. They could cause water to begin channeling into spaces between tiles and cause premature erosion that will compromise the roof’s weather resistance.
How do roofers apply asphalt roof tiles?
The general process for applying asphalt shingles to a roof is as follows:
- Apply a weather shield
- Stagger sheets of asphalt tile
- Nail tile sheets to the roof
- Trim tiles at the roof’s hips
- Reinforce joints at additional hips and gables
Weather shielding enhances the natural resistance of asphalt and its base. It’s a secondary defense against leaks and sun damage.
Asphalt tiles come in sheets that are easy to layer. Staggering the sheets creates a natural slope that lets water and debris fall into your gutters without letting anything under the tile.
Hips, or places where the angle of your roof changes, need special attention. Tile sheets cannot be laid in these areas. Asphalt shingles must be specially cut to reinforce these areas. Intersections of angled and vertical roof, as well as gables, must also receive specialized protection.
Asphalt tiles are affordable, durable, long-lasting, and easy to maintain. They are the perfect choice for first time home builders and have stood the test of time on the roofs of homes across the United States.