Asphalt shingles are currently the most popular type of residential roof material for a variety of reasons. They are relatively inexpensive, starting at around $1.80 per square foot installed and go up from there. Things that determine cost are geographical location, slope of the roof, height of the building, ease of access to the premises, complexity of the project, the particular type of shingle and numerous other factors. Asphalt shingles are very simple to install enabling many homeowners to do the work themselves. They come in a variety of colors and styles, are fairly durable (some have been tested and have achieved a class IV hail rating – the highest available!), and can be easily repaired and maintained.
WHAT ARE THEY?
Asphalt shingles come in two basic types: glass fiber (a.k.a. fiber glass) and organic. Organic shingles consist of an organic felt material which is generally paper saturated with asphalt to make it waterproof. A top coating of adhesive asphalt is then applied and the ceramic granules are then embedded. Organic shingles contain around 40% more asphalt per square (100 sq. ft.) than their glass fiber counterpart which makes them weigh more and gives them excellent durability and blow-off resistance. Glass fiber shingles have a glass fiber reinforcing mat manufactured to the shape of the shingle. This mat is then coated with asphalt which contains mineral fillers. The glass fiber mat is not waterproof by itself. It’s purpose is for reinforcement. What makes the glass fiber shingle waterproof is the asphalt. However, the asphalt itself will not stick to the mat. For this reason, “fillers” are used. The fillers in the asphalt cling to the glass fibers in the mat. The asphalt then encapsulates the glass fibers, fills all of the little holes and voids in the mat rendering it waterproof. After this cools a bit, an adhesive asphalt is used to cover the mat and the ceramic granules are then embedded. The ceraminc granules are there for two reasons. The primary reason is to protect the shingles from the sun. The sun’s UV rays are very damaging to asphalt and cause it to deteriorate prematurely. This is one of the same reasons that gravel is used on built-up roofs. The second and more obvious reason for the granules is aesthetics. Asphalt shingles are available in a wide variety of colors to match almost any facade or landscape. So which type is better? By far, the more popular shingles are the glass fiber ones. This may be attributed to the fact that they are cheaper and easier to manufacturer than organic shingles making them more cost effective to the homeowner, or it may be that they are easier to work with, or they may simply be a personal preference of the roofing contractor.
HOW LONG DO THEY LAST?
The lifespan of asphalt shingles depends highly upon the environment. Shingles in cooler climates such as the northern United States seem to last longer than those installed in the warmer climates. Studies have shown that the average lifespan for a 20 year shingle in Phoenix, Arizona is around 14 years. In Minneapolis, Minnesota the lifespan was 19.5 years. And in Reading, Pennsylvania, the lifespan was 20.8 years. From this data it seems obvious that the hotter the environment is, the shorter the service life of the shingles.
Roof Remodeling 101
For most of us the roof is an afterthought — at least until it starts to leak. In addition to keeping the house dry, the roof contributes greatly to the look of the house, so when building a new house, adding on, or re-roofing, it may pay to consider the options. When it comes to roof remodeling, there are a number of areas homeowners need to be aware of—from selecting a contractor to the actual start of work of the roof remodeling.
How do I find a professional roofing contractor for my roof remodeling?
Not surprisingly, there are a number of pitfalls to which homeowners can fall victim, including evaluating and hiring a contractor without a personal interview, judging estimates on low price only, selecting products without comparison shopping, and not understanding reroofing basics. We suggest reading our brochure Choosing a Professional Roofer which outlines what questions to ask in evaluating a roofing contractor. You’ll find that being prepared and knowing what to expect when reroofing work begins will help ensure your ultimate satisfaction with your new roof.
Selecting a product
There are several areas to look at when choosing a roofing shingle. To begin, you need to measure your roof. Shingles are priced per square; a square is defined as 100 square feet. Asphalt shingles, which consumers use the most, can cost from $50 to $150 per square. Keep in mind that these costs don’t always include the expense of removing the old roof or the labor involved in a professional installation.
Other factors to consider in roof remodeling
1.) Do I need to obtain a permit to install a new roof on my home?
2.) Is it always necessary to tear off existing shingles before reroofing? If they are torn off, who is responsible for the disposal of the old shingles?
- If there are any defects in the roof deck, they will be revealed when the roof is torn off. These defects should be repaired before applying the new roof.
- If condensation problems exist in the attic, they too will be revealed when the roof is torn off. Properly designed attic ventilation can then be installed in order to help eliminate such problems.
- When the old roof is torn off, waterproofing shingle underlayment can be installed before applying the new roof. This will help protect against leaks created by cyclical ice damage and wind-driven rain.
- Tearing off the old roof and starting with a clean deck before reroofing may result in a smoother finished roof system.
3.) Why is it said that a roof should breathe? How can you determine if the roof is properly ventilated?
- Reduce attic heat buildup
- Reduce attic moisture and condensation
- Prevent weather infiltration, i.e., drifting snow, wind-driven rain
- Prevent ice dam build-up
4.) What function does shingle underlayment serve?