The Benefits of Asphalt Shingles

By: Jessica Deets

Asphalt is a naturally occurring element. Probably more commonly known for its use in building roads, it’s environmentally friendly and one of the world’s oldest building materials. Economic, durable, attractive, and easy to install and maintain, asphalt shingles are the most popular choice for roofing material in the United States.

Starting at less than $1 per square foot, asphalt is an inexpensive roofing option suitable for most building projects. And the simple installation, maintenance, and repair enables many homeowners to complete a roofing project themselves.

Asphalt shingles come in two basic types: fiberglass and organic. Fiberglass shingles are more popular and less expensive. Organic shingles are heavier and more durable. Fillers are added as reinforcement and protection. Asphalt weighs less than concrete, slate, wood, and metal roofing, making it easier and less expensive to install.

Correctly installed, quality manufactured asphalt singles have few problems. Most problems arise from poor installation, improperly ventilated attics, or “spliced” shingles (which should be discarded before installation). A well-ventilated attic is thought to prolong the lifespan of shingles. Of course, there can be other damages to shingles such as debris, falling limbs and trees, and damaging weather conditions. Wind can cause the singles to uplift or tear off, and excess moisture can cause mildew problems.

The cost, maintenance, and lifespan of asphalt shingles depends a good deal on the environment. For the most part, the hotter the weather, the shorter the lifespan of the shingle. Drastic and sudden temperature changes, also called thermal shock can cause shingles to expand and contract too quickly, causing cracks and splits.

Asphalt roofing shingles generally carry a manufacturer’s warranty against defects. However, warranties do not usually cover labor charges or consequential damages. If your home is damaged due to a defective shingles, the warranty is not responsible. Make sure you get a written warranty and understand the terms and limits. Warranties are not valid if the materials were incorrectly installed or if the damage is due to insufficient attic ventilation. Warranties do not cover “acts of God or nature,” which is a common term for natural disaster such as tornadoes, hurricanes, and earthquakes.

Wind causes a substantial amount of shingle damage. Despite other options, asphalt shingles remain the top choice because they are also easy to replace. Heavier roofing materials can become projectiles in high winds, causing further damage on the home. To better protect against other damages, trim limbs away from your home and clear trees that could fall on your roof. Despite all of nature’s forces, asphalt shingle manufacturers engineer their materials to endure the wind, rain, sun, and snow.

Not only is asphalt durable, efficient, and economic, it can also be beautiful and add value to your home. Dozens of colors, textures, and styles, there are even asphalt shingles that look like cedar, tiles, or slate. With so much variety, your roof can be as unique as your imagination. Changing the style of your shingles can make your house a one-of-a-kind in your neighborhood.

Copyright (c) 2006

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Jessica Deets researches the internet and writes about information to help people. You can find out more information about asphalt and see updated news at

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