Asphalt Roof 101: How It Works, Pros and Cons and What to Expect

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the detailed image of an asphalt roof

Asphalt is an excellent material that withstood the test of time. Asphalt is a powerful preservative, waterproofing, and adhesive agent. Surely that’s why, for the past 150 years, specialists from the roofing industry have preferred this petroleum byproduct as their main working material. An asphalt roof is firm, durable and impenetrable, making it extremely dependable for residential or commercial buildings. Simultaneously, it has a recognizable look that provides a beautiful complement to most architectural styles. Furthermore, asphalt shingles are so versatile that they can imitate the look of other materials, including wood and slate. The following guide will help you navigate the world of asphalt roofs.

What is an Asphalt Roof?

a detail of a roof made of asphalt shingles

Put simply, an asphalt roof is one that’s made of asphalt shingles. The most widely used roofing material available today, asphalt shingles are mostly used on steep slope roofs. However, advancements in technology and architecture have allowed asphalts shingles to be used for other types of roofing as well. Asphalt shingles today are made in a variety of types, textures, styles, colors, shapes and sizes. They allow for impactful roof designs that can be the cherry on the cake of a beautiful construction. Additionally, they have the ideal weight and solidity for roofing. These characteristics make them a long-lasting, durable and dependable material.

A truly versatile material, asphalt can be used in a variety of different forms when being made into shingles. Although their composition may vary, they usually contain an organic or fiberglass base that’s saturated with asphalt or modified asphalt. Sometimes it may have a granular stone aggregate as its finishing touch. This stone has the purpose of blocking ultra-violet light. Through processing, manufacturers can achieve many different colors and textures without reducing the material’s performance. An interesting variation, asphalt roll roofing is another approach with many supporters.

Pros and Cons of Asphalt Roofs

a huge mansion made of tiles and shingles

Pros of Asphalt Roofs

• More affordable than other materials: Upfront, asphalt roof costs are surprisingly low. With an average lifespan of 15 to 20 years, they are a very reasonable option that will help reduce overall costs. Additionally, asphalt roof shingles tend to have a very good quality despite their low upfront price.

• Class A fire rating: Asphalt roofing shingles are among the materials least susceptible to fire. This is especially true in the case of shingles with a fiberglass mat, with offer the most advanced type of protection against fire penetration and fire spread.

• Easy to install: Being able to install most roofing materials requires extensive training. However, one can do asphalt roofing with ease as long as it is a professional roofing contractor. Homeowners knowledgeable in DIY construction and repair will also be capable of performing the installation. Fortunately, specialists and roofing contractors can install asphalt shingle roofs without special tools of any kind. Additionally, their light weight makes them easy to handle without the need of you being physically strong.

• Amazingly Versatile: Besides being available in many shapes and forms, one can place asphalt shingles in various angles, allowing for many different roofing solutions. Additionally, manufacturers produce them in a stunning variety of colors and textures. As if that wasn’t enough, they can simulate rich materials and elegant architectural styles.

Cons of Asphalt Roofs

• Low Tolerance to Weather Change: Asphalt shingles are at their best in even, stable climates. Fast change of climatological and environmental conditions are often able to damage asphalt roofs by producing cracks, loss of granite, separation of the base and other problems.

• Low Tolerance to Extreme Cold: Below freezing temperatures can easily damage asphalt roof shingles, sometimes leaving them useless. For this reason, experts do not recommend them in locations where temperatures get extremely low.

• Not environmentally friendly: Because they essentially contain petroleum, asphalt shingles are not an environmentally friendly product. The production of petroleum based products uses a lot of energy and augments greenhouse gas emissions. However, you can easily recycle asphalt roofing shingles, reducing their environmental impact by a considerable amount.

• Susceptible to Moisture: By a large, asphalt shingles are resistant to exterior elements. However, damage to surrounding structures can allow water to leak below them. Eventually, the resulting moisture can damage the structural integrity of the shingles.

What to Expect from Asphalt Roofs

Installing a new asphalt roof is a big decision. Without a doubt, the process is not the easiest or fastest. However, it doesn’t have to be terribly painful either. One of the best ways to ensure that everything goes smoothly is hiring a professional roofing company. They will take care of the entire process in a calculated, efficient manner.

Expect to have the shingles delivered to your home a few days before the installation starts. People involved should think about bringing a portable dumpster. This way, you will take care of the resulting debris in a proper way. If the job is a replacement of older shingles, it is likely you will be able to recycle them. Usually, workers use plastic covers to protect the sides of the house.

Generally, the process will be over within one day. Once this process comes to an end, you or others will have to perform some final touchups in order to ensure everything is perfect. Then, the crew will get rid of all resulting debris, paying extra care to things such as loose nails. Finally, you need to remove the covers and pick up the dumpster. This is necessary if you want to leave your home as good as new. However, it’s important to make sure everything is perfect before they leave.

Bottom Line

Overall, asphalt is an effective, durable and dependable material for roofing. Although it is particularly fit for residential buildings, its versatility makes it possible for homeowners and architects to adapt it to several different styles of construction. Offering high quality at low costs, asphalt shingles constitute a smart investment that adds to the value of any home. Despite being light and easy to install, they provide the kind of solid and durable protection that homeowners always appreciate. Additionally, rolled asphalt roofing provides an alternative that suits outbuildings and flat roofs amazingly. Truly, asphalt roofs will never go out of style.

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