What are Asphalt Shingles? – Georgia Roof

What are Asphalt Shingles?

grey and black roof shingles

Confused about your roofing options. HGTV makes it easy for you. HGTV reports that “Asphalt Shingles are the most common residential roofing material used in the United States. Asphalt shingles are popular because they are economical and easy to install. These shingles can be reinforced with fiberglass or organic materials (cellulose) without changing the appearance of the shingle”.

Now, let’s look at what they are and the manufacturing process to understand what roofing system you may be putting on your home.

Asphalt Shingles
Asphalt shingles are the dominant roofing option in North America, and they are also found on roofs around the world. They are all manufactured in basically the same way. The process uses a continuous web or sheet which provides the foundation upon which the asphalt and other materials are applied.

Asphalt is the main water-resistant ingredient in shingles. The asphalt used is an end-product somewhat similar in origin to road asphalt. It is processed to a higher degree of strength needed for asphalt shingle roofing. The roofing asphalt has is “oxidized” by blowing air through the hot asphalt, increasing its viscosity. A fine mineral powder is mixed with the asphalt to increase weather resistance and enable the installed shingle layer to meet the highest standards for resistance to fire hazards. The mineral-fortified asphalt “coating” is applied to the fiberglass mat on top and bottom.

The stone granule surfacing is the most visible aspect of asphalt roofing shingles. Hard rock is crushed and screened to exact granular size specifications. In the part of the shingle not exposed to view, the granules are applied as is, in their natural stone-colored state. The granules are processed into a variety of colors via ceramic firing to give them the long-lasting colors used on the exposed part of the shingle. Some shingles feature an algae-resistant granule that helps inhibit discoloration caused by blue-green algae. Many of them meet Energy Star standards, which allows you to save on energy bills.

Spots of a thermally-activated asphalt sealant are applied to the shingles which bonds the shingles together on the roof.

If the shingles are multi-layer laminated shingles, like most shingles installed today, a similar material called laminate is used to adhere the shingle layers together at time of manufacture. The top layer of a typical laminated shingle is called the dragon tooth as it simulates an exaggerated tooth appearance; the bottom layer is called the shim. These asphaltic adhesives are made to ensure they activate at the desired temperature ranges and hold their bond through the rigorous shingle installation process and also during wind events and other roof stresses.

Release Film
The last asphalt roofing shingle component is a material called “release film which looks like a shiny plastic tape about an inch or so wide. It is usually located on the back of the shingles. The release film is what keeps the sealant from premature activation and sticking all the shingles together right in the package. It does its job only while the shingles are in the package. The film serves no purpose once the shingles are installed and it just stays on the back of the shingle. If it is peeled back the shingle coating asphalt underneath looks black and shiny and is a bit sticky. Do not peel the release film off.

Repair a torn asphalt shingle
Home Advisor says that “if you need to repair a torn asphalt shingle, you have to:

  • lift and add roofing cement underneath it
  • then add more roofing cement over the top of it.
  • With a curled corner, you use a roofing nail.
  • With a roof leak you can use metal flashing underneath the roof shingles to prevent water from getting through to the roof deck”.

Asphalt comes in a variety of colors. It is widely available and is one of the least expensive materials.

Depending on your roofing material options, asphalt has a shorter life span. It also doesn’t provide the insulation some other materials can offer.

House Styles
With many architectural styles, especially traditional suburban styles, Asphalt shingles work well.

Life Span
Shingles can last 20 to 25 years if maintained properly.

A roof can be a huge expense but should last you for decades. Do it right the first time and you’ll be in good shape when the winds blow or a storm comes in. In the long run, you’ll also end up saving money making the right decision for you. Make sure you contact a qualified roof specialist to help you make that decision.

At Georgia Roof LLC, we strive to provide nothing but the best service to our customers. Our team has more than 20 years of combined experience that has taught us to value our customers above all. Se habla español. Call for a FREE Estimate 770-280-9978 or Contact Georgia Roof.