Asphalt Fiberglass Shingles Commentary

Asphalt Fiberglass Shingles Commentary

Asphalt shingles were first developed over 160 years ago! Improvements over the years have brought us todays popular three tab shingles and the laminated (aka dimensional, aka architectural, aka composite) shingle. The shingles are coated with a layer of weather resistant stone granules which gives the shingles decorative appeal. The stone granules also help reflect the suns rays. Around 1970 fiberglass mats became popular filler material in asphalt shingles. The mats covered in layers of asphalt made the shingles lighter and because fiberglass is non absorbent, the process used less asphalt. It seemed like a win-win situation. There were however some setbacks with asphalt fiberglass shingles early on due to failures and blow-offs. Reformulating asphalt fiberglass shingles and educating the workforce in installation procedures proved successful. Shortly after asphalt fiberglass shingles, were introduced, manufactures began experimenting with multiple layers and partial layers of asphalt fiberglass and the laminate asphalt fiberglass shingle was introduced. These shingles have depth and aesthetic characteristics not available with standard tab asphalt fiberglass shingles. Laminate shingles cost more than tab shingles.

Asphalt fiberglass shingles are the most widely used roofing product in North America today; covering form 75 to 80% of all homes.

Asphalt fiberglass shingles are mass produced and are readily available at home improvement stores and most lumber yards therefore, costs are very competitive making them them best initial value in new home roofing materials.

Asphalt fiberglass shingles are sold by the bundle and by the square, which is100 square feet. Typically, three bundles of US made shingles covers 100 square feet. Metric shingles are a little bigger and cover slghtly more area.

The price for the roof will need to include all the roofing accessories; rolled roofing felt (tar paper) underlayment, drip edge, flashings, fasteners, adhesives, roof vents, cap shingles etc. Be sure to total the costs of the shingles and the accessories when calculating roofing costs. When getting quotes its not out of the question for the cost of the accessories to tip the overall material cost higher (on one quote vs. another), even if the shingle price is less.

Labor is typically priced by the bundles or number of squares used, with extra charges for steeper slopes, bay windows, pigeon ledges, returns, fireplace chases etc.

Asphalt fiberglass roof costs will vary by location and other factors. Material and installation can run from $225 to $350 per square (100 square feet).

Asphalt fiberglass shingles perform well in many varied weather extremes; wind, heat, snow, rain, etc. Manufacturers also provide a wind rating for their shingles, which indicates up to what wind speeds the shingles should continue to perform.

Shingles can be purchased with lifespan ratings ranging from 25 to 50 years, although the way manufactures rate their shingles now it is harder to compare. Many manufactures, especially of laminate shingles, are now using a limited lifetime warranty to entice you to purchase. Be warned: you should focus on the limited part and not the lifetime part of the warranty.

The proper installation of the shingles and other required flashings and sealants will affect the water tightness of any roof product. Other factors such as attic ventilation, home insulation and air sealing will also contribute to the life of this roof product.

Asphalt fiberglass shingles will need to be replaced several times during the life of the home. This can make the cost asphalt fiberglass shingles over the lifetime of the home higher than any other roofing material.

Asphalt fiberglass shingles are easy to install (by skilled workers) and take no special tools except for required safety equipment. Asphalt fiberglass shingles are packaged in bundles which cover about 33 square feet (a little more if they are metric). Three bundles will cover about 100 square feet of roof area.

Most manufactures print their installation instructions on the packaging. Installation should be done in accordance with these instructions or the warranty could be affected. Most packaging will also contain a batch or run number. All shingles for the roof should be from the same batch or run.

Asphalt fiberglass shingles can be punctured by relatively small falling branches in treed areas. Repairs are fairly easy.

Tab shingles come in a variety of styles in addition to the basic three tab shingle. There are shingles that emulate clay tiles and a variety of other shapes.

Laminate shingles were developed to emulate the look of wood shingles. There can be wide differences in the amount of dimension between products.

The colors of the granular stone surface on asphalt fiberglass shingles varies greatly and you will find dozens of colors from which to choose. Keep in mind that the surface color on each shingle will vary even on different parts of the same shingle. All shingles will fade and all will look different in various daylight conditions and also when wet.

Other factors

  • Asphalt is a petroleum based product and as such, pricing will fluctuate based on the cost of a barrel of oil.
  • While there are some recycling options for asphalt fiberglass shingles (it can be blended with asphalt for road paving), most new construction scrap still goes into landfills.
  • Some manufactures are touting new granular surfaces that reduce solar heat gain.
  • There can be some leaching of chemicals into roof run-off water.

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