Discovered over five thousand years ago, asphalt is one of nature's most useful and plentiful materials. Today, due to advances in technology, asphalt roofing shingles are an eco-friendly, excellent choice for home protection.
Durability, versatility and economy are three reasons why asphalt roofing shingles are the primary choice for residential roofing in the United States. According to the Asphalt Roofing Association, four out of five homes are roofed with asphalt shingles and over 12.5 billion square feet of asphalt shingle products are produced each year. That’s enough to cover more than 5 million homes annually!
Asphalt shingle manufacturers are constantly seeking ways to offer homeowners new products in many colors, styles, and textures. With such a wide range of possibilities, asphalt shingles enhance almost every type of architectural design and can do it affordably.
Asphalt shingles are manufactured in two classifications; organic-based or fiberglass-based. Organic-based products are made with a base mat of various cellulose fibers, usually recycled paper or wood fibers. The mat is saturated with an asphalt coating and covered with mineral granules to give a weather resistant surface. Fiberglass-based asphalt shingles are made with a mat of glass fibers. This fiberglass base is also given an asphalt coating and a surface of weather-resistant mineral granules.
The "three-tab" shingle is the most common type of strip shingle manufactured. Textural and shadowing effects on a roof can be achieved depending on the number, shape and alignment of these shingles. Laminated shingles are made with more than one layer of tabs to create extra thickness. Roofers commonly refer to them as three-dimensional or architectural shingles because their thickness gives greater visual depth and a custom look to a roof. The popularity of laminated shingles grows each year among builders, roofing contractors and homeowners.
Some innovative roofing manufacturers now make asphalt shingles that go far beyond primary types and standard features. Atlas Roofing, for example, now produces three shingle lines made with HP Technology, which includes enhanced characteristics that benefit the homeowner. StormMaster® Slate, StormMaster® Shake, and Pinnacle Pristine® featuring Scotchgard™ Protector are also warranted against algae streaks and algae stains for the life of the roof.
All asphalt shingles have a factory-applied adhesive strip that is activated by the sun's heat after installation. This provides shingles with resistance to wind uplift. However, Atlas shingles built with HP Technology have not one, but two lines of a sealant, called FASTAC®, and are warranted to withstand winds up to 130 mph. Shingles with a greater exposure, a wider 1 1/4-inch “sweet spot” nailing area, and a 4-nail system that reduces time spent on your roof also make these shingles hard to beat.
Even upon reaching the “end of life” phase, asphalt shingles can be easily recycled, which lowers the volume of debris put in landfills, reduces demand for virgin asphalt, and lessens production costs for hot mix asphalt (HMA). After sorting out unacceptable material, clean asphalt shingles are ground into a powder-like product called RAS (Recycled Asphalt Shingles). Several state departments of transportation are now reaping the financial benefits of using RAS in road construction projects.