Asphalt shingles are composed of: a base material, either organic felt or glass-fiber mat, that provides support for the weather-resistant components and gives a shingle strength; asphalt and fillers; and surfacing material, generally in the form of mineral granules, that provides protection from impact and UV degradation and improves fire resistance.
The most common form of asphalt shingles are strip shingles. They are rectangular, the most prevalent size being 12 inches wide by 36 inches long. Metric shingles are 13-1/4 inches by 39-3/8 inches. Strip shingles most frequently have three tabs that are exposed along the length of the shingle for visual effect and are called 3 tab strip shingles.
Shingles may be produced in a single layer or two or more layers. The latter generally are known as laminated strip shingles, or architectural shingles, and they have a three dimensional appearance.
In recent years, enhancements to the dimensional shingle have resulted in a new generation of high-quality asphalt roofing products with distinctive, often dramatic, appearances.
Asphalt shingles are the most commonly used roofing material in North America mainly because they are economical and versatile, work well on steep-sloped roofs, are sunlight and weather resistant, require little-to-no maintenance and are reasonably priced. In addition, asphalt shingles are also easy to cut, fasten, and fit, as well as being compatible with many different kinds of flashing and edging products. Furthermore, they don't require specialized accessories for roof edges, wall terminations, and chimney or vent flashings.
These shingles are typically reinforced by organic or fiberglass material. Fiberglass shingles use fiberglass reinforcing mat, while the organic kind use a cellulose-fiber mat derived from wood. Fiberglass roofing shingles are more popular because they are more fire resistant, tear resistant, last longer, and are the most budget-friendly. They are also thinner, lighter, and easier to lug around.
Asphalt shingles now come in all kinds of colors and profiles, and to enhance the aesthetic pleasure of asphalt roofing shingles they may be coated with special laminate to provide an eye pleasing texture. They also can come equipped with zinc plating to protect against algae build up. Keep in mind, any and all additional features will increase the pricing of your roof, but asphalt shingles are still going to be the most affordable roofing option.
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