With so many roofing materials available, the choices can seem overwhelming. Asphalt shingles are one of the most popular choices for Connecticut homeowners. They can provide excellent protection at a fraction of the cost of some other materials, but they do have some drawbacks. Here is a summary of the pros and cons of an asphalt roof.
Two types of asphalt shingles are commonly used. Organic shingles consist of waste paper that is saturated with asphalt to make it waterproof and have coatings of adhesive salt and ceramic granules on top. Fiberglass shingles consist of a base layer of glass fiber reinforcing mat. The mat is coated with asphalt that contains mineral fillers to make the shingles waterproof.
Organic shingles are more durable than the fiberglass variety, but they are also more flammable. Due to the high oil-based asphalt content, they are less environmentally friendly. Fiberglass shingles offer better fire protection and are slowly but surely replacing organic asphalt shingles. Homeowners choose asphalt roofs for several reasons:
• The greatest advantage of asphalt shingles is their relatively low cost. An asphalt roof can protect your home for 12 to 15 years at a modest cost.
• Asphalt shingles come in many styles and colors. You can choose from 3-Tab (the basic and least costly option), Laminated (Architectural), and Premium. Architectural shingles can provide an attractive three-dimensional look that imitates the appearance of natural wood or slate shingles. Asphalt shingles are made in an array of colors and patterns for a custom design.
• Asphalt shingles are easier to install than other roofing materials. They are lightweight enough that they can be installed on most roofs without requiring additional structural support. An asphalt roof can typically be installed in just a few days.
Asphalt shingles do have some drawbacks:
• Asphalt roofing is durable, but not as durable as some other materials, such as metal, cedar, slate, or clay tile.
• Asphalt shingles can be damaged if they are installed at temperatures below freezing or if there are attic ventilation issues. Less expensive asphalt shingles are susceptible to wind uplift. Extreme temperature variations can cause the shingles to expand, contract, and crack. Extreme heat can make them lose color.
• An asphalt roof requires regular maintenance and repairs.
• Asphalt shingles are less environmentally friendly than other materials. They are a petroleum-based product, and greenhouse gases are emitted when they are produced. Old asphalt shingles are typically not recycled.