Shingles 101: A Homeowner’s Guide to Roof Repair in Dearborn Michigan
A good strong roof is an essential feature of any Michigan home, offering protection from the worst that the elements can throw at it. Smart homeowners place a high priority on regular inspection and roof repair services by a reputable roofing company. In that manner, you can catch problems before they lead to costly water leaks and other forms of damage.
The majority of roofs consist of overlapping asphalt shingles, which provide the primary line of defense against the elements. Yet despite the central importance of this component, many people fail to understand even the basic facts about roofing shingles. Unfortunately, this oversight can have negative ramifications for both your roof and your wallet.
Smart homeowners should take the time to understand as much as they about the shingles that make up their roof. This article provides a valuable introduction to the world of asphalt shingles, discussing the various types of shingle currently on the market, and the benefits of having a Dearborn roofing repair expert install each one.
Asphalt Roofing Shingles
Although a variety of alternate roofing materials exist — everything from metal, to wood, to ceramic tiles — asphalt shingles have earned their place as the most popular way to protect a roof. This popularity stems from two key attributes of asphalt shingles: their relatively low cost compared to other materials, as well as their excellent long-term performance.
The Parts of an Asphalt Shingle
There are several different types of asphalt shingles available today, which we’ll get into a little later on. First, however, it will be helpful to understand some of the structural features that all asphalt shingles have in common:
The bottom layer of a shingle goes by the name of the mat. The mat gives the shingle an underlying degree of stability, while also giving the coating of asphalt something to soak into. Yet the mat itself does not have any waterproofing properties — that’s where the asphalt comes in. Asphalt’s naturally hydrophobic nature allows it to easily keep water from penetrating to the vulnerable parts of your roof.
Finally, on top of the asphalt are a layer of granules made from aggregate crushed down to a uniform size. The granules serve several important jobs. To begin with, they provide a layer of protection for the underlying asphalt. In particular, the granules help to shield the asphalt from sunlight, which contains ultraviolet rays that would otherwise cause the asphalt to degrade prematurely.
The granules also improve the shingle’s resistance to fire. In the event of a nearby fire, the layer of granules makes it more difficult for cinders and/or sparks to settle directly on the asphalt. As a result, certain types of asphalt shingles can even earn a Class A fire resistance rating — the highest possible rating.
Different Types of Asphalt Shingles
Asphalt shingles get somewhat more complicated when it comes to variations in the basic framework outlined above. Not only do different types of asphalt shingles use different materials for the mat and/or granules, but they often go by different names as well. This can cause confusion for homeowners trying to understand potential roofing options.
The most basic type of asphalt shingle is distinguished by the fact that it uses fiberglass as its mat material. The mat consists of woven fiberglass strands which are held together by a special formula of urea-formaldehyde resin. Since they were first introduced in the 1980s, fiberglass shingles have quickly become the most common type of asphalt shingle.
As a result, some manufacturers may refer to fiberglass shingles simply as asphalt shingles. This can be confusing, since the two other types of shingles discussed below are technically also asphalt shingles. Equally confusing, other manufacturers may draw a sharp distinction between fiberglass and asphalt shingles, even though both types contain asphalt.
Fiberglass shingles have risen to a place of prominence thanks to their lightweight nature, as well as their excellent lifespan. Fiberglass shingles may easily last 50 years or more. By contrast, traditional asphalt shingles — discussed below under their other common name of organic shingles — tend to have lifespans of between 20 and 40 years.
Architectural vs 3-Tab Fiberglass Shingles
To make matters even more complicated, fiberglass shingles break down into two different types: architectural shingles and 3-tab shingles. 3-tab shingles are the more common. Such shingles all have a uniform size. Architectural shingles, by contrast, utilize a variety of shapes and sizes to give your roof a more unique, one-of-a-kind appearance.
Architectural shingles are also generally thicker than standard 3-tab shingles. As a result, they are rated for higher wind-speeds, and generally come with longer warranties than 3-tab shingles. Homeowners who opt for architectural shingles should understand that they cost significantly more. However, this extra cost can in part be off-set by the improvement that architectural shingles can bring to a home’s value.
Before the advent of fiberglass shingles, asphalt shingles were known simply as asphalt shingles. To help differentiate them from fiberglass singles, manufacturers began referring to them as organic shingles. The history of organic shingles goes all the way back to the early 20th century, when felt rag was first introduced as a matting material.
Today, most organic shingles use some combination of cellulose, wood fiber, and recycled or waste paper as their as their mat. As with fiberglass shingles the mat is then saturated with asphalt. Finally, a second application of asphalt is added, along with a protective coating of granules.
Organic shingles differ from fiberglass shingles in a number of ways. To begin with, organic shingles tend to be both heavier and thicker, due to the fact that they contain about 40 percent more asphalt per square foot than fiberglass shingles. This added weight makes organic shingles more costly to transport and install. On the other hand, it gives organic shingles an extra degree of ruggedness.
Nonetheless, organic shingles tend to have shorter lifespans than their fiberglass counterparts. If the protective coating of asphalt becomes compromised, the absorbent mat will quickly start soaking up water, leading to rot and other problems. Organic shingles are also more prone to warping, tearing, and other forms of damage.
The paper-based mat of organic shingles also makes them more vulnerable to fire. As a result, most organic shingles earn Class B fire ratings at best. Finally, organic shingles are increasingly seen as less environmentally friendly, due to their higher proportion of asphalt. As the price of asphalt and other petroleum-based products increases, organic shingles are losing the economic advantage they once held over fiberglass shingles.
Despite their numerous advantages over other roofing systems, the types of asphalt shingles discussed above may create problems when it comes to a home’s energy efficiency. The naturally black coloration of asphalt shingles means that they tend to soak up heat from the sun.
Over the course of a full sunny day, a roof can absorb a significant amount of heat in this manner. As this heat migrates down into your home, it may cause your HVAC system to work harder than it should to maintain optimal comfort conditions, especially during the hot Michigan summers.
With more and more homeowners focusing on this kind of energy efficiency — as well as broader concerns about environmental responsibility — manufacturers responded by developing what are known as cool shingles. In most regards, cool shingles are just the same as fiberglass shingles. The key difference lies in the granules used to coat the surface of the shingle.
The granules used on regular asphalt shingles tend to increase the rate of unwanted heat absorption. The granules used on cool shingles, by contrast, are coated with substances that makes them far more reflective. As a result, the sun’s rays bounce right off the surface of your roof, rather than soaking into it.
Not only does this reduce the burden placed on your air conditioning system, but it helps to spare your roof itself from heat-based wear and tear. Shingles that absorb the sun’s ultraviolet rays tend to become oxidized and brittle much more quickly, eventually developing cracks that can lead to destructive leaks. Cool shingles have an additional layer of defense against such degradation.
Homeowners should understand that cool shingles tend to cost more than other types of asphalt shingles. Therefore, it is important to educate yourself about the particular cool shingles you are thinking of buying, since not all cool shingles will offer the same degree of protection.
Fortunately, most manufacturers now express the power of a cool shingle in terms of the Solar Reflective Index, or SRI. SRI encompasses both the solar reflectance and the thermal emittance of a cool shingle. Don’t worry too much about what those concepts mean. Instead, just know that the higher the SRI rating, the better a shingle can reflect and radiate unwanted heat.
No matter what kind of shingles you choose for your roof, to get the most out of them you will need to have them installed and maintained by an experienced contractor. To learn more about your shingle options, as well as the roof repair services we offer in Dearborn, Michigan, please contact the trusted professionals at Roofing Dearborn.
With spring just starting to make itself noticeable, it’s important that your roof is in great shape. That’s why you should immediately contact this roofing repair Dearborn MI service and make sure your home’s roof is in good condition to face the upcoming increase in precipitation.
Winter usually means an increase in snow and that can lead to some structural damage to your roof. The weight of the snow can displace shingles and can create cracks and crannies here and there. These little tears or the displaced shingles are enough for moisture to get in and create conditions for mold or mildew to form. In turn, this can lead to allergies to develop and nobody wants to deal with that. Never mind the fact that moisture can also lead to significant structural damage if not addressed in due time.
That’s why it’s important you contact roofing repair Dearborn MI immediately and have them inspect and come up with viable, cost-efficient and time-saving options for your roofing needs. They offer a free consultation and estimate on the services needed, so you don’t have any good reason to not contact them immediately and get an expert’s point of view on the matter.