Asphalt Roof

Two types of asphalt shingles are used: organic and fiberglass or glass fiber. Organic shingles are generally paper (waste paper) saturated with asphalt to make it waterproof, then a top coating of adhesive asphalt is applied and ceramic granules are then embedded. In the case of algae-resistant shingles, a portion of the granules contain leachable copper ceramically coated, designed to protect against discoloration from algae on the roof. This does not protect from moss growth but does slow the growth. Moss likes to feed on algae and any other debris on the roof. Most manufactures offer a 5- to 10-year warranty against algae growth; 3M (scotchgard TM) offers a 20-year warranty.

Shingles are judged by warranty and ASTM test standards. Organic shingles contain around 40% more asphalt per square (100 sq ft.) than fiberglass shingles. But this extra needed asphalt makes them less environmentally friendly (despite its “organic” nickname). The paper-based nature of “organic” shingles leaves them more prone to fire damage, and their highest FM rating for fire is class “B”. Shingle durability is ranked by warranted life, ranging from 20 years to 50 years; in some cases lifetime warranties are available.

Fiberglass shingles have a base layer of glass fiber reinforcing mat. The mat is made from wet, random-laid fiberglass bonded with urea-formaldehyde resin. The mat is then coated with asphalt which contains mineral fillers and makes the fiberglass shingle waterproof. Fiberglass shingles typically obtain a class “A” fire rating as the fiberglass mat resists fire better than organic/paper mats. Fiberglass reinforcement was devised as the replacement for asbestos paper reinforcement of roofing shingles and typically ranges from 1.8 to 2.3 pounds/square foot.

The older organic (wood and paper pulp product) versions were very durable and hard to tear, an important property when considering wind uplift of shingles in heavy storms. Fiberglass is slowly replacing felt reinforcement in Canada and has replaced mostly all in the United States. Widespread hurricane damage in Florida during the 1990s prompted the industry to adhere to a 1700-gram tear value on finished asphalt shingles.

A newer design of fiberglass asphalt shingle, called laminated or architectural, uses two distinct layers which are bonded together with asphalt sealant. Laminate shingles are heavier, more expensive, and arguably more durable than traditional 3-tab shingle designs. Laminated shingles also give a more varied, contoured visual effect to a roof surface.

Per 2003 International Building Code Sections 1507.2.1 and 1507.2.2, asphalt shingles shall only be used on roof slopes of two units vertical in 12 units horizontal (17% slope) or greater. Asphalt shingles shall be fastened to solidly sheathed decks.