There are a few different types of asphalt shingles. Comparison of these shingles is separated between the two major types; the organic and the non-organic (fiberglass).
Organic asphalt shingles were created in the late-1800s being a by-product of tar and asphalt-impregnated felts that were used for flat roofs. Early shingles contained cotton or wool fiber derived from old rags and was given the name “rag felt.”
From the early 1940s to the late 1970s an asphalt shingle was made from recycled waste paper or wood fiber. Inorganic asphalt, made primarily from fiberglass, has been the main type of asphalt used since the late 70’s. Fiberglass asphalt shingles comprise a majority of the residential roofing market. Organic shingles are still popular in the Midwest and Northeast because they are more flexible and are easier to install in colder weather that is found in these regions.
The Making of Asphalt Shingles
Asphalt shingles are produced in a variety of colors and are rated by their lifespan and durability. Organic asphalt is pre-saturated and then coated with a mineral-stabilized material such as limestone, slate, flyash, or traprock. Inorganic asphalt is coated with the same mineral-stabilized material but is not pre-saturated and provides increased resistance to fire and weather. Organic and inorganic asphalt shingles both have a laminated version. Any asphalt shingle has a typical form, which is a 36-inch by 12-inch three-tab strip. This gives the illusion of single tiles.
Aside from their different mode of creation it is hard to compare and contrast one type of shingle with another except in the company that creates it. Since different companies have different formulas for their asphalt shingles, a consumer review or organizations such as the American Society for Testing Material (ASTM) and the Insurance Institute for Property Loss Prevention can provides results of their studies for comparison.
Until recently shingles were categorized by weight such as 235, 240, 280 pounds, etc. The more weight, the more life you would get out of your shingle. Companies today give warranty life spans for shingle durability such as 20, 25, 30, or 40-year.
The ASTM has a strength and durability standard for all asphalt shingles called D3462 or the “Standard Specification for Asphalt Shingles Made from Glass Felt and Surfaced with Mineral Granules.” According to them, all but the 20 and 25 year shingles met the D3462 requirement. When shopping for asphalt shingles it is good to find out that particular shingle’s D3462 rating.
Each region in the United States has different standards for their asphalt shingles. Companies in the Northwest create shingles that a polyester as well as fiberglass with an SBS rubberized asphalt to give the shingle extra flexibility and tear resistance for the cold temperatures.
In the South of Florida Shingles must meet 100m.p.h. wind standards to be approved since it is in a high hurricane area (the normal wind standard is 80m.p.h). Also, Florida shingles have to withstand a temperature shock test due to the extreme heat of a shingle and the sudden reduction of that temperature due to thunderstorms and rain.
Marking the differences between asphalt shingles to see which is the better buy and protection for your money will a chore. The factors involved such as region where you live and the company who manufactures the shingle will make for an involved process to decide which is better for your home.
photo by throwingstick -CreativeCommons Attribution