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conti roofing on Saturday, December 14, 2013 7:07 AM
Asphalt shingles have come to dominate the residential roofing market as a cost-effective way to protect your roof in the long term, with the added benefit of relatively easy repair and replacement. How are these shingles made and how do they work? Here's what you need to know about asphalt. Asphalt shingles Asphalt comes in two forms: naturally occurring and as a byproduct of crude oil refining. Naturally occurring asphalt (known as bitumen) is often found in deposits such as tar pits. These deposits are actually the remains of living organisms such as algae that have been buried deep underground for centuries or eons. Over time, heat and pressure coverts the remains into a sticky, black substance that is inherently water-resistant. Refined asphalt is produced when the diesel and petroleum gas portions of crude oil are removed, leaving behind a semi-solid hydrocarbon. Asphalt is most commonly used for paving roadways in the United States when combined with sand, small stones and other fillers. The next most common use of asphalt is as roofing material. Slate shingles Slate was the most popular shingle material for hundreds of years, owing to its durability: In many cases, slate can last 50 years or more. This type of shingle wasn't without problems, however, including high weight, high cost and the possibility of rusting nails. In the latter part of the 19th century work began to develop a lighter, easier-to-install alternative by soaking paper in asphalt and then covering the shingle with crushed slate. Modern versions come in two types: fiberglass and organic. Organic options still use paper, asphalt and ceramic particles, while fiberglass uses a randomly laid fiberglass/urea-formaldehyde resin coated with asphalt and topped with ceramic granules. Fiberglass shingles have improved fire resistance over their paper counterparts. Why is asphalt so popular? Asphalt shingles carry several benefits. The standard "three tab" design makes measurement and installation relatively simple, especially when compared with a slate or tile roof. These shingles also weigh considerably less than full ceramic products, meaning you don't need additional roof reinforcement for support. In addition, they are naturally waterproof owing to long-chain hydrocarbons present in the asphalt. The cost of an asphalt roof is significantly cheaper than metal, tile or other alternatives. A standard asphalt installation by a professional roofing company could cost anywhere from $5,000 to $8,000 for a 2,000 square-foot roof. Expect to pay half again as much for metal and more if you want a specialty metal such as copper. Slate roofs run anywhere from $15,000 to $30,000 and if tiles begin to crack, fixes can be more costly. Maintenance and repair The typically asphalt roof will last anywhere from 20 to 30 years. If you live in a very hot or wet climate, you may need replacement sooner. Water eventually strips asphalt of its protective oils, causing the singles to curl, whereas heat causes blisters and surface cracking over time. To protect against these problems, you can have a professional roofer apply a sealant product or apply one yourself. Most of these products go on like paint but require you to thoroughly clean the roof surface prior to application. If a small section of shingles becomes damaged or broken, you may be able to handle the repair yourself, but make sure to examine the whole roof. If more than a quarter of the shingles are damaged, you should replace them all. It's possible to shingle over an existing asphalt installation with minimal problems, but most roofers recommend a full replacement if three or more layers are already on your home. To improve the longevity of your shingles, check your roof each month for debris and eavestrough back-ups. Both can cause water deposits that will leach away essential asphalt chemicals.
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Your blog is very informative. Asphalt shingles have plays an important role in the residential roofing market.
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