Asphalt shingles are the most popular roofing materials in North America. Almost every roofing contractor in this country is an asphalt shingle roofing specialist because most homes have this type of roofing.
Asphalt shingles are more affordable than most other roofing materials. They look great, last a reasonably long time and offer good energy efficiency when installed properly. A portion of the asphalt shingles on your roof is recyclable when removed. Asphalt shingles are considered a sustainable roofing material.
The asphalt shingles themselves are not the only component that makes asphalt shingle roofs effective, however. There are other components that you should know. Here are the major components of an asphalt shingle roofing system:
Asphalt shingles are the main component of an asphalt roofing system, but these shingles are not entirely made of asphalt. Different manufacturers have different formulas for coming up with effective roofing products. Most shingles contain asphalt, cementitious fillers and mineral fiber. Only about 35% of an asphalt shingle is made up of asphalt.
You can choose whether to install fiberglass, organic or algae-resistant shingles.
Organic shingles use waste paper saturated with asphalt for waterproofing. To combat ultraviolet (UV) rays, organic shingles have ceramic granules and a thin layer of adhesive asphalt. However, due to a class C fire rating, organic shingle manufacturing has been discontinued.
A more fire-resistant kind of shingle is the fiberglass asphalt shingle. These are the most economical and, therefore, most popular type of asphalt shingles.
Algae-resistant shingles are typically fiberglass asphalt shingles as well, but they also contain granules with a leachable coating. They also have a ceramic coating. The granules leach an anti-algae chemical when they get wet with dew or rain. This prevents the unsightly stains and discoloration caused by algae growth.
The asphalt shingles are not the only component of your roof that can protect your home from water infiltration. Your roofing contractor will install the underlayment directly on the roof deck. This offers extra water resistance against the weather. It acts as a seal so your roof isn’t easily penetrated by water and wind. You might not see it, but its presence is extremely important for your roof’s health.
You can choose whether to install asphalt-saturated felt, non-bitumen synthetic or rubberized asphalt underlayment.
Asphalt-saturated felt is not waterproof. It is only water-resistant, but its excellent fire- and water-damage resistance make it very popular. Fifteen- and 30-pound felt are the most common choices for home renovations, new constructions and roof replacement. The heavier the felt, the more water resistant and long lasting it is.
Rubberized asphalt underlayment is great for homes and commercial buildings alike. It doesn’t require nails for installation over a roof decking, yet it creates a tight seal against wind and moisture. It is completely waterproof and features a peel-off membrane for self-adhesion and for securing roof fasteners. It’s the perfect underlayment for warm climates because it is highly heat-resistant.
For a lightweight and highly durable underlayment, non-bitumen synthetic is a fine choice. As it offers a surface that reduces sliding, it’s the underlayment of choice for steep-sloped roofs. Non-bitumen synthetic is made of polyethylene or polypropylene fibers that make it strong and durable against pests, wind and precipitation. It is also highly resistant to UV rays as well as mold and algae. This kind of underlayment, however, should be installed by a qualified professional as it requires precision to be effective and long-lasting.
Ice and Water Barriers
Ice dams are one of the most destructive elements that can affect any roof while wind-driven rain is a force that causes plenty of water damage issues. To protect roofs from these elements, contractors install ice and water barriers. These are a type of underlayment that are designed for use on the most vulnerable areas of the roof to protect those areas from water damage. Ice and water barriers typically feature a modified bitumen adhesive back surface. This surface is covered by a film that your roofer will remove upon installation so the barrier will adhere completely to the roof. Proper adhesion forms a watertight seal around the penetrations created by roof nails.
During installation, the slip-resistant top surface of an ice and water barrier membrane offers better traction to roofers. If you choose to cover your entire roof with this membrane, you can expect better leak protection even in severe weather conditions. Even if shingles are blown off by the wind, your home will still be safe from water intrusion until your roofer can fix the damage. However, an effective attic ventilation system is a crucial part of a roof covered entirely with this membrane.
One of the worst mistakes that novice roofers and DIY homeowners often commit is not using starter strips. If you install regular shingles on the edges of your roof, you can expect those edges to develop problems when exposed to rain and wind.
Starter strips are installed on the rake and eave edges of your roof to make them waterproof and windproof. Shingles are then installed over the starter strips so you don’t have to be particular about starter strip color. These strips are made using the same material as fiberglass asphalt shingles.
Starter strips cover the area where the finishing shingles join the eaves for complete water-shedding protection. The sealant strip under the starter strips should be installed at the top of the lowest edge of the roofing system. At the rake edges, the starter strips provide better wind protection.
Hip and Ridge Shingles
These shingles bridge the gap between the edges at the peak of a sloped roof. The installation of these special shingles over the ridge and the hips of your roof gives it watertight protection. They typically have a life span that matches the rest of your shingles.
You can choose the thickness and the profile of hip and ridge shingles. The best ones add great visual appeal. High-quality hip and ridge shingles are often made up of modified asphalt material that offers longer life and better protection against cold weather.
Roof Ventilation System
An effective roof ventilation system allows continuous airflow through the attic. This means moving air pushes warm, moist air out of your attic to prevent attic overheating. You probably know about the importance of shingle quality, underlayment thickness and good gutter installation and cleaning in preventing water damage. But did you also know that attic ventilation can prevent plenty of damage from occurring?
Poor or absent attic ventilation causes your attic to overheat, baking your shingles and other roofing components during the hottest months of the year. This can considerably reduce their lifespan. In the winter, your roof will remain hot, which encourages the formation of ice dams.
Ice dams typically form because the heat inside your attic is trapped. As heat rises, the top of your roof is the hottest, and snow that falls over that part melts much faster. It flows to the cooler edges and refreezes to form ice dams. Ice dams stop water from running off the roof so the water will look for other areas to infiltrate, such as the underside of your shingles. When your underlayment is constantly soaked, it can deteriorate faster. Soon, your roof will start leaking.
The lack of ventilation also causes condensation to form in your attic. When the warm air comes in contact with the cold parts of your roof, frost can form. A warm snap will melt that frost and cause “leaking”.
This problem often leads to costly repairs as it leads to wood rot, clumped attic insulation, rusting, mold and mildew growth, and other issues. Effective attic ventilation and ample insulation can prevent these issues.
To avoid expensive problems that can affect your budget and your family’s safety and health, it’s important that all of these components are present and in good shape. Get in touch with Ben’s Construction Inc for professional roof installation. We also offer gutter installation services. Call us today at (508) 962-2417, or message us here.