Have you ever thought about what your roof shingles are made of? Shingles can be made of a wide range of materials, from wood to asphalt to aluminum. Approximately 80% of shingles are made of asphalt, while wood and aluminum shingles are less common. Here’s an overview of the different types of materials roof shingles can be made of:
Wood and Aluminum Shingles
In the past, wood shingles were made of old growth trees, but today they are cut from new growth pine and cedar trees. Shingles cut from new growth trees are treated with chemical preservatives to ensure they are fire resistant, durable and long lasting. This chemical treatment process was not needed for old growth trees, but those are no longer being used for shingles. Aluminum shingles are known for their longevity, but they are not as common as asphalt shingles because they tend to be more expensive.
Asphalt shingles have been manufactured in the United States since 1893. By the 1920s, their popularity was widespread, and they were available for purchase through mail-order catalogs. The technology for producing asphalt shingles had greatly improved by the 1950s. The shingles of those days resembled the modern shingles you see today. Since the late ’50s, shingle manufacturers have been trying to develop inorganic base materials to use as an alternative to the conventional organic felt. Inorganic base materials are more desirable because they are more fire resistant and absorb less asphalt in the manufacturing process, which makes them more lightweight.
Modern asphalt shingles, which are sometimes called composite shingles, have a foundation base of either fiberglass or organic felt. Asphalt is a hydrocarbon substance and a byproduct of crude oil refining. Through a process called blowing, the asphalt is oxidized, and the air is removed to enable other minerals to be added before the substance is used to make shingles.
No matter what material your shingles are made of, it’s important that they were manufactured by a reputable roofing manufacturer like TAMKO and that they were properly installed to prevent a shingles lawsuit.