What Is an Asphalt Shingle Roof?

An asphalt shingle roof is but one of the numerous materials used to roof a home or building. Others types include slate, ceramic, wood, asbestos, metal and tile. Asphalt shingles are some of the easiest to install and also among the least expensive types of roofing material. The two primary types of asphalt shingle are known as organic and fiberglass. 

Organic Asphalt Shingles

Despite their name, organic asphalt shingles are not very environmentally sustainable. They consist of felt paper with embedded asphalt. It is then coated with a layer of adhesive and covered with small ceramic grains. Asphalt shingles are prone to discoloration due to the growth of algae on which moss feeds. Copper is sometimes added to the mixture to prevent excessive algae growth. 

Fiberglass Asphalt Shingles

Fiberglass shingles use a sheet of reinforced fiberglass coated with a resin made from formaldehyde rather than paper. They are more fire resistant than felt paper, organic shingles, although they are lighter. However, because organic shingles use much more asphalt per unit, they withstand heavy winds better than the fiberglass variety. 

Asphalt shingles are inexpensive, durable and provide a certain degree of protection against wind and fire damage. They are not impermeable, but they have a long life if properly installed.