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Architectural Shingles

Fiberglass Shingles - A Viable Option, If...

Michael Slattery Photo By Michael Slattery on June 10, 2012

The number one steep-sloped roof coverings in the United States are fiberglass shingles and have proven to be a cost effective roofing solution for American homeowners. Manufacturers offer many styles and colors for the right combination of durability, appearance and price. Architects, builders and homeowners literally have hundreds of shingle products to choose from.

Three-tab and architectural (or dimensional) shingles are the most common in residential roofing. As the industry standard, three-tab shingles are the most economical while Architectural Shingles are sturdier and considered a higher quality roofing product. Even thicker "designer" shingles offer a high end option. Standard three-tab shingles can withstand winds up to 60 miles an hour, while Architectural Shingles endure up to 130 miles an hour. The difference in performance comes from their construction.

Fiberglass shingles have a glass fiber reinforcing mat coated with hot asphalt. The asphalt contains fillers which enable the asphalt to adhere to the mat and waterproof the shingle. After cooling, adhesives are used to cover the mat and ceramic granules are embedded in the asphalt. Ceramic granules are there for two reasons, the primary being to protect the shingles from the sun. The second, more obvious reason for granules is aesthetics. Three-tab shingles appear to be three individual shingles and are a single layer design, giving them a smooth look. The laminated construction of Architectural Shingles gives them added strength and a three dimensional look.

The lifespan of fiberglass shingles depends upon the environment. Shingles in cooler climates last longer than those installed in warmer climates. All asphalt based roofs eventually deteriorate due to the sun's UV rays. Thermal Shock, however, is the primary cause of roofing material failure. Thermal Shock is the effect materials experience when ambient temperatures change significantly within a short period of time. Roofing materials expand and contract during dramatic temperature changes causing cracks and splits in the materials. Degradation of fiberglass shingles due to UV exposure and Thermal Shock can be minimized using two Cool Roofing concepts: ventilation and reflectivity. The practical use of these concepts is particularly important in the Miami roofing market.

Choosing a light colored shingle and a good ventilation system extends the roof's service life as well as reduces cooling costs. Light colored shingles reflect UV rays better than darker shingles and therefore last longer while enhancing energy efficiency. An effective roof ventilation system utilizes two components: intake and outflow. Most South Florida homes feature some intake capability at the eaves of the roof, but many have no outflow mechanism. This creates a static system which requires wind to create any appreciable airflow and is not ideal for the "dog days" of summer. We all know hot air rises. An outflow component must be installed at or near the peak of the roof to allow hot air to escape, lowering the temperature in the attic and the sheathing under the shingles.

When Cool Roof concepts are incorporated into the design, fiberglass shingles can be a practical choice for South Florida homeowners.

Michael Slattery Photo Mike Slattery is President of Roofer Mike Inc., a Miami roofing company. http//www.roofermikeinc.com

Original article published on SooperArticles.com

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