Winston Salem Roofing: Article About Energy-efficient Asphalt Shingles
Before asphalt shingles were invented in the late 1800s, most Americans had wood shingles, which were more expensive and difficult to install. The first asphalt shingles were made with wood pulp. Various organic substrates were used throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including cotton rag, cellulose and paper. Early shingles were mostly made from cotton rag until it became too expensive in the 1920s, and it was substituted with paper or wood pulp to cut costs.
The problem with all of these organic substrates was that they were just as combustible as the previous wood shingles, and a house that was struck by lightning or caught on fire another way was likely to burn to the ground. In the 1950s, shingle manufacturers addressed this problem by creating inorganic shingles from materials such as felt, asbestos and fiberglass matting. These shingles didn't become popular until later in the 20th century, but by the 1980s, they were beginning to overtake wood-based shingles in the U.S. construction industry. A Winston Salem roofing specialist can explain in detail the various options available for fiberglass asphalt shingles and the advantages of inorganic shingles over organic ones.
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The American Society of Testing Materials, or ASTM, gives wood-based asphalt shingles a Class C fire safety rating, and fiberglass shingles receive the highest rating of Class A. In most neighborhoods, wood shingles or shakes are banned, but wood-based asphalt shingles are a different product. Wood shingles are still used in some places in Europe, and many historic locations in Europe have wood shingle roofs that are hundreds of years old. They have a distinctly Old World look, and many wood shingle roofs are arranged in Islamic-influenced designs due to the cultural exchange that took place during the Crusades. Wood-based asphalt shingles simply look like ordinary roofing materials, and they provide essentially the same protection from wind, sun, rain, hail and UV light as fiberglass shingles.
One area that has lagged in terms of shingle technology is energy efficiency, and because asphalt shingles are usually dark colored, they absorb solar radiation and often reach temperatures of 150 degrees in the summer. Some shingle manufacturers coat the outer asphalt layer of their shingles with reflective granules that can reduce rooftop temperatures by more than 50 degrees in the summer. The main problem with these shingles is that they raise heating bills in the winter by not efficiently capturing the sun's heat during the day. In places with cold winters and hot summers, it makes sense to install long-lasting shingles that don't deteriorate with seasonal changes.