What is Asphalt Roofing?

What is Asphalt Roofing?

Asphalt Roofing

If you are alive today, you have almost certainly seen an asphalt roof. When it comes to residential roofing, asphalt shingles are the single most popular roofing installation in North America and have been for decades. There are many benefits to asphalt roofing. Not only are asphalt roofs among the most affordable roofing solutions, but they are also durable and easily maintained and repaired. If you’ve ever had questions about asphalt roofing, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s answer the question, ‘what is asphalt roofing?’


As the name implies, asphalt shingles are made from asphalt that is adhered to a base that is usually made from fiberglass or felt paper. This base is coated with the waterproof asphalt and then finally layered with granules of ceramic. Asphalt shingles first emerged in the roofing industry more than 40 years ago, and many roofers will recommend fiberglass asphalt shingles as they are lightweight, inexpensive, resistant to fire, and highly durable.


An asphalt shingle is an asphalt shingle, you say? Not exactly. The two main types of asphalt shingles are three-tab shingles and architectural shingles. Still, the main difference between these types of shingles is aesthetic. Three-tab asphalt shingles appear as three shingles though they are manufactured as one unit. These shingles are popular because installation is efficient and affordable. On the other hand, architectural shingles are designed with an added layer of asphalt. This gives architectural shingles a more dimensional appearance as you would expect from wood or slate shingles. Fortunately, whether you prefer the aesthetic of three-tab or architectural asphalt shingles, both come in a variety of colours.


Given their cost, asphalt shingles offer exceptional durability – particularly when they are maintained properly. Most manufacturers offer warranties on these shingles over 15 to 30 years, but it’s important to remember that there are several factors that can impact the lifespan of asphalt roofs. Weather, installation, roof style, and the quality of the shingle will all impact durability. Nevertheless, an annual maintenance program with regular inspections by a qualified roofer can help you get the most of your shingles.

Most professionals recommend twice-annual inspections, especially in regions where rain, snow, ice, and/or wind are common. Your roofer will inspect your shingles for signs of damage such as curling, buckling, and cracking. Missing shingles or lifted shingles can be a bigger problem in areas with a lot of wind, as well. Finally, your roofer will inspect gutters and downspouts for signs of shingle damage such as accumulated asphalt/ceramic granules. Ultimately, your roofer will identify these problems and replace shingles as needed so that you can extend the lifespan of your roof.


The total cost of a new asphalt roof will vary according to the type of shingle, your geographic region, and even the time of year that you install the roof. Shingles are certainly affordable, often costing less than $2 per square foot. Since installation is fairly straightforward, installation costs also tend to be low. Nevertheless, if you schedule your roof installation during the busiest roofing season, installation costs will be higher. This is another reason to ensure regular maintenance and inspections, as it will allow you to plan for replacement more effectively.