What Are Roof Shingles?

Roofs are usually covered by roofing materials called roof shingles which are generally placed side by side to overlap and cover the whole top of the house. Normally roof shingles referred to wood which was the most commonly used roofing material for a long time. But, now we have a wide array of products used to make roof shingles like asbestos, composite, cement, asphalt and even metals. Wood is just one of the choices. The roofing shingles are rectangular and are placed row-wise starting from the bottom of the roof. As you go up the shingles are always placed with overlap on all sides. A lot of overlap is the most important lesson to be learnt in roof installations. This way misture and water can’t get through the top layer of roof into the underlayment and down into home below.

At the top of the roof, at the ridges roofers used to place metal caps made of copper or zinc. But, this used to stand out and mar the appearance of the homes though they performed an important task of preventing leaks into the home. But, today modified shingles with plastic backing are available which placed in place of metal roof caps perfrom the same task without damaging the homes appearance in any sense.

Asphalt, wood, cement, slate, metal are just a few choices when it comes to roofing shingles choices. Rated for fire resistance, wind resistance and imapct resistance these shingles come with variety of standards. As each state and local area have their own standards and requirements for safety you have a choice to pick the products that comply with your local council requirements. These standards have been arrived at with the safety of the citizens and community in mind. It is best to follow these stands for your own safety and security.

Wood and paper based shingles are largely out of favor now because they pose a serious fire hazard. The risk of accidental fires is high with these materials which can destroy life and property. Some manufacturers do offer wood that has been coated and impregenated with fire proof materials which makes is quite safe to use. If they meet the fire safety standards of your area then you can use this type of shingles.

Wood shingles are protected by natural oils in their cellulose structure. As the years go by and it is constantly exposed to sun, the oils get softened and leach out when it rains. This gradually corrodes the wood. Where this is more water flow there is more erosion which can be seen in valleys and gutters of the roofing area. Eventually, when oils get washed out the wood starts to rot, warp and curl. The nails underneath get exposed and rusted. This causes the water to seep through and leaks are detected on the underside.

While wood has its natural oil, asphalt has long chain hydrocarbons which keeps the asphalt protected. The sun and rain over long period of time cause the breakdown of this bonds and eventual shrinking damage to the asphalt shingles.

In the United States the most popular roof shingles are the asphalt roof shingles which are made by sandwiching asphalt between layers of fiberglass. This is safer when it comes to fire. It is affordable and durable. It is also easy to install. They are many different brands of asphalt roofing shingles to choose from. The wide array of colors, textures and designs make this one of most sought after shingles. Different asphalt based shingles have different



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