What Is a Composition Roof?

How often do you think about the roof over your head? The one that protects you from the blazing heat of summer and the chilling winter winds. The one that keeps you dry during even the fiercest rainstorms, while also protecting your home and property from leaks and water damage. Your roof must be built to withstand punishing UV rays and veritable floods of rainwater. It also needs to hold up against strong winds and maybe even earthquakes.

A well-constructed roof is one of the most critical features of any home, but how often do you really take a moment to think about all the work it does for you? For most homeowners, the answer is, not very often.

Not surprisingly, most homeowners only consider their roofs when something goes wrong, such as a leak or other damage that requires repair work. That’s when they pick up the phone and call companies like Interstate Roofing.

It’s not uncommon to find that neglect has left a roof in poor condition. Sometimes, this leads to catastrophic problems and great expense. That’s why you should spare a thought for your roof every once in a while and even have it regularly maintained. You’ll want to begin this regular routine of care by learning a bit about your roof.

While there are several types of roofing in common use, by far the most common for modern-built residential and commercial buildings is the composition roof. If your home was constructed in the 1970s or later, this is most likely what you have. What’s a composition roof? Read on to find out.

Types of Shingles

As you may know, roofs are usually constructed of shingles, which are rectangular, overlapping coverings. While shingles can be constructed out of a wide variety of materials, including sheet metal, plastic, wood, stone, and ceramic, the most common roofing material is asphalt. Made from petroleum, asphalt is a sticky black tar that’s inexpensive, lightweight, and extremely resistant to water and sunlight. When used to create roofing shingles, asphalt is applied to a core made of another material.

The first asphalt roofing shingles appeared in 1901 and utilized wood as their core. These were known as organic shingles, and they remain popular to this day. Over time, organic shingles utilized different types of materials, often cellulose-based: paper, felt, and wood fiber are also used. After the asphalt is applied to the core, it’s then covered with a layer of some type of granular material, usually made from powdered rocks and minerals. This will bond to the asphalt and create a durable, weatherproof shingle.

In the 1980s, a new type of shingle was developed: the composition shingle. While still making use of asphalt, composition shingles replaced the cellulose-based core with one made from fiberglass. These are made from a resin bonded to a glass fiber mat. The asphalt is then used to coat the fiberglass, and as before, it’s covered with a mineral grain. In the past 40 years, composition shingles have become the predominant roofing material.

Benefits of a Composition Roof

Composition roofs are the foremost type of roofing material for several reasons. When they were originally introduced, they served as a replacement for material containing asbestos. Asbestos was used to render materials fire-resistant but has since been found to be unsafe.

Besides being free of harmful asbestos, composition shingles have a wide array of other benefits. They’re significantly more lightweight than other types of asphalt shingles. Fiberglass is an extremely light, though strong, material. They’re much more fire-resistant than wood- or paper-based shingles.

Composition shingles are also cheap and easy for a professional roofer to apply. Not only that, they’re versatile and can be made to appear in many different ways, depending on your personal design needs, including a variety of colors to match your siding or décor.

Types of Composition Shingles

What is a composition roof? Essentially, it’s whatever you need it to be. You actually have many options when it comes to the construction of your roof, but they’re all based around the two basic types of composition shingles. These two basic types are architectural and 3-tab shingles.

As a general rule, 3-tab shingles are thin and inexpensive. They’re best for homes that don’t face extreme weather conditions. They’re also great for residential buildings, but if you have extremely hot summers or snow and ice during the winter, you may need something a bit more durable.

The other option, architectural shingles, is frequently used for commercial buildings and residential ones that need to have a bit more visual flair. They’re a great deal more durable and thicker. They also have a textured and more aesthetically appealing look.

Installing a Composition Roof

If you’re constructing a new home or other building, and you decide that you need a composition roof, installation is relatively easy. While it’s possible to DIY the process, most homeowners prefer to hire a trained professional roofer. You’ll want to find a trustworthy company for the job, such as Interstate Roofing. It’s critically important that you choose a company that’s properly insured and certified, and carries all the proper paperwork. Besides that, experience is key. You want to make sure you have a roofer that has done similar jobs many times before.

Your roofing team will install your shingles, usually using roofing nails or staples. They’ll take care to move safely across the roof as they ensure that nothing is leaking and no shingles are missing.

Once the installation is complete, you’ll need to have your roofers come back on a semi-regular basis in order to perform checkups, just as you would with any other part of your home. Most composition roofs last about 20 years, but with regular maintenance, the life span can be extended. Occasionally, shingles will need to be removed and replaced over this time.

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