Today’s residential homeowners and commercial building owners have more roofing options readily available than ever before. However, even with all the different roofing materials, many people still choose traditional asphalt shingles as their roof covering of choice.

Asphalt shingles offer some distinct advantages, including the ease of repair and affordability. The more you know about these common roof components, the more effectively you can respond to problems and better maintain the integrity of your roof. See these frequently asked questions.

What Goes Into the Structure of an Asphalt Roof Shingle?

Roof shingles come in various materials, including natural wood, synthetic composites, clay tile, shale, metal, and of course traditional asphalt. Asphalt shingles may appear simple in nature, but they actually feature a sophisticated multi-layered design that strengthens them and helps them protect your roof against the weather elements.

The asphalt that gives these shingles their name actually sits only on their outward-facing surface, topped by a distribution of fine granules. The asphalt itself gets mixed with other materials such as styrene to make them more durable, while the actual asphalt provides water resistance. Beneath the asphalt lies a tough fiberglass mat.

How Do Asphalt Shingles Sustain Damage?

Despite all the toughness built into them, even the finest asphalt shingles can sustain damage. This damage may occur all at once in a devastating storm or fire, or it may develop naturally after years of wear and tear.

Extreme temperatures can damage asphalt shingles in various ways. For instance, temperature swings, accompanied by dry air and windy weather, can cause the shingles to crack. Poor attic insulation can allow heat to exit into the roof, causing a form of damage known as shingle blazing.

Why Should You Worry About Granule Loss?

You may notice your shingles losing granules. The granules are gritty deposits that will collect in your gutters or downspout. Don’t make the mistake of dismissing granule loss as an insignificant issue. However, the granules are your shingle’s first line of defense to protect your roof from the weather elements. Therefore, granule loss can affect both the looks and the functionality of your roof. When you start to notice granule loss on your shingles, you will know it is time to call an expert to replace them.

The coating of granules on asphalt shingles protects the asphalt against the punishing effects of ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. The crushed rock that makes up the granules also adds a degree of fire resistance and even provides the shingles with their distinctive color.

What Can Damaged or Missing Asphalt Shingles Do to Your Roof?

Asphalt shingle damage can leave your roof vulnerable to more extensive damage. If gaps form between shingles or parts of the roof are left exposed to the elements, water can leak down into the wooden parts off the roof. If this happens, your roof is susceptible to rot, pest infestations, and structural weakness. You should get any obvious roof problem checked immediately.

Unfortunately, you can’t always evaluate the health of your asphalt roof simply by looking for shingle damage. For this reason, you should schedule periodic roof evaluations from a roofing professional who can look for these specific warning signs.

When Should You Think About Replacing an Asphalt-Shingle Roof?

In most cases where individual asphalt shingles (or small groups of shingles) sustain damage or come loose, your roofing professional can simply replace the affected shingles. First, however, this professional will examine the underlayment and other structural roof elements to see whether the roof needs more extensive repairs.

A severely damaged asphalt-shingle roof may require replacement. However, even if your roof seems to hold up year after year, you should keep in mind that asphalt shingles don’t usually last more than 30 years. If your roof has passed its 30th birthday, your roofer may advise you to go ahead and replace it.

Volpe Enterprises, Inc., has all your answers when it comes to asphalt shingles and other popular roofing materials. If you need to get an asphalt-shingle roof evaluated, repaired, or replaced, contact us today to request a free estimate.