St Louis Roofing: Article About Why Asphalt Shingles Are So Popular
Modern roofs use a material called asphalt in perhaps the most efficient way ever. Asphalt has been used in building construction for thousands of years. It's a naturally occurring substance that is created through a process similar to the way petroleum is created. The chemical similarity between petroleum and asphalt is responsible for asphalt's natural water repelling qualities. This substance is fairly plentiful, but because it takes millions of years to develop, it's a limited, non renewable resource. Other cultures have called it by various names, including pitch or tar, and modern English speakers call it asphalt, or its scientific name, bitumen.
Most St Louis roofing contractors specialize in installing asphalt shingles because this type of roofing cover is by far the most popular in North America. About 80 percent of houses on the continent have roofs covered in asphalt shingles, and most of these roofs have shingles supported by a fiberglass felt substrate, which makes shingles highly fire resistant. By itself, asphalt is a good waterproofing agent and construction material because it can be poured when heated up. In its room temperature state, bitumen is rock like and smooth to the touch. When melted down, it becomes a thick, viscous fluid with about the same consistency as cold molasses. It can be mixed with gravel and other gritty substances to pave roads, or it can be compressed over a felt substrate to make shingles.
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When asphalt shingles reach the end of their lifespan, they can be recycled as pavement for roads. Shingle roofs must be torn down when their petroleum oils have been washed away after years of repelling water.
The problem with unadulterated tar or pitch is that, while it keeps water out of a house, it's also somewhat flammable due to the naturally occurring petroleum in its composition. The first asphalt shingles were no less combustible than the wood roofing materials they replaced, and it wasn't until the 1950s that inorganic substrates were used to make shingles fire resistant. The most common felt substrate is made from the same material used to make airplanes and speed boats both strong and lightweight, and its low cost helps make shingles the most economical roofing option for homeowners. The other ingredients in shingles are also very inexpensive, and asphalt itself can be recovered from the petroleum manufacturing process. Fiberglass asphalt shingles have the highest possible fire safety rating from the American Society of Testing Materials, and organic shingles can be made safer by installing them over an aluminum base layer.