Even the best laid roofs are subject to wear and tear over the years. At some point, you’ll more than likely have to replace the roof of your home. When that time comes, you’ll be faced with the decision of using fiberglass or asphalt (organic) shingles. Being aware of the strengths and weaknesses of each type of roofing option can help you to decide which is the best option for your home.
There is some confusion around organic shingles made environmentally friendly or with organic materials. This is not the case, only a marketing strategy. Organic shingles simply means non-synthetic.
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Organic Asphalt Shingles
Asphalt shingles are known to be quite durable as well as relatively affordable, especially compared with other shingle options. Some types can last up to 20 years. They are essentially made from felt or paper soaked in asphalt. The asphalt-soaked paper is then coated with an additional thick layer of asphalt, then a layer of ceramic granules. Because of this, the shingle is waterproof and withstands weather elements very well.
A coating is essentially created which helps protect the shingle from the sun’s harsh UV rays. They are also algae-resistant, as leachable paint is added and the granules form a surface that resists algae growth and discoloration. However, due to its paper content, asphalt shingles are more prone to fire damage than fiberglass.
Fiberglass shingles do contain some asphalt, but less of it than organic shingles. Fiberglass shingles feature a mat that is made of wet fiberglass held together with a urea-formaldehyde resin. The mat is soaked with asphalt filled with mineral fillers, which makes it waterproof.
Due to the absence of paper, fiberglass shingles are more fire resistant than organic asphalt shingles. Fiberglass shingles are actually not very ideal for cold climates, as low temperatures can cause fiberglass to become brittle and prone to breaking. In cold climates, organic asphalt shingles are the better option since they are heavier, more substantial and they perform quite well in cold, windy, frigid climates.
Fiberglass shingles also tend to be the better choice for hot climates due to being flame-retardant and heat-resistant. However, shingles made of fiberglass are rich in alkaline substances which can attract algae, making fiberglass proofs prone to having a dirty appearance. Algae buildup tends to reduce the roof’s ability to have a protective effect against the sun’s harsh rays. The result can be a warmer house, which means higher energy costs to keep it cool.
Its good to know that both shingles look the same. They are both made from asphalt and granules. They are even installed the same way too!. The difference is the layer of glass fiber makes the fiberglass shingle absorb less moisture and is more resistant to heat. Its for these reasons that fiberglass shingles increases durability in warm climates.
Overall, asphalt shingles are among the most affordable roofing options. Organic asphalt shingles can cost half of other roofing alternatives.
If you’re still unsure if you should use asphalt or fiberglass shingles replacement shingles for your roof, contact us to help you make the decision. An expert will assess your situation to ensure that you’ll select the option that works best with the climate, your home’s design, and your budget!
Brad Gordon and his team of professionals have been installing roofing, waterproofing and architectural sheet metal systems in the Greater Vancouver area for over 20 years.