My wife and I purchased a home last fall, a home that is around 120 years old. It was in good shape, but still needed some work. One of the high priority items on my list was the roof replacement, which I had done within the first week of moving.
Due to the various roof types on the house, there are many valleys and it was a somewhat difficult roof for the size to complete. None the less it is now done.
I had fibreglass shingless installed, the architectural style which are stated to have a lifetime warranty. Realistically they may last 20 years, as although many do not mention the lifetime aspectic, fibreglass shingles do not do well in the cold climates and have a shorter lifespan that do the older asphalt shingles.
I will explain what the difference is between asphalt and fibreglass, and why the fiberglass are not quite as well suited to our environment. But first lets look at the house.
I performed the Home Inspection on the home, but also had a friend who is another Home Inspector go through with me. He did not provide any report, simply there along to discuss any items. Why? Well, it is prudent even for a Home Inspector to have another Home Inspector on their own home purchase. It removes any emotional bias and eliminates the potential to overlook things due to the love of the property.
Oh, it was the interior that I first fell in love with, but you will see more as I move through some renovation articles. Below is a picture of dining room ceiling and chandelier. I have antique style LED bulbs installed for the amber color from the LED lights.
The raised metal center of the ceiling and 11 foot high ceiling in the center of the dining room sold me on the house.
But I did not want the blindness caused by falling in love to get the better of me, hence the second Home Inspector.
At any rate the existing roof was asphalt shingles, with two layers on the roof, covering a deck of one inch boards. The lower 2 feet of the roof, around the entire perimeter was heavy galvanized steel. This steel ridge at bottom was common a century ago as their solution to ice daming, prior to the invention of the ice and water shield we use today.
Now back to the shingles. There are two types of asphalt shingles: fiberglass and organic or asphalt.
Both of these two shingles contain asphalt, however a lower content in the "fiberglass" versus the "organic" or "asphalt" shingle. The asphalt on fibreglass is on the exterior layer, in fact the top layer is similar in both shingles. The major difference lies in the base of the shingle.
The mat of the fibreglass shingle is make of layers of wet fibreglass held together with a resin, similar to many other fibreglass products from autobody to boat building. The organic shingles have a mat which is primarly based upon a wood content, often paper based. Both mats are soaked are soaked with asphalt filled with mineral fillers, providng a waterproofing.
Because of lack of the paper content, the fibreglass shingles are more fire resistant that are asphalt singles. However, the fibreglass shingles are more brittle and more prone to breakage in cold climates.
The fibreglass shingles also tend to be a good choice for hotter climates due to the flame resistant and heat resistant nature.
The fibreglas shingles have a more alkaline in pH making them more suitable to algae growth. The algae growth will cause them to have a dirty appearance and will reduce the ability of the roof to block the suns rays. This can ultimately result in a warmer house, or one where the cooling cost are higher.
Both asphalt and fibreglass are available in three-tab or architectural styles. In either the architectural shingles will be heavier in weight, as they have double thickness of shingle materials over a larger area.
The fibreglass shingle will absorb less moisture, however despite this is is still considered more fire resistant than their asphalt cousin.
Fibreglass shingles cost slightly more, but there is only a marginal difference today in cost. Our home had a good deck overall, althugh a few boards needed replacement under the heavy galvanized steel portions on the south and west sides.
While some used to think that fibreglass shingles would last longer than the equilivent asphalt, we now have had ample time to observe the shingles in the same environment. It is clear that asphalt shingles are more durable of the two types.
While organic or asphalt used to be more common in our area, fibreglass is the only style that is widely available to buy today.
Fiberglass Roof Shingles Pros
- Lighter weight - As the fibreglass shingles are thinner and consequently lighter in weight, they are easier to carry and install. This can help with slightly lower labor costs during instalation.
- Better fire protection - Fiberglass shingles provide a higher fire resistance than organic or asphalt shingles.
- Environmentally friendly - Due to lower asphalt content, fibreglass shingles are more environmentally friendly.
Fiberglass Roof Shingles Cons
- Not as durable - Due to lighter weight and lower asphalt content, fiberglass shingles won’t last as long.
- Not ideal for cold climates - Fiberglass shingles do not perform well in colder climates.
Beside Home Inspector training, I have had shingle training from Owen Cornings and Certain Teed.