Problems with Asphalt Roofing


Asphalt Through the Years

The cost roofers were charging for asphalt shingles in 1962 was $18/square, for labor and materials.  When you consider that roofing prices double each decade, that works out to $384/square for 2008.  This is about what a “high quality” architectural asphalt shingle roof will cost you today.  These “high quality” roofs will often come with 30, 40, 50, or even lifetime warranties.  But if you read the warranty carefully, you will notice that you are only truly covered for 7 years.  They call this their “Sure Start” period.  If your asphalt shingles fail in the first 7 years, they will provide you replacement shingles at no charge, but will not pay for removal or replacement.  After the first 7 years, they will prorate the value of the roof, and provide replacement shingles, based on their prorated value.  This means that you will have to pay for some new shingles on your warrantied roof.  That is a best case scenario.  Asphalt shingle manufacturers will usually deny your claim.  They will site reasons, such as high amounts of sunlight/UV, high winds, heavy rains, etc, to void your warranty.  And they consider curling, peeling, loss of granules, and discoloration as “normal weathering”!!

Asphalt shingles have managed to keep their prices low, despite the skyrocketing price of oil.  The way they have done this is to decrease the amount of oil in their shingles, and replace it with “fillers”, such as sand.  

See the ASTM Standards below:

2009 ASTM - Volume 04.04 - "Roofing and Waterproofing" standards book.

Standard D 225-07 is for Organic Felt based asphalt shingles. It specifies the asphalt content to be 165% of the "dry felt" weight, which is 11lbs for type I shingles and 9lbs for type III shingles.

165% of 11lbs is 18.15 pounds of liquid asphalt per 100 square feet.                     


165% of 9lbs is 14.85 pounds of liquid asphalt per 100 square feet.                        

Standard D 3462-09 is for glass felt type (fiberglass) asphalt shingles. It flat says that the asphalt weight is to  be 15lbs per 100 square feet. 

That isn't much asphalt at all, and that explains why we are seeing a lot of asphalt roof failures in 4-7 years!

It's not your fault, it's the asphalt!

Why Metal Roofs are Superior to 

Asphalt Shingles:

Metal Roofing is desirable over asphalt shingles for a number of reasons. Kassel & Irons and Classic Roofing products come with a Lifetime Warranty on Materials and Labor while asphalt roofs come with limited warranties. In many cases, the asphalt shingles may not even last as long as the warranty and that doesn't always cover necessary repair or replacement. Newer asphalt shingles are also found to contain filler content such as sand that reduces the effectiveness of the shingles.

Metal Roofs are energy efficient and recommended by the US Government to help protect the environment while saving consumers considerable costs on their heating and cooling bills. Asphalt shingles generate a significant amount of landfill waste every year. That amount will keep on growing with the constant repair and replacement of asphalt roofs. Just look at what a few roofing and home improvement industry experts have to say on this matter:

Asphalt Manufacturers Say:
"Due to the severity of the roof environment, even a one year old roof may look different from a roof that was just installed. While you may have first noticed the cracks or blistering from the ladder as you were cleaning the gutters, please be mindful that these normal weathering characteristics may not be visible when you view your roof from your front lawn or driveway."

Laboratory Testing Facilities Say:
"Failed shingles that we have tested contain approximately 30% asphalt by weight. New shingles contain less than 25%. This asphalt is mixed with sand and fine mineral matter and then has granules embedded in it. There is no separate asphalt mat "coating"; there is only asphalt binder for the filler. What coating exists on the back of the shingle appears to have bled through the mat from the top side during manufacture. No wonder shingles "weep" water after only a few years."
--Richard Tippet, Applied Roofing Technology

Roofing Consultants Say:
"The pressures placed on large, public companies to maintain profitability brought forward good old American ingenuity, reduce fiberglass mat weight (fibers were expensive) and increase filler content (asphalt was also expensive.)"
--Dwain Bouton, President of Certified Roofing Consultant

Home Improvement Experts Say:
"When it comes to shingles, the drawbacks center on service life. While asphalt shingles come with warranties ranging from 20 to as long as 45 years, roofers and builders remain skeptical of those warranties. Since warranties are a marketing device, they are not reliable predictor of lifespan. In the past decade, there have been many complaints of asphalt shingle failure long before warranties expired. Many homeowners have been dissatisfied with warranty payouts that didn't cover all the costs of repair or replacement as well...”                                                                          
--Bob Vila