How Asphalt Shingles Became the Standard Roofing Material

How Asphalt Shingles Became the Standard Roofing Material

Before asphalt shingles, wood shingles and shakes were the favorite residential roofing materials. But over the years, asphalt shingles have become so popular that they have since overtaken wood as the roofing material of choice among homeowners. Roofing and siding expert Krech Exteriors takes an in-depth look at how this happened and why asphalt shingles remain a popular roofing choice today.

A Quick History of Asphalt Shingles

The asphalt, or bitumen, that we know today is a petroleum byproduct. There is evidence that it had been used as a waterproofing element as early as the fifth millennium B.C. Asphalt was also used as a preservative for mummification in ancient Egypt. Here in the United States, asphalt came into use for roofing first as underlayment (or “tar paper” as it was known at the time) in the 1840s. It then became hand-cut shingles in the 1900s.

By 1930, shingles began to overtake wood as the roofing material of choice domestically. Being an American invention, it took a while for other countries to use asphalt shingles. While wood shakes and shingles weren’t completely eradicated, they aren’t as popular as they once were, though wood shakes have seen continued use as siding.

Advantages of Asphalt Shingles

So, why are asphalt shingles so popular? For one, it’s extremely fire resistant. In 1911, the National Board of Fire Underwriters decided that homes with asphalt shingle roofs are more insurable. With more attractive premiums, homeowners gradually began switching to asphalt shingles.

Asphalt shingles also don’t require as much maintenance as wood shakes or shingles, meaning less maintenance over the succeeding years. Asphalt shingle roofs are also more durable than wood, and certain asphalt shingle roofing systems are rated to have better wind resistance. Aesthetically, wood shakes are considered superior. However, asphalt shingles are available in a wider variety of colors, giving homeowners more latitude in their exterior color palettes.

To learn more about our roofing and siding services, call Krech Exteriors today at (651) 968-8888. You can also fill out our contact form to schedule a free, in-home consultation. We serve Minneapolis and surrounding areas.

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