Roofing Shingles: and Its History

Roofing shingles have evolved over the years.  Shingle roofing has come a long way since 1901.  Asphalt shingles became popular during the 1920’s and grew from there.    

Asphalt shingles are available in two standard options:

  • 3-Tab Shingles – are flat shingles with a uniform shape and size. 3-Tab are still the most commonly installed in lower-value homes, rental properties, or basic builder grades.
  •  Architectural or Dimensional – shingles are thicker and stronger, they vary in size and shape, and look more appealing than the standard 3-Tab.  While more expensive to install, they come with longer manufacturer’s warranties and overall, look better.

While 3-tab shingles typically need to be replaced after 15–18 years, Dimensional typically last 24–30 years.

Roofing shingles are created with two types of base materials.  They are both created in a similar fashion. 

  • Organic Shingles – are made from organic materials such as waste paper, cellulose, wood fiber, or other organic materials.  Then, waterproofing is done by saturating it in asphalt, and covering it with solid granules.  The organic core is more vulnerable to fire damage though.  Also, some organic shingles produced prior to 1980 could have contained asbestos. 
  • Fiberglass Shingles – have a base layer of fiberglass reinforcing mat as the core.  Fiberglass was the material used to replace the asbestos in organic shingles too.  Eventually, fiberglass was used to replace organic core shingles completely.

Here is a very interesting article on the roofing industry time line.  Lots of compelling information on roofing shingles and more!