16 Jan Asphalt Shingles: Why Are They So Popular?
Obvious statement of the day: asphalt shingles are extremely popular. In fact, they are so popular that Stats Canada claims that 40 million bundles of asphalt shingles are produced in Canada alone every year. BP, one of the leading manufacturers, reports that 80% of all residential roofs in North America are covered with asphalt shingles! This means that approximately 100 million households in Canada and the United States shelter people under an asphalt roof!
Many homeowners I talk to are surprised to find out that the first asphalt roofing products only began to be used in 1893! And it actually wasn’t until the post World War II housing boom that asphalt shingles became a staple in the roofing industry in order to meet the demands for a product that was low cost and relatively quick to install. Some reputable sources even claim it wasn’t until the 80’s (!!!) when asphalt shingles achieved market dominance. Roofing methods in Roman times and the Middle Ages were pretty drastically different from the methods used today.
So why do we use them today? Compared to the alternatives, asphalt shingles offer the greatest overall value in terms of cost, flexibility to be installed in all kinds of roofing situations and durability. You can expect to pay between 2 to 3 times the amount for a metal roof than you would for an asphalt roof. That means that depending on the size of your roof you could be looking at paying anywhere from $10-25,000 MORE for your roof compared to asphalt. Many people feel that allocating all that capital up front doesn’t justify the extended life expectancy.
Industry professionals are always looking for the “next thing” such as solar shingles or living roofs but for now, asphalt remains by far the most economical option for homeowners. It is durable and able to be installed in a timely enough fashion to keep up with the massive and rising demand for residential roofing in North America!