Roofing Basics: Roofing Choices and Heat Build-Up
What are your Roofing options?
Of all the types of roofing materials that are available, most homeowners will choose either Asphalt or Metal. Asphalt shingles are the most common roofing material used across the country because they are readily available, inexpensive and offer a nice, traditional look. However, upon closer inspection you will find that the quality of asphalt roofing has actually gone down over the last 30 years even while the price has gone up. This is due to the ever increasing cost of the main ingredient – asphalt – which is related to the petroleum/gas industry. As the cost of gas to fill up your car has gone up, so has the cost for asphalt! For this reason, less and less asphalt actually makes it into the shingles. These shingles simply are not able to hold up over time the way they did previously. This problem has led more and more homeowners to choose metal for their next roof.
Why do Roofs fail?
Part of the challenge is that asphalt or fiberglass roofs have a tough time in areas like Michigan due to extremes in temperature. The shingles tend to crack during the coldest winter months and curl during the heat of the summer. In fact, the life expectancy of the average asphalt roof in Michigan is now less than 12 years – not good! However the reason most asphalt shingles fail so prematurely is due to improper or unbalanced ventilation. Just like people, a roof needs to “breathe”. It is common for a roof to have the proper “exhaust” ventilation, but not have the proper “intake” ventilation. The problem is that a natural vacuum is created when ventilation is working properly and one cannot work without the other. This means that many roofs may look like they are working to the homeowner when in fact there is absolutely no air flow inside the attic. This leads to severe heat build-up in the summer and this “super-heated” air can quickly reach temperatures of 150 degrees or more. Therefore, many roofs suffer from “cooked shingles” and fail from the inside out.