Safety First: 4 Reasons To Choose Asphalt Shingles

Safety First: 4 Reasons To Choose Asphalt Shingles


Asphalt shingles are classic. Maybe they’re not the most attractive option for your home exterior, but they’ve remained the most popular roofing choice across the country for good reasons.

Among other factors, asphalt shingles are inexpensive, durable, come in several colors, and offer a number of potential aesthetic choices, depending on the style. But though these are all solid reasons to go with asphalt shingles, they aren’t the most important.

What really sets asphalt shingles apart from the rest is the added protection they offer against a wide range of environmental stresses. From hail and snow to fire and tornados, asphalt shingles are best designed to weather the storm.

Simply put, despite their wimpy appearance, you won’t find a tougher material on the market.

Against the Storm

Have you ever been in a hailstorm? Not one of the light ones during which you’re pelted with tiny pebble-like pieces of ice, but the kind that causes damage; the kind of hail a meteorologist might describe as golf ball-sized.

Those types of hailstorms are terrifying and can break a car windshield and worse. You might be surprised to know that hailstorms cause $1.6 billion in insured losses in an average year.

Now imagine having a slate- or wood-shingled roof. In a hailstorm, that could be disastrous. The wood might break and the slate could cause secondary damage if some of it falls from its extreme weight. Also, both are much more expensive to replace when they get damaged than asphalt shingles.

If your roof is covered with asphalt roof shingles, though (at least if you’ve chosen impact class 3 or 4 shingles), you’ll be well positioned to avoid structural damage to your home during a hailstorm. For homeowners hit by one of the 3,000 hailstorms in the U.S. every year, asphalt shingles are a sound choice.

Withstanding Winds

If you live in a region that doesn’t get many hailstorms, you certainly aren’t out of the woods. Anyone who lives in a coastal area in the U.S. knows that hurricanes can be exceedingly dangerous. Aside from flooding, one of the greatest causes of damage to homes is the wind.

Winds during hurricanes have been known to reach speeds as high as 190 mph, and that kind of wind can tear the roof off your house. And though wind storms rarely achieve such a great speed, even hurricanes that hit land with half that amount of force can do substantial damage.

When installed correctly, most asphalt shingles have a limited warranty that guarantees resistance in winds up to 120 mph. This is contingent on other factors, such as nail type, tab adhesion, and flashing, but that’s still an impressive standard. Most of us are lucky if the rest of the structure can withstand such wind strength.

High wind tolerance will also serve your home well if you live in an area prone to tornados and other threatening forms of storm activity. Tornado-prone areas tend to be very different from those frequented by hurricanes, but from the perspective of high wind safety, they will benefit from many of the same building materials.

Fighting Fires

If you’re concerned about your family’s safety — and who isn’t? — then there’s another reason to select asphalt shingles. Asphalt has a class A fire rating, the highest commercially available, and that’s protection you can count on.

Particularly if you live somewhere that’s prone to dry weather and forest fires, added layers of fire protection are one of the most important items you can have, and asphalt provides this.

Of course, no home is completely protected from fires, even if you live in an urban area where forest fires are unheard of. Fire is a universal risk, and this is one of the best arguments for asphalt shingles. Every home can benefit from them, if only for this reason.

What’s more, unlike the kind of protection provided by a smoke detector, for example, asphalt stops fires before they start. The combination of materials, generally a fiberglass base with an asphalt overlay, is fire retardant.

Rather than feeding fires, asphalt shingles offer no purchase. There’s no greater protection than that.

An Insurance Advantage

Between hail, hurricanes, and fires, asphalt shingles have something to offer for nearly every region of the country, which is why many insurance companies encourage their use. This is especially true when it comes to the threat of fires; you’ll typically receive a lower insurance rate for a home that has asphalt shingles than one with cedar shingles, especially if you live in an area prone to forest fires.

A house with cedar shingles is a tinderbox, while one with asphalt is a steel box in the face of a fire.

You’ll also save on insurance with asphalt roofing because you’re insuring something of lower value. Because asphalt shingles are much less expensive than slate, for example, it won’t cost nearly as much to cover the cost of their replacement.

This will reduce your insurance premium. Combine this with potential tax savings on Energy Star-certified asphalt shingles, and they can be a financial boon. Asphalt shingles are safety you can afford.

They may not be the most trendy choice on an aesthetic level, but asphalt shingles coordinate with nearly any home style and offer that unbeatable level of protection. This is an arena where you should let safety dictate the terms and go easier on style. It’s the smart decision.

Iron River Construction and You: the Perfect Combination

If your home is in need of a new roof, it’s time to call Iron River Construction. We bring more than 20 years of experience to every job, but that’s not what makes us great.

The Iron River advantage comes from our commitment to individualized service. We’ll help you choose the right materials and styling to create the home of your dreams, and follow up with the complete range of remodeling services. Our team turns a commitment to excellence and service into a reality.

Want to know more about Iron River Construction’s services? Contact us today for more information and to schedule a consultation. We’ll work with you every step of the way to polish your home to perfection. It’s the Iron River Construction way.

Tracy Dahlin, owner of Iron River Construction, has been selected by REMODELING magazine to join the REMODELING Big50.
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