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What Every Asphalt Shingle Roofing System Should Have

For homeowners, installing a new roof can reinvigorate the architectural appeal of their homes. It also does a better and more efficient job of protecting their family and personal belongings from harsh weather conditions, including rainfall, snow, hail and the glare of the sun. This becomes possible through a collection of roofing components that all work together to form a complete and sturdy system, significantly improving the overall performance of the roof. But what exactly makes an asphalt shingle roofing system? Keep reading to learn more about the matter.

What Every Asphalt Shingle Roofing System Should Have

  • Asphalt Shingles

In North America, asphalt shingles have been among the most utilized roof materials for decades. Shingles are manufactured as either three-tab shingles or architectural shingles. The three-tab variety is designed to appear like three shingles stacked on top of each other but is actually all one piece. Architectural shingles are manufactured with an additional layer of asphalt to boost the dimensional look and permit them to mimic the appearance of other roofing products, such as slate or wood. An important thing to remember is that asphalt shingles are not made of asphalt all the way through the shingle. They consist of either a fiberglass or felt paper base glazed with a waterproof layer of asphalt and coated with ceramic granules. The main purpose of asphalt shingles is to provide a water-shedding surface and create an eye-catching exterior look that makes your home unique.


The underlayment is a water-resistant or waterproof material installed on your deck. It is applied under all roofing materials as an added barrier between the roof deck and your shingles. It offers improved protection from severe weather conditions. There are three types of underlayment: asphalt-saturated felt, non-bitumen synthetic underlayment and rubberized asphalt underlayment. Asphalt-saturated felt used to be the go-to material before synthetic products became increasingly popular. Synthetic underlayment is the preferred material of most professional roofing companies in this day and age. This is because the addition of fiberglass enhances the tear resistance and stability of synthetic products. Rubberized asphalt is the most expensive choice among all three since it contains higher percentages of asphalt and rubber polymers. It is completely waterproof – unlike the other two which are only water-resistant – making it extremely helpful to homes located in wet regions.

Ice and Water Barriers

An ice and water barrier, sometimes also referred to as an ice and water shield, is a specific type of underlayment membrane that is developed to protect vulnerable areas, such as valleys, chimneys and other protrusions, from damage caused by ice buildup and water penetration. The adhesive back surface of the membrane is removed prior to installation and creates the waterproof seal between the underlayment and the roof deck. Covering an entire roof with an ice and water protector can prevent leaks even after strong, high winds blow shingles off the roof. This effectively avoids further damage and helps make roof repairs a lot easier. Keep in mind, however, that such a membrane can also become a vapor barrier due to its continuously modified bitumen composition. It is crucial to consider adequate attic ventilation should you decide to cover the entire roof with an ice and water protector.

Starter Strip Products

Every roof has to start somewhere. Starter strips, commonly known as starter shingles, are the initial products installed on an asphalt shingle roof. They are applied right before the first trail of finish shingles, which will comprise the discernable parts of the roof. Since starter shingles will be covered by roof shingles, they are generally coated with natural, uncolored protective granules. Starter shingles are used at the lower edge of the roof and at the gable or rake edges of the roof. They cover the joints between the finish shingles to ensure absolute water-shedding coverage. In essence, starter strip products are crucial for proper shingle installation, providing the first row of sealant required to prevent blow-offs and minimize water damage to the roof and siding.

Hip and Ridge Products

Hips and ridges are critical intersections of all roofing systems that need to be carefully treated with weather-blocking products. Hip and ridge items can also be used for supplying ventilation to help form a breathable roofing system so it can last longer and perform better. It is important to find high-quality products to successfully prevent wind-driven rain, snow and other debris from seeping into the peaks and corners of your roof. In addition, hip and ridge shingles provide the finishing touch for a comprehensive roofing installation. They can add a clean, sophisticated look to your roof’s hips and ridges, enhancing the character and curb appeal of your residential property.

Ventilation System

The principal function of a balanced ventilation system is to keep the attic space dry in the winter season and cool during the summer months. It promotes healthy airflow and draws stale, moist air out of your house so that the rest of the interior remains safe, comfortable and pleasant. It also helps eliminate ice damming and fend off early shingle deterioration by keeping the attic temperature closer to the outside temperature. Accurate design of the ventilation system and proper construction by the roof contractor are extremely important. The roof design should provide enough air space for insulation and air circulation under the eaves and roof. A few common types of roof vents include gable vents, ridge vents and static vents.

How Long Do Asphalt Shingles Last?

There are an array of factors that can affect the lifespan of an asphalt shingle roof. These include the local climate, the roof pitch, the quality of installation, and of course, the quality of the shingle. Scout around, and you will find that most roofing companies offer warranties ranging from 15 to 30 years. While you may find the expected service life of asphalt shingles sufficiently long, you most definitely need to consider regular cleaning and maintenance as well. This is to head off common roofing issues, such as leaks, mold and rot, effectively prolonging the life of your roofing system.

How Do You Know When Asphalt Shingles Need to Be Replaced?

Walk around your house, and take a good look at your roof. If you notice any of the following issues, it is high time you consult a professional roofer about potentially replacing your asphalt shingles:

  • Curled or buckled shingles
  • Missing shingles
  • Lifted shingles
  • Cracked shingles
  • Ceramic granules accumulating in your gutters and downspouts

How Do You Maintain Asphalt Shingles?

It is far easier to maintain asphalt shingles than other roofing materials, including metal, steel or wood shingles. To keep your shingles in tip-top condition, use zinc and copper wire at the ridge to prevent moss and algae growth. Be sure to use copper sulfate or other manufacturer-approved chemicals recommended by your roofing contractor when physically removing algae marks. It is also necessary to perform regular cleaning and repairs to prevent damage to roofing components and protrusions like chimneys, skylights, sidewalls and plumbing pipes.

Contact Us for Roof Installation and Repair Today

Transform the look and feel of your home with a quality roofing upgrade. Paddy’s is a leading source of top-rated exterior improvement solutions. From finding the best material to expert installation and post-construction cleanup, we have got you covered. Call us today at (302) 208-9510, or fill out our contact form to set up an appointment. We look forward to creating a cozier and more pleasant living space for you and your family!