Asphalt shingles cover the majority of Bergen County roofing projects. They are so ubiquitous that people may never stop to give them a second thought, but these thin sheets are very good at what they do. Their lightweight and cost effective design can keep a roof in good repair for decades.
In the 1840s, the United States was in the midst of a construction boom. Builders began looking for ways to make a watertight roof and do it quickly. Rolls of composite roofing were one of those new ideas. Manufacturers began with large rolls of felt or paper and soaked them in coal tar. Then, they covered the tacky surface with sand or ground up seashells. In the early 1800s, coal tar was plentiful and free. It was a byproduct of the gas produced for lamps, and no one had much use for it. Later in the century, the gas companies began charging for the tar, so the fledgling composite roofing industry began looking for an alternative.
As the petroleum industry grew, its byproduct, asphalt, became more readily available. It finally replaced coal tar for soaking the felt.
The experts at All Professional Remodeling of Bergen County roofing companies can assist you with any questions regarding roofing, skylights or windows.
By the end of the 19th century, rolls of composite roofing soaked in asphalt and covered in crushed stone were in common use.
Just after the turn of the century, a roofing contractor and manufacturer in Michigan began cutting the pitch covered felt into shingles. At first, the workers used hand knives to cut individual pieces from the sheets of material. It was a laborious process until about 1915 when producers began using roll dies to cut out the shingles.
Once they mechanized the process, shingles appeared in all shapes and sizes. The variety was endless with complex designs, interlocking tabs and "giant" shingles the size of a legal pad. Different regions even had their own distinctive styles. The modern strip shingle was in widespread use by the 1970s, and the felt rag had been replaced by cellulosic felt by this time.
The shingle has continued to evolve. The granules that used to coat the pitch soaked felt were made out of basic crushed rock. Today, they come in a variety of colors that are cured to form a ceramic like finish. Some even reflect the sun's energy for a designated cool roof. Modern shingles are also less susceptible to algae and decay than previously. The asphalt shingle has evolved over time, but it continues to be a good option for roofing contractors.