From Roads to Roofs: The History of Asphalt Roofing

Asphalt has been the number one roofing option for American homes for almost 100 years. Here’s a brief history of how asphalt went from being used for roads to being the number one roofing option in America.

What Is Asphalt Roofing?

Asphalt roofing starts with a membrane. This membrane can be organic, which is made from wood chips, recycled cardboard, or fiberglass. That membrane goes through multiple processes involving asphalt. The asphalt makes these membranes completely waterproof.

Asphalt roofing is cheap but extremely durable. It\’s popular because manufacturers often provide warranties with them, which can range from ten years to a lifetime.

Asphalt shingles can go for as low as $1.50. It’s also recyclable and fireproof. Because it’s recyclable, roof replacements are easy with this type of roofing.

Asphalt Roofing Inception

Before the advent of asphalt roofing, carpenters would place a layer of fabric and then coat it with pine tar. Eventually, people began precoating these fabrics and covering them with sand. Soon after, they began to use asphalt. All of these events happened  around the 1800s, but the asphalt roofing you know today won’t be making its grand entrance until the early 1900s.

Henry Reynolds invented the roofing shingle. He cut a piece of asphalt-covered felt into smaller pieces. By 1915, these roofing shingles were mass-produced, but they still hadn’t caught on.

 The U.S. National Board of Fire Underwriters launched a campaign to stop the use of wooden shingles. This caused asphalt shingle sales to shoot up significantly. Eleven million shingles were produced in 1939 alone. 

Eventually, the asphalt shingle industry settled on a standard size, which was 12” X 36”.

Asphalt Roofing Today

After over a century after the creation of asphalt shingles, the market has grown immensely. As of right now, the asphalt industry is valued at around $12 billion. Four out of five homes utilize asphalt shingles as their roofing of choice.

Newer technologies like adding a strip of asphalt to make shingles more wind and waterproof have been developed recently. With constant improvements being made, asphalt roofing is surely here to stay. If you’re in need of roofing repairs or replacements in York, PA Grace Family Roofing has you covered. Install your very own asphalt roofing as soon as possible.

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