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Charleston Roofing: Article About The Causes Of Shingle Wear

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Some types of roofing can last for hundreds of years, such as clay tiles and wood or slate shingles, but the common asphalt shingle is only designed to last about 20 years. Some manufacturers offer lifetime warranties on shingles, but these types will still need to be replaced after about 80 years. Additionally, a lifetime warranty on shingles doesn't mean they won't need repairs or replacement before the warranty expires; a warranty simply protects consumers from defects that happen normally in the manufacturing process. These warranties typically cover the cost of repair and replacement parts when shingles are damaged by the normal causes of wear and tear, such as seasonal temperature changes, rain, hail, ice, UV light, moss and algae. There is little a homeowner can do to prevent these causes of erosion in their shingles, but by scheduling regular inspections with a Charleston roofing contractor, leaks and other issues can be detected before they become major problems.

The two biggest causes of shingle wear are storm runoff and temperatures rising and falling.

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Heating and cooling of the shingles causes the fiberglass and asphalt to expand and contract, leading to brittle, cracked shingles, and rain washes out the long-chain petroleum hydrocarbons that make shingles pliable and resistant to breakage. These oils wash away soonest from the ridge, eaves and perimeter of the roof where storm runoff is heaviest, and one sign that shingles need to be replaced is a deposit of gravel being left at the bottom of storm gutters. Another more obvious sign is when shingles begin to shrink due to the loss of these oils; worn, smooth, shrunken shingles are the biggest cause of leaks in roofs.

Other causes of shingle damage include ice dams, hail storms, UV light and algae, but the only real damage caused by algae is cosmetic as it doesn't feed on the inorganic materials. Shingle manufacturers develop their products to resist these causes of erosion to varying degrees, and the American Society of Testing Materials assigns ratings to the different categories of shingles. Some varieties are resistant to algae growth because they contain copper and zinc in the outer layer of asphalt, and other varieties are resistant to damage from seasonal temperature changes, hail, rain and ice. All fiberglass asphalt shingles receive a Class A fire safety rating, compared to the Class C rating given to organic asphalt shingles. Safety and low cost are the reasons most people have inorganic asphalt shingles in the United States.

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