Asphalt shingles are the most popular material used to cover New Jersey roofing, primarily for their low cost and ease of installation. This material comes in several different types, designs and colors, with a longevity of between 15 to 20 years. It provides reasonable protection from weather if installed during the warm season and provided with proper ventilation. Asphalt shingles also need relatively little maintenance.
This popular roofing material is made up of a fiberglass base material that provides strength. Over this, manufacturers lay a thin layer of sticky asphalt, similar to that used on roads. The asphalt is used to hold a granular coating made of crushed minerals. This coating helps repel water and protects the roof from the sun. It can be dyed to produce a wide range of shingle colors.
Most homes in New Jersey still use roofs with a relatively steep slope that discourages buildup of water and snow. These roofs work well with asphalt shingles, which require a pitch of at least 4:12 and can be installed on roofs with a pitch of up to 12:12. On low slope roofs as low as 2:12, asphalt shingles require significant extra waterproofing and ventilation to prevent leaks and other performance problems.
Types of Asphalt Shingles in New Jersey
New Jersey roofers use several different types of asphalt shingles on homes and businesses. The most common and least expensive is the strip shingle. This shingle is rectangular and has several cut-out tabs. It is nailed directly to the roof sheathing, with each course overlapping the previous one.
Roofers may also use dimensional, or laminated, strip shingles. These are thicker and provide the illusion of depth. Laminated shingles look more like traditional slate and are much more expensive than strip shingles. In very windy parts of New Jersey, it's often smarter to use interlocking shingles, which are less likely to blow off of the roof during a storm. These mechanically attach to one another instead of using a sealing strip.
Disadvantages of Asphalt Roofing in New Jersey
Despite the fact that asphalt shingles are among the most common New Jersey roofing materials, they have some disadvantages for use in this state. For instance, this type of roof covering can decay rapidly when exposed to sudden weather changes. The climate in New Jersey is much less consistent than the climate in many other states. Sudden storms and changes in temperature and humidity are common, as are the famous winter and spring “nor'easters.”
This means that New Jersey homeowners who choose shingles may have to replace their asphalt shingles more frequently than those in areas with a more moderate climate. As asphalt shingles are non-recyclable, they end up contributing heavily to the waste stream.
Alternate Roofing Options for NJ Homeowners
While they're the most popular option for New Jersey homeowners, asphalt shingles are not the only roofing material used in this state. Other options include steel, aluminum or copper sheeting, which is used heavily in commercial buildings, as well as clay, concrete and slate tiles, which last for a long time but are heavy and much more expensive than other options.