The history of asphalt shingles is full of innovations and improvements. Since their conception, asphalt shingles have improved upon their last design. Their deep-rooted history, customizable features, and low price tag make them the most popular roofing material in the United States.

Before asphalt shingles were used for roofing houses, wood, slate, and clay tiles were used. These materials are still used today, but their price tags are higher than their asphalt shingle counterpart. Asphalt shingles are easy to install, which adds to their attractiveness for many homeowners. Expert Roofing & Remodeling knows how beneficial asphalt shingles are for homeowners, which is why we specialize in their installation, repair, and replacement.

When Were Asphalt Shingles First Used?

Before the 1900s, businesses would use large pieces of asphalt roofing that lacked granules. The rolls of asphalt would be rolled out onto the decking and installed that way. This process required several hands at once along with extreme coordination for effective installation. The material was made of felt saturated in coal tar.

In the late 1800s, early iterations of granules were starting to be implemented. A wide range of materials was used for granules, such as sand, slate, mica, and oyster shells. Felt was eventually removed from the base and replaced with a cotton rag.

Then, in the early 1910s, a roofer named Henry Reynolds began cutting the rolls into shingles. This change made the shingles easier to install. This method of installing asphalt material would not catch on until 1915, when manufacturers began to make the change.

The History of Asphalt Shingles on Two-Story Home

The Growing History of Asphalt Shingles

The popularity of asphalt shingles would not rapidly grow when the National Board of Fire Underwriters campaigned against wood shingles in 1911. As wood shingles were sought as serious fire hazards, asphalt shingles became more attractive to homeowners.

The 1920s saw a rise in cotton rag prices. To keep costs down, manufacturers switched to other organic options like wood pulp and wool. Around this time, the cut of the shingles became more standard. Some manufacturers developed diamond-shaped cuts to improve the resistance to the wind. Synthetic materials started to appear in the shingles’ bases approximately 20 years later.

During the 30s and 40s, more shingles started to see great iterations than their predecessor. Waterproofing and wind resistance were two major features manufacturers continued to improve. As shingles were continually innovated and improved upon, their popularity grew faster and faster. Since then, asphalt shingles have been the dominating roofing material in the United States.

The Modern History of Asphalt Shingles

The modern versions of asphalt shingles would not appear until the 1960s and 70s. They consisted of a brittle fiberglass mat that was susceptible to breaking while being installed. Additionally, these modern beginnings did not have any resistance to wind or hail. As manufacturers continued to research new designs, they eventually overcame these hurdles. Today, approximately 95% of all asphalt shingles are made using fiberglass.

Since perfecting the materials used in asphalt shingles, manufacturers turned to the design and look. Consumers began wanting dimensional designs and different colors. Now, asphalt shingles can come in a wide range of colors, textures, and styles perfect for any home. Most modern types of asphalt shingles are dimensional shingles, but there are also 3-tab shingles and luxury shingles.

History of Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt Shingle Experts

Knowing the history of asphalt shingles can help you understand the impact this roofing material has had on the United States. As the most common type of roofing material in the country, choosing asphalt shingles as your roof is an easy task. Find more out about this roofing material by visiting our Complete Guide to Asphalt Roof Shingles. It covers anything you would want to know about asphalt shingles.

When you need to replace or repair your asphalt shingle roof, contact the experts. Expert Roofing & Remodeling will do more than just teach you about the history of asphalt shingles. We’ll complete your roofing project professionally and with precision. Give us a call today at (469) 809-6160, or visit our free estimate page to fill out the form. A project manager will discuss the details associated with your roofing project.