Asphalt may be best known as the primary ingredient used for road pavement, but the material is also used to make today's most widely used type of shingle. If you've ever touched an asphalt road on a hot day, you know exactly how hot this material can get when exposed to hours of full sun.
However, you don't need to avoid asphalt shingles as a roofing material just to get a cooler roof in the summer. Many manufacturers advertise the use of cooling granules as a coating on the shingles to reflect heat. If you're skeptical of the power of cooling granules, learning about them may change your mind and convince you to try installing these shingles on your home's roof.
How Roofs Get Hot
Your roof is bombarded by solar radiation for nearly every daylight hour. The same sunlight brightening up your home through the windows is also releasing heat that the roof absorbs. The whole roof heats up on a summer's day, then begins to release heat to materials in contact with the roof.
Once the attic space becomes hot enough, heat travels through the ceiling of the home. Even though heat rises, this route of transmission warms up the living space inside a home and increases the load on your air conditioning system.
Why Asphalt Shingles Need Granules
Standard asphalt shingles are made of asphalt and either a layer of fiberglass or organic felt. The felt or mat material acts as a backing for the asphalt and increases the flexibility of the shingle. All asphalt shingles are finished with a top layer of crushed stone granules.
Without a granule coating, the mesh of asphalt and fiberglass would be quickly eroded by the elements, especially the sun's UV rays. Yet, not all granules offer the same benefits. Cooling shingles also feature a special coating of reflective granules that bounce solar radiation off of the surface of the roof, lowering the indoor temperature in the attic and therefore the entire house.
What Works for a Cooler Roof
Cooling granules are proven to work in real world settings, but they vary in the amount of actual cooling they provide. Some asphalt shingles can reduce the roof temperature by up to 50 degrees. Light colored shingles are the most effective at reducing roof heating effects. You can still choose a darker roof color as long as the granules are coated for maximum reflectivity.
When to Switch to Cool Shingles
Asphalt shingles have to be replaced before the granule layer is visibly missing and the shingle starts to crack. Depending on the quality of shingles used on your roof, you can get between 15 to 50 years of life from a roof before needing a replacement.
Replacing your current roof with new cool shingles is not a cost-effective method of reducing energy bills when the roof is still in good condition. However, if your roof is already damaged or reaching the end of its warranty period, cool roof shingles are a worthwhile investment because you'll save on air conditioning costs while enjoying a new roof you already needed.
Where You Can Save With Tax Credits
Choosing asphalt shingles with cooling granules could make you eligible for a federal tax credit. Since 2005, homeowners have been able to claim some of the material costs for Energy Star approved asphalt roofing products.
In addition to these kinds of federal tax credits, you may qualify for local and state credits as well to further offset the cost of choosing a cool roofing product. Talk to a tax professional for details of what would apply in your situation.
Discuss your options for cooling your home from the outside in with our team here at Lane's Contracting, Inc. Our roofing services are more valuable than you think for creating an energy-efficient home.