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Sunday, May 15, 2011

The History of the Roof Granule

Over 100 years ago the first attempts at making asphalt shingles began. They couldn't be shipped because they would stick together and when they got to where they were going they didn't last long. The UV rays of mama sun ate them up in a hurry. Organic materials don't do well in solar wind. Thus the roofing granule was invented and all was well in the universe. Then all hail broke out and the storm chaser industry was born.

The little pebbles began as larger rocks smashed into smithereens, a rarely used roofing term, and thrown onto the shingle just like a miniature gravel road. Aesthetics and function found harmony in the new cheaper roofing product that helped build homes much faster and with less lumber than was required for the traditional tile, slate or wood roofs. Sure wood roofs don't weigh much but then it rains and they are brutally heavy. Their wet weight reaches close to tile.

Without these little pebbles the asphalt in the roof would be digested in a short time by sol and the roof would look bad and leak.

Nowadays many insurance adjusters think that granule loss without fabric tearing does not constitute hail damage to an asphaltic roofing product and amounts to a cosmetic damage only. Well hoot-a-nanny. Ask any home inspector, home buyer, roofing, manufacturer, laboratory expert, or bird what they think of granule loss and they'll tell you all bets are off and the roof is ruined.

Some fire resistance is offered by the granules because without them the burning brands used by the testing labs would catch the asphalt on fire and leave the roofing without it's A or C fire rating. I've always wondered why we never heard of a class B fire rating. Maybe someone could phone in the answer. The third caller gets a free shingle.

In retrospect, granules serve four primary purposes and one secondary one: to provide evidence that hail hit the roof and fill up the local motels with riff raff.

Someday I'll right about the evolution of the granule from natural to synthetic for color steadfastness. Did you know that roofers lose most of their fingerprints from grabbing those rough old shingles? That's why DNA testing was invented.

Jon Alan Wright
Jon Wright Roofing, Siding, and Windows
1915 Peters Rd., Suite 310
Irving, TX 75061
972.251.1818 Office
214.718.3748 Cell
972.554.8090 Fax
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