3 Main Differences Between Tar and Asphalt Roofing

3 Main Differences Between Tar and Asphalt Roofing

When deciding the suitable roofing material for your new home, there are many aspects to consider. The medium of your choice will impact your budget, the quality of materials and craftsmanship available, and even the design options you have. When choosing between tar and asphalt roofing material as a homeowner in York County, PA, three main aspects differentiate these two types of roofing materials.


Tar has a longer life expectancy than asphalt roofs because they don’t become brittle with age; they retain their elasticity and flexibility better. Asphalt can lose its original strength and become more brittle over time from weathering.

Tar shingles may last as long as 40 years but do not provide the added durability that shingles provide. Asphalt is much easier to maintain, it does not need the same level of maintenance as a tar roof. Tar roofs will eventually have to be repaired once or twice every ten years, whereas asphalt shingles can last up to 20 years with minimal fixes. Depending on the time you want to invest in your roof, you can choose between asphalt shingles or tar shingles.


Asphalt shingles must be laid on top of your existing roof before installation can begin and are relatively easy to install. Tar is applied in thicker layers and requires more time than asphalt. That is why tar requires more labor during the application process. However, roofers near York County, PA can apply a tar coating in as little as a single day, while asphalt takes at least two days to cover an area of the same size. Also, tar roofs need to be installed after the roof has been repaired because many designs are made of heavy materials that will not work with an existing roof. That is more time-consuming and expensive than asphalt shingles, but it will give you much more protection over the long term.

Fire Retardant Features

Although both roofs have fire retardant aspects, there are some differences in the amount and quality of the flame retardants used in each type. Tar roofs are thick, layer-upon-layered bitumen and typically contain about 34 pounds of flame retardant per cubic meter. They are also fire resistant in that they burn at a much slower rate than asphalt does. Tar is roughly said to have 80% of the flame-retardant qualities of asbestos. Further, tar roofs become hot in the summer and cold in the winter, whereas asphalt shingles are more comfortable all year long. For that reason, it might be practical to go with an asphalt shingle roof if you mostly spend time on your roof or plan to sleep under it.

Whether a residential or an industrial roof, it is crucial to choose the best roof that will provide long-lasting results and be easy to maintain. There are many types of roofs available, made of many materials and with different levels of durability. The right choice depends on your specific needs, the look you desire for your home, your budget, and the type of roof you would like to have installed.

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