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3 Essential Distinctions Between Tar and Asphalt Roofing

When deciding on the perfect roofing solution, it's pivotal to discern the differences between available options. Two of the most prevalent materials in the industry are tar and asphalt. At Triple R Roofing and Siding, we have amassed a wealth of knowledge in various roofing solutions, including tar and asphalt. By understanding the distinctions between the two, property owners can make well-informed decisions based on durability, aesthetics, and cost-effectiveness.

1. Origin and Composition

Tar Roofing

Tar is an organic substance derived mainly from the distillation of coal, wood, or other organic materials. Its use dates back to ancient civilizations, where it was employed for its waterproofing capabilities. This viscous, dark substance has a distinct odor and is primarily used in the built-up roofing systems (BUR).

Asphalt Roofing

Asphalt, on the other hand, is a by-product obtained during the petroleum refining process. This semi-solid hydrocarbon has waterproof properties, making it ideal for roofing applications. Asphalt shingles are widely recognized for their adaptability and can be found atop countless homes in York, PA, and beyond.

2. Durability and Maintenance

Tar Roofing

Tar roofing systems are renowned for their longevity. When adequately maintained, a tar roof can last several decades. However, regular inspections are crucial to detect any signs of cracks or blisters. Due to its organic nature, tar might degrade faster when exposed to prolonged UV rays.

Asphalt Roofing

Asphalt shingles boast impressive durability. With advancements in technology, modern asphalt shingles are designed to resist algae growth, UV rays, and adverse weather conditions. One of the main reasons why many roofing companies in York, PA, like Triple R Roofing and Siding, recommend asphalt shingles is their ease of maintenance. Homeowners need only to carry out periodic inspections and clean their roofs to extend their lifespan.

3. Installation and Cost

Tar Roofing

Installation of tar roofing is labor-intensive and requires specialized equipment and expertise. This roofing system involves layering materials and sealing them using hot tar, increasing the overall installation time. Consequently, tar roofs might be more expensive both in terms of labor and materials.

Asphalt Roofing

Asphalt shingles are relatively easier and quicker to install, making them a favorite among York County roofing contractors. Their straightforward installation process can translate to reduced labor costs. Moreover, asphalt shingles come in various styles and colors, allowing homeowners to achieve desired aesthetics without breaking the bank.


Both tar and asphalt roofing systems have their unique benefits and drawbacks. When making a roofing decision, it's essential to weigh the long-term implications, initial costs, and the specific needs of your property. For residents in the York, PA region, Triple R Roofing and Siding stands ready to provide expert advice and impeccable installation services to cater to every roofing requirement.

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