Asphalt Composition Shingles

The predominant roofing material we see these days – the one that covers the roofs of a great majority of American houses – is the standard three-tab asphalt shingle. One of the most economical roofing options, asphalt shingles are available in a dozen or so different colors both solid and blended. The shingle products being made today are usually guaranteed for 20, or in some cases 30 years, making them an excellent value.

The next upgrade from a standard three-tab is a thicker variation called an architectural or dimensional shingle. These shingles are built up to be about twice as thick as a normal shingle with the layers staggered to give them a heavier, more substantial or “architectural” look. In some colors they resemble slate, and in other colors wood shakes. With only a modest upgrade in cost and up to a 30-year guarantee, architectural shingles also represent an excellent value with an added touch of style.

Regular Asphalt Composition Shingles

Composition shingles are used on the majority of homes in the United States and is the most economical roofing solution. These shingles are made of a base (organic or fiberglass) that is saturated with asphalt and coated with minerals on one side to resist weathering. The fiberglass shingles are more flexible and stronger than organic shingles. Shingles come in a wide variety of colors. Composition roofs can be overlaid with a new roof if the initial roof is a single layer and in good condition. The life expectancy of composition shingles depends on the rating (e.g., quality) and ranges from 20 to 30 years. Most manufacturers will cover a composition roof under warranty, but only if it has been installed by a certified roofer as the most common problems and maintenance issues occur when the installation did not include adequate ventilation and/or flashing.

Architectural or Dimensional Asphalt Shingles

Dimensional shingles are very similar to composition shingles, but are thicker, and can be used to create a more custom appearance. Depending on the rating, dimensional shingles also have a much better lifespan, with an expectancy of up to 40 years. The issues and concerns with a dimensional roof are the same as those associated with composition shingles, moss buildup, quality, and adequate venting/flashing. Premium laminate shingles are a new innovation offering more color and texture choices. Architectural shingles are often backed by warranties up to 50 years. Architectural shingles also represent an excellent value with an added touch of style.