Asphalt (Composition) Shingles

Composition shingles are used on the majority of homes in the United States (account for as much as 80 percent of the residential market). 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 (quality) and ranges from 10 to 30 years. The most common problems and maintenance issues occur when the roof installation did not include adequate venting and/or flashing. Moss buildup also needs to be controlled to prevent damage to the 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 have a life 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

Asphalt shingles are at the low end of the price scale. Good-quality asphalt products backed by 20- to 30-year warranties are available for roughly half the cost of architectural shingles, but may not have a 30- to 40-year warranties. Tearing off the existing shingles, which is highly recommended.

Your Alpha Guru will walk you through the different types of Asphalt shingles available. Multi tabbed shgingles are simply aspalt shingles that are made to look like slate tile, wood shakes, and other materials. The “tabs” are installed in even spaces on your roof to give the look of a uniform and formal appearance, as though they were laid like bricks.

Some manufacturers offer styles with shaped corners or randomly spaced tabs trimmed to different heights for a more unique look.

Asphalt Three-Tab Shingles 

  • Consist of a sandwich of asphalt and fiberglass or felt layers covered by mineral granules
  • Weigh 2 to 3 pounds per square foot
  • Lightweight versus slate, clay, & cement tile
  • Reasonably priced
  • Good fire and wind resistance
  • Wide array of color options makes it easy to match with siding and trim styles
  • Have unique materials to prevent unsightly staining in damp environments

Architectural Asphalt Singles

  • Sometimes called “dimensional”, “laminated”, or “multi thickness” shingles
  • Mimic natural inconsistencies of a cedar shake or slate roof
  • Same material composition as multi tab cutout shingles
  • Instead of a single shingle layer, two layers are bonded together to create a three-dimensional appearance
  • Top layer has wide, randomly sized notches, & overlays a staggered, un-notched bottom layer to give natural appearance
  • Added thickness typically translates to 30 to 50-year warranties