Asphalt Shingles Basics

shingled roof Asphalt shingles are the most popular residential roofing system in the United States. The unique combination of variety and affordability make asphalt shingles an easy decision for many homeowners when it comes time to replace their roof. Because shingles are so popular, the roofers from CCC Roofing and Construction wanted to provide our readers with a little more information about shingle roofing. We’ll cover the asphalt shingles basics, and hopefully, you learn a little more about the most popular roofing method in America.

Fiberglass v. Organic

There are two types of asphalt shingles that are produced – fiberglass and organic. The base of fiberglass shingles is made of woven fiberglass and is covered with waterproof asphalt coating before being topped with granules that protect the shingles from ultraviolet radiation. These shingles are thinner and weigh less than their traditional counterparts. Fiberglass shingles carry a better fire rating and can include a longer warranty than organic shingles.

Traditional organic asphalt shingles are produced with a base of recycled felt paper topped with waterproofed asphalt and a layer of adhesive asphalt coated with protective granules. Traditional shingles consist of 40% more asphalt than fiberglass shingles making them heavier, thicker and more expensive. The additional asphalt also makes traditional shingles less likely to warp over time.

Manufacturing Type

All shingles are manufactured in 12 inch by 36 inch increments in two primary types – 3 tab shingles and architectural asphalt shingles.

3-tab shingles appear to be separate shingles but it is actually a larger group of shingles on each tab. These continue to be the cheapest and most commonly installed shingle in the United States.

Architectural shingles have a more contoured look with greater dimension. However, their design makes them less suitable for low-slope roofs. Because architectural shingles are thicker and heavier than 3-tab shingles, they offer superior protection.