Typs of asphalt shingles

Typs of asphalt shingles

Many types of shingles are used with sloping roofs, including asphalt shingles, tile roofing shingles (clay or concrete), slate shingles, wood shingles and shakes, and metal shingles. But of all these material types, the overwhelmingly most popular, versatile, simple to install, and cost-effective choice is the asphalt shingle roof.

Types of asphalt shingles

Two types of base materials are used to make asphalt shingles, organic and fiberglass. Both are made similarly, with an asphalt-saturated base covered on one or both sides with asphalt or modified asphalt, the exposed surface impregnated with slate, schist, quartz, vitrified brick, and stone. or ceramic granules and the underside is treated with sand, talc, or mica to prevent shingles from sticking to one another before use.


Organic shingles are made with a base mat of organic materials such as waste paper, cellulose, wood fiber, or other materials. This is saturated with asphalt to make it waterproof, then a top coating of adhesive asphalt is applied, covered with solid granules. Such shingles contain around 40% more asphalt per unit area than fiberglass shingles. Their organic core leaves them more prone to fire damage, resulting in a maximum class “B” FM fire rating. They are also less brittle than fiberglass shingles in cold weather.

The early wood material-based versions were very durable and hard to tear, an important quality before self-sealing materials were added to the underside of shingles to bond them to the layer beneath. Also, some organic shingles produced before the early 1980s may contain asbestos.


Fiberglass reinforcement was devised as the replacement for asbestos in organic mat shingles. Fiberglass shingles have a base layer of glass fiber reinforcing mat made from wet, random-laid glass fibers bonded with urea-formaldehyde resin. The mat is then coated with asphalt containing mineral fillers to make it waterproof. Such shingles resist fire better than those with organic/paper mats, making them eligible for as high as a class “A” rating. Area density typically ranges from 1.8 to 2.3 pounds per square foot (8.8–11.2 kg/m2).

Styles of asphalt shingles

There are three types of asphalt shingles to choose from 3-tab, dimensional, and luxury.

3-tab asphalt shingles lay flat and get their name from the 3 tabs on each shingle strip.

3-tab asphalt shingles

Dimensional shingles give you a good-looking random pattern or simulate the look of a wood shake roof.

dimensional asphalt shingles

Luxury or premium shingles are larger than other asphalt shingles and are made to look like slate.

luxury asphalt shingles

While 3-tab used to dominate the market, dimensional shingles are the most common type installed on roofs today. Luxury style shingles are just as heavily marketed as dimensional but are almost double the price


Components of asphalt shingles

The main materials and components that make up an asphalt roof are:

Roof decking

Roof flashing


Drip edge

Ice and water shield


Ridge capping

Roof vents

Pipe boots



Characteristics of asphalt shingles

Wind damage: Asphalt shingles come in varying resistance to wind damage. Shingles with the highest fastener pull-through resistance, and bond strength of the self-seal adhesive, properly nailed will resist wind damage the best.

Hail damage: Hail storms can damage asphalt shingles. For impact resistance, UL 2218 Class 4 is best. This increases survivability from hail storms but the shingles become more susceptible to hail damage with age.

Fire resistance: Forest fires and other exterior fires risk roofs catching on fire. Fiberglass shingles have a better, class A, flame spread rating based on UL 790, and ASTM E 108 testing. Organic shingles have a class C rating.

Algae resistance: Algae is not believed to damage asphalt shingles but it may be objectionable aesthetically. Different treatment methods are used to prevent discoloration from algae growth on the roof. Moss feeds on algae and any other debris on the roof. Some manufacturers offer a 5- to 10-year warranty against algae growth on their algae-resistant shingles.

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