Budget Roofs, Big Rewards: Exploring Composition Roofing! (2023 Edition)

Last Updated on: 29th October 2023, 06:43 pm

Composition roofing is a type of roofing made from a mixture of materials. The primary materials include asphalt and fiberglass blended to create durable shingles. It’s the most common rooifng option due to its affordability and ease of installation. Understanding composition roofing helps in making an informed decision for your home or project.

Choosing composition roofing can lead to positive outcomes like cost-saving, as it’s generally more affordable than other materials like wood or slate. It also offers a variety of styles to match home’s aesthetic. On the flip side, negative outcomes could include a shorter lifespan compared to metal or tile roofs and it may not withstand extreme weather conditions as effectively.

Table of Contents

What Materials Are Included In Composition Roofing

Composition roofing includes materials like asphalt and fiberglass. Asphalt provides the waterproofing quality while fiberglass adds strength and fire resistance. These materials together create a durable and cost-effective roofing option meeting various asethetic preferences.

  • Asphalt: Often referred to as bitumen, it’s a sticky black, and highly viscous liquid or semi-solid form of petroleum. Asphalt provides the waterproofing for the shingle. It is the material that encases the fiberglass mat and is covered by granules.
  • Fiberglass: A strong lightweight material created by weaving fine strands of glass into a fabric and then using a resin to set shape. It adds strength and fire resistance to the roofing. Fiberglass mat is the core of the composition shingle, giving it its structure. It also provides fire resistance.
  • Recycled Paper Products: Used in organic asphalt shingles, contributing to the structure of the shingle
  • Granules: These are ceramic particles that are embedded in the asphalt to provide color and UV protection to the shingle.
  • Sealant Strips: These are adhesive strips that help to bond the shingles together, creating a solid barrier against wind and water.

The core of composition roofing lies in blend of asphalt and fiberglass. This blend has evolved over the years to meet various climate challenges and aesthetic preferences. Today’s composition roofing offers a balance between cost, durability and style, making it a popular choice among homeowners and construction professionals. The variety in shingle designs allows for a wide range of architectural aesthetics, matching modern, rustic, or classic home designs.

Though widely used, the environmental impact of composition roofing is a topic of discussion due to the use of petroleum products.

Types of Composition Roofing

Types of composition roofing vary in design durability, and cost. This diversity caters to different aesthetic preferences and budgets but it also creates the confusion in making a choice.

TypeDescriptionAdditional Information
Three-tab ShinglesBasic, lighter less expensiveIdeal for budget-conscious consumers
Architectural ShinglesThicker textured appearanceOften resemble higher-end roofing materials
Premium ShinglesHigh-quality luxury shinglesResemble natural materials like slate or wood shakes
Composite roofing vs. natural slate (DaVinci)

How Do 3-Tab Shingles, Architectural Shingles and Premium Shingles Differ?

3-tab shingles, architectural shingles, and premium shingles differ in design complexity and durability. Architectural and premium shingles, though costlier, offer a wider variety of styles and higher durability, making them a popular choice for modern homes. Three-tab shingles, being economical cater to individuals on a tight budget without compromising on the basic functionality of roofing.

  • Three-Tab Shingles: Known as traditional shingles they have a flat appearance with three tabs. Common in budget housing projects.
  • Architectural Shingles: Also known as dimensional or laminate shingles they have a layered, dimensional look. Preferred in modern suburban homes for an balanced cost and aesthetic appeal.
  • Premium Shingles: Or luxury shingles or designer shingles are high-quality shingles often resembling natural materials like wood or slate providing enhanced durability and aestehtic appeal. Chosen for high-end homes due to their luxurious appearance and enhanced durability.

Basic Comparison of Composition Roofing:

TypeMaterialDurabilityAestheticsAverage Cost per Sq. Ft.LongevityIdeal For
3-Tab Shingles (Traditional)Single Layer AsphaltLowLimited$3.50 – $5.5020 – 30 yearsBudget homes, Rental properties
Architectural (Dimensional)Multi-layer AsphaltMedium-HighModerate-High$4.50 – $7.0030 – 50 yearsResidential homes
Designer (Luxury)High-Quality AsphaltHighHigh$7.00 – $14.5040 – 50 yearsHigh-end homes

Cost Comparison

Cost Factor3-Tab ShinglesArchitectural ShinglesDesigner Shingles
Material Cost$1.00 – $2.00$2.00 – $4.00$4.00 – $6.00
Installation Cost$2.50 – $3.50$2.50 – $3.00$3.00 – $8.50
Total Cost per Sq. Ft.$3.50 – $5.50$4.50 – $7.00$7.00 – $14.50


Experts weigh in on composite roofing pros and cons
Attribute3-Tab ShinglesArchitectural ShinglesDesigner Shingles
Standard Size12″ x 36″VariesVaries
Exposure Amount5″ – 5 5/8″VariesVaries

Other Features and Parameters

Feature3-Tab ShinglesArchitectural ShinglesDesigner Shingles
Longevity20 – 30 years30 – 50 years40 – 50 years
Color VarietyLimitedModerateWide
Wind ResistanceLowModerate-HighHigh
Impact ResistanceLowModerateHigh

Benefits of Composition Roofing

We talked about how composition roofs are easy on the pocket, look good, and last a fair amount of time. But what else is good about composition roofs?

What Weather Resistance Does Composition Roofing Offer?

Weather resistance composition roofing offers includes protection against rain, snow, and moderate wind. The materials used like asphalt, help in waterproofing, while the design of shingles allows for effective shedding of water. The benefits extend beyond basic weather resistance. The ease of installation is a notable advantage reducing labor cost and time required. Additionally, the variety in design and color options allows homeowners to choose a style that complements their home’s aesthetics without stretching their budget.

  • Waterproofing: A property that prevents water penetration provided by asphalt in compsoition roofing.
  • Shingle Design: The design of shingles, like tabbed design in 3tab shingles helps in directing water away from the roof.
  • Weather Resistance: Homes in moderate climates benefit from composition roofing’s weather resistance.
  • Ease of Installation: Quick installation examples in small to medium-sized homes reducing the overall roofing cost.

Drawbacks of Composition Roofing

Awareness of issues like a shorter lifespan compared to other materials, and environmental concerns can guide people towards a more informed choice aligning with their values and preferences.

What Lifespan Does Composition Roofing Typically Have?

The lifespan composition roofing typically has ranges from 15 to 30 years depending on the type and maintenance. Premium shingles tend to last longer while three-tab shingles have a shorter lifespan. Besides the lifespan, environmental impact is another drawback. The production of asphalt shingles involves petroleum. This poses environmental concerns. Moreover, composition roofing may not fare well in extreme weather conditions requiring more maintenance or even early replacement in such scenarios.

  • Lifespan: Refers to duration the roofing material remains functional and aesthetically pleasing. Instances of three-tab shingles needing replacement around the 15-year mark.
  • Maintenance: The care and repairs needed to keep roofing in good condition which can extend the lifespan. Regular maintenance is needed to ensure a longer lifespan especially for lower-quality shingles.
  • Environmental Impact: Production and disposal of asphalt shingles contribute to enviornmental concerns. Landfills are receiving old asphalt shingles contributing to waste.
  • Extreme Weather Performance: May require extra maintenance or early replacement in harsh weather conditions. Homes in extreme weather regions are experiencing more frequent roofing issues or replacements.

Maintenance of Composition Roofing

Unveiling the maintenance aspects of composition roofing helps in setting realistic expectations. Knowing the maintenance routine can lead to a prolonged roof life while ignorance may result in unexpected expenses and premature roof failure.

What Maintenance Does Composition Roofing Require?

Composite roofing requires some upkeep. It is fairly straightforward, yet vital for its longevity and performance.

Regular Inspections

Having regular inspections is important to catch any potential issues ealry on. It’s advisable to have a professional inspect your roof at least once or twice a year or after an severe weather event. They can spot problems like loose or missing shingles damage from weather, or other srtuctural issues. Early identification of these problems can prevent minor issues from escalating into major repairs or replacements.


Keeping the roof clean is essential to prevent issues that arise from accumulated debris. Over time, leaves twigs and, other debris can collect on the roof, retaining moisture which can lead to rot or mold. It’s also paramount to keep gutters clean to ensure proper water drainage preventing water damage.

Algae and Moss Prevention

Algae and moss growth can be a common problem especially in damp climates. They not only detract from the appearance of your roof but also hold moisture against the shingles which can lead to damage over time.
There are specially designed algae-resistant shingles or solutions that can be applied to prevent this growth.
Regular cleaning and treatments can help keep algae and moss at bay.

Minor Repairs

Over time minor damages like small cracks or loose shingles can occur. It’s essential to address these issues promptly to prevent further damage. Minor repairs might include replacing damaged shingles, resealing seams or fixing flashing around chimneys and vents.

  • Regular Inspections: Scheduled checks to identify potential issues like damage or wear.
  • Cleaning: Removal of debris moss, and algae to keep roof in good condition.
  • Inspection Frequency: At least twice a year or after severe weather events.
  • Common Repairs: Replacing damaged shingles, fixing leaks and ensuring proper ventilation.
  • Gutter Maintenance: Keeping gutters clean to prevent water backup and damage.

While maintenance can prolong the life of an composition roof, some individuals find the requirement for regular upkeep a drawback especially when compared to more low-maintenance roofing materials. The trade-off between maintenance effort and benefits of composition roofing often leads to debates among homeowners and professionals.

Why real people chose composite slate?

Which Brands Are Recognized For Composition Roofing?

Certain brands are recognized for composition roofing with companies like GAF, CertainTeed and, Owens Corning leading market due to their quality, warranty offerings, and wide range of products.

These popular brands have established their reputations over years by providing reliable, high-quality products. GAF for instance, offers a range of shingle styles and colors, allowing homeowners to find the perfect match for their homes. CertainTeed provides an similar variety but also focuses on sustainable manufacturing practices. Owens Corning on the other hand, is known for its technological innovation in the roofing industry, providing durable and energy-efficient roofing solutions.

  • Product Range: These manufacturers offer a wide range of products to suit various aesthetic preferences and budget constraints. E.g. GAF’s Timberline series is a popular choice among homeowners for its aesthetic appeal and durability.
  • Warranty Offerings: Providing robust warranty support giving homeowners peace of mind. E.g. CertainTeed offers strong warranty support with its SureStart Plus warranty.
  • Quality Assurance: Known for their quality control in manufacturing ensuring durable and reliable products. For example Owens Corning is a trusted name with its rigorous testing and quality control measures.

It’s quite fascinating that while these brands are competing, they each have unique strengths that cater to diffreent homeowner preferences and needs. The competition in fact, drives innovation in the industry, leading to better products and services for consumers.

GAF Products (Sample Selection, October 2023)

Product NameWeight (per square)Shingle ThicknessWind RatingWarrantyFire Rating
Timberline® HDZ™ Shingles220 lbsStandard130 mphLifetimeClass A
Timberline® AH Shingles230 lbsThick130 mphLifetimeClass A
Timberline® UHD Shingles260 lbsUltra Thick130 mphLifetimeClass A
Glenwood® Shingles425 lbsUltra Thick130 mphLifetimeClass A

CertainTeed Products (Sample Selection, October 2023)

Product NameWeight (per square)Shingle ThicknessWind RatingWarrantyFire Rating
Landmark®229-240 lbsStandard110 mphLifetimeClass A
Landmark® Pro250 lbsStandard130 mphLifetimeClass A
Landmark® Premium270 lbsThick130 mphLifetimeClass A
Landmark® TL (Triple Laminate)305 lbsUltra Thick110 mphLifetimeClass A

Shingle Thickness refers to the thickness of shingles, categorized as Standard Thick and, Ultra Thick.

Wind Rating indicates the wind speed the shingles can withstand.

Warranty, all these products come with a lifetime warranty.

Fire Rating, class A is highest rating indicating these shingles provide a high level of fire resistance.

Not just homeowners like composite roofs

If you are not a homeowner but want to know about composition roofing for other reasons, make sure to read the next part of this article.

Not only homeowners looking for good and cheap roofing solutions like composition roofing. Other groups are interested too. Here are some of them and what they think:

Roofing Contractors like composition roofing because it’s easy and fast to put up. This means they can finish more jobs and keep customers happy. It’s also easy to fix if needed which is good for business. The low cost of composition shingles can help attract more customers.

Property Developers search for roofing that’s good, looks nice, and is affordable to increase value and look of their properties. Composition roofing is a cheap choice. This is great for keeping building costs low. The various styles and colors can make properties look better, drawing in more buyers or renters.

Eco-Friendly People worried about the environment like that composition shingles can be recycled. Some shingles also bounce back sunlight helipng to lower energy bills.

Insurance Companies like the features of composition roofing that lower risks like how it can stand up to fire and heavy impacts. The fire ressitance of composition roofing materials can lead to cheaper insurance costs. The strong resistance to damage in storms might mean fewer insurance claims.

Historical Building Lovers, when fixing up old buildings, they might look for modern materials that look like traditional ones. High-quality composition shingles can look like traditional materials like slate or wood helping to keep old look while adding modern durability.

Each of these groups has unique considerations and perspectives on composition roofing showing versatile appeal and functionalities this roofing type offers to a broad spectrum of audiences.

Summing It Up. What Overall Value Does Composition Roofing Offer?

The overall value composition roofing offers involves a cost-effective solution with a range of styles and reasonable durability. It accommodates varied aesthetic preferences and budgets making it a pouplar choice among homeowners.

The overall value also reflects in ease of finding contractors familiar with installation and repair and the availability of materials. However, the environmental concerns and trade-off between durability and cost might sway some individuals towards other roofing options. It’s a personal decision where understanding all facets of composition roofing contributes to a more informed choice.

  • Cost-effective Solution: A solution that provides good value for the money spent characteristic of composition roofing.
  • Contractor Availability: Easier to find experienced contractors for installation and repairs.
  • Material Availability: Wide availability of materials in various styles and colors.
  • Environmental Concerns: A factor that might drive eco-conscious individuals to explore other roofing options.

Next Steps

Understanding the details about composition roofing is the first step in making an informed decision for home. Now that you have the facts it’s time to take action. Here are the next steps to guide you:

Identify Your Budget:

  • Know how much you can spend.
  • Compare the costs of different composition roofing types.

Choose Right Type:

  • Pick a roofing type that suits home and budget.
  • Remember architectural and premium shingles cost more but offer a better look and longer life.

Find a Reputable Installer:

  • Look for experienced well-reviewed roofing installers.
  • Ask them for a detailed quote including labor and material costs.

Schedule a Roof Inspection:

  • Have a professional inspect your current roof.
  • They can advise on whether a new roof is necessary or if repairs will suffice.

Get Multiple Quotes:

  • Don’t settle for the first quote you get.
  • Compare quotes from various installers to ensure you’re getting a fair price.

Check Warranty:

  • Understand the warranty on your new roof.
  • It should cover both materials and installation.

Plan Installation:

  • Schedule the installation at a convenient time.
  • Ensure the process disrupts routine as little as possible.

Maintain Your Roof:

  • After installation regular maintenance extends your roof’s lifespan.
  • Have it inspected annually and after severe weather conditions.

Putting up a new roof is a big step to making a safe and comfy home. The right roof will not only make your home look good but also keep it safe from weather for many years. With the right choice and a trusted person to put it up, you’re buying peace of mind. As you go ahead with your roofing project, remember each choice you make gets you closer to having a strong and good-looking roof over your head. It’s not just about shelter. It’s about making a space where you and your loved ones can make memories. Your path to a new roof is a path to a warm, safe home. So, take each step with confidence.

A word from Viliam (author)

I wrote this article mainly for homeowners looking into or planning to invest in composition roofing. Choosing a roofing material can be hard due to many options available. There’s often not enough simple and clear information about benefits and drawbacks of composition roofing. This article aims to make understanding composition roofing easier. When you explain its advantages and disadvantages in a simple way, I hope to help homeowners make a well-informed decision that suits their needs and budget. Through this article, the goal is to make process of choosing composition roofing less confusing and more helpful for homeowners.


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