When replacing a roof, you will notice many different types of shingle materials on the market. Cedar, metal, slate, clay, and asphalt are the most common. Asphalt shingles are the most popular for a variety of reasons, but be aware that this material has some negative aspects that could make it the wrong choice for you.

Organic or Fiberglass Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles are made one of two ways. Organic asphalt shingles are made by layering waste paper, soaking the layers in asphalt, coated with adhesive salt, and topped with ceramic granules. This older method of production is being phased out mainly because organic shingles are more flammable and less eco-friendly than the alternative, fiberglass shingles.

Fiberglass shingles are manufactured using fiberglass as the base rather than waste paper. The base is covered in asphalt enriched with mineral fillers. This process makes the shingle waterproof. The fiberglass base makes the shingles more fire resistant. Additionally, the shingles require less asphalt, an oil-based product. Therefore, the fiberglass based shingles are slightly more environmentally friendly.

Price and Availability

Asphalt is generally inexpensive, especially when compared to other shingle materials. The demand for asphalt shingles is high, you can count on being able to find them without too much hassle. This is good for the initial installation and for any future touch ups that may be needed.


Asphalt shingles come in a variety of colors, so it will be very easy to find the color that accents your home. Asphalt shingles also come in three basic profiles: three-tab, laminated, and premium. The laminated and premium options can have the same high quality look as other more expensive materials. Since asphalt shingles are relatively lightweight, you can achieve a high quality look without having structural work done to your home to support the additional weight of other shingle materials.


Regardless which type of asphalt shingle you choose, you can only reasonably expect them to last 15–30 years. This is quite short in comparison to more expensive shingle materials. For instance, metal shingles are guaranteed to last 40 to 70 years, and slate has been known to last even longer than that.

Since asphalt shingles are lightweight, you are going to want to find an alternative if you live in an area with a lot of strong winds. If you are looking for a cheap roofing material you do not mind replacing every 15 to 30 years, asphalt shingles are a great option. For more information, contact a roofing professional like Roofs by Rodger.