All You Need to Know About Asphalt Roof Shingles

Asphalt shingles are a type of roofing material that incorporates asphalt for waterproofing. They are commonly used in smaller residential roof replacement and new construction projects for sloped roofs and single homes. In the US, more about 70-80% of roofs are asphalt shingles. They have also become popular in different parts of the world. The material is easy to handle and to install. These roofing materials are affordable and come in varying thicknesses, colors, and textures and can be treated against mildew and mold.

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    Materials Used to Make Asphalt Shingles

    These roofing shingles are mainly made of fiberglass or organic materials.

    What are Shingles made of_

    Fiberglass Shingles

    Fiberglass asphalt shingles comprise of a mat base that is covered and saturated with flexible asphalt. They are also surfaced with mineral granules. Fiberglass shingles were introduced in the 1950s. They contain more asphalt when compared to the organic asphalt shingles. Again, they are thinner and lighter than cellulose fiber mat.

    Organic Shingles

    The organic asphalt shingles comprise a base mat constituting of cellulose fiber of wood chips, recycled paper, or wood rags and coated with asphalt on both sides. The modern-day organic asphalt shingles consist of asphalt-saturated roofing felt.

    The base mat provides strength for the shingles. It’s covered with a saturant (flexible asphalt with a high melting point).

    The saturant is reinforced suing trap rock, ground limestone, slate, and similar inert materials. Additionally, coarse mineral granules are pressed on the surface of the asphalt to give it color. This makes the shingles fire and weather resistant. The backside of the shingles is covered with mica, talc, or sand to prevent them from sticking together.

    Types of Asphalt Shingles

    These shingles are mainly classified into three main categories:

    Premium Shingles, 3-tab Shingles, Prem Shingles

    Traditional 3-Tab Shingles

    They also come by the name three-tab shingles. These are the basic and the original asphalt shingles. They comprise one layer of asphalt and adopt a flat appearance offering a slate look. They are light and cost less than other shingles.

    Architectural or Dimensional Shingles

    These asphalt shingles are also referred to as laminate or architectural shingles. They comprise two or more layers of asphalt united for a better multi-dimensional and thicker look. They are engineered to mimic natural slate or wood shake roofing aesthetics. The laminate shingles offer improved warranty protection compared to the 3-tab shingles.

     Premium Shingles

    These are the premium quality asphalt shingles. They provide functionality and differentiated appearance surpassing the dimensional shingles. Besides been the “heavyweights,” these shingles feature high-end weathering protection. They also offer stunning looks.

    Asphalt Shingle Colors

    Besides the various types of asphalt shingles and designs, these roofing materials also come in a variety of colors. Since their inception, more and more colors continue to be unveiled. In simple terms, you can get a color of choice that matches your style.

    The asphalt shingle tones range from red to gray to green to brown and blue. You also have the option of mixing dark and light tones to generate a vintage or weathered shingles. Modern technology in this industry allows you to test the color online on your home before making your final decision.

    Different Shingle Colors

    Time to Replace Your Asphalt Shingles?

    If your shingles look great and there are no leaks or visible signs of damage, you don’t have to replace them. The following warning signs may indicate you need to replace your asphalt shingles.

    • Recurrent leaks
    • Curled or cupped edges
    • Cracks on the shingles
    • Dull appearance denoting the loss of granules

    If you note any of the above signs or you no longer like the appearance of the shingles, contact a reputable roofer to handle the task. You may want to opt-in for a roof repair, it could be a cheaper option.


    Asphalt shingles require minimal maintenance and are easy to install. Typically, asphalt shingles last for 15 to 20 years. The fiberglass shingles last longer between20 to 30 years.

    average costs of asphalt shingle roof

    Costs of Asphalt Roof Shingles

    Typically asphalt shingles costs are calculated “per square.” This reflects the roofing materials needed to cover 100 square feet of roofing. A bundle of asphalt shingles costs approximately $30, translating to about $90 per square feet. Again, the rice will also vary with the type of shingles you plan to use. For example, you can expect to pay the following amounts for the various types of asphalt shingles.

    • Three-tab shingles($55 to $95 per square)
    • Dimensional shingles($80 to $125 per square)
    • Luxury dimensional shingles($120 to $180 per square)

    You’ll also need to consider the cost of accessories such as roofing paper, drip edge, roofing nails, moisture barrier roll, etc. The installation cost is also calculated separately.

    Advantages of Asphalt Shingles

    These shingles are durable and come in a variety of colors and designs to match your exterior. Other benefits include:

    • They are one of the cheapest roofing options in the market. Their popularity as the roofing material of choice for most homeowners backs this fact.
    • These shingles come in varying styles and fit, including the three-tab, laminate, and luxury versions. Since they are visually flexible, you have a wide variety to choose from.
    • Asphalt shingles are pretty easy to install because they are lightweight and easy to cut. They are also easy to replace.


    • May decay due to sudden weather changes
    • Strong winds can damage and uplift the shingles
    • They are not as durable as genuine slate(100+years), metal roofing(50+years), concrete or clay tiles(40 to 55 years) and cedar shakes(25-40 years)
    • Improper installation by inexperienced roofers can result in leaks and water damage

    Are Asphalt Shingles Ecofriendly?

    eco friendly shingles

    Asphalt shingles may contain asbestos, lead, cadmium and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), among other toxic chemicals. PAHs are potentially carcinogenic. They do not leach from the shingles but can be emitted during the manufacture of the shingles. Due to this reason, KOG Roofing always recycles our singles! We want to make as little impact on the environment as possible while providing the best service to our customers.

    Fortunately, you can go for the cool-roof technology asphalt shingles that are energy-efficient. These shingles absorb less heat from the sun and help to minimize energy needs, especially during summer.

    Asphalt Shingle FAQs

    How Long Do Shingles Last?

    3 tab shingle is the most basic and less costly asphalt shingle option for most roofs. A typical 3-tab asphalt shingle roof may last from 10 - 20 years.

    Architectural or Dimensional Shingles are thicker, durable, and longer-lasting than three-tab shingles. Most architectural shingle roofs will last anywhere from 15 - 25 years.

    Premium Shingles are a luxury asphalt shingle for premium homes. A premium shingle is thicker and will last longer than most architectural shingles. The expected lifespan of a premium shingle roof is anywhere from 20 to 30 years,

    Can I Paint Asphalt Shingles?

    Yes, you can paint asphalt shingles, but it is highly recommended you do NOT paint your roof. Your roof is directly exposed to the weather, so it will be more prone to damage. Also, asphalt shingles consist of granules that will detach over time and will lead to blotchy areas on the painted surface.

    Will Bleach Damage Asphalt Shingles?

    Yes, use a sprayer attached to a garden hose that’s filled with equal parts bleach and water. or liquid chlorine and water. This is the best way to clean a roof if you have asphalt shingles. After spraying the roof with the mixture, allow it to sit on the surface for 15 to 20 minutes before rinsing thoroughly with clean water.

    KOG TIP: Never use a pressure washer to clean your asphalt roof.  The pressure will remove the granules on your roof, and shorten its lifespan. 

    What Are The Benefits Of Recycling Asphalt Shingles?

    Shingle recycling saves resources from being sent to a landfill. Recycled asphalt shingles are most commonly used in pavement. Recycling shingles also allows homeowners to make a positive environmental contribution. This is way KOG Roofing always recycles their asphalt roofs!

    Learn More about Asphalt Shingles:

    We are a full-service home improvement company. At KOG Roofing our focus is to provide a service that will protect your biggest investment, your home. Our roofing contractors fully certified by GAF and we are platinum Owens Corning preferred roofers. Types of roofing services we provide: 

    Roof Replacement 

    Roof Repair

    Tile Roofing

    Insurance Claim Assistance

    Commercial Roofing

    Flat Roofing

    EPDM Roofing

    TPO Roofing

    Asphalt Shingle Roofing

    Metal Roofing

    Gutter Installation 

    Shake roofing

    Modified Roofing

    Copper Roofing

    Home Siding