Are Composition Shingles and Asphalt Shingles the Same Thing?
The roofing industry is full of different names and terms that are hard to understand as a homeowner. This can be confusing and often frustrating.
Especially when different roofing contractors use different terms to mean the same thing. This brings us to a commonly asked question, “Are composition shingles and asphalt shingles the same thing?”
For over 30 years, the team at Bill Ragan Roofing has helped homeowners understand the lingo, terminology, and other aspects of the roofing industry. Now we'll be doing the same thing for you.
To start this article off, we'll clarify if composition shingles and asphalt shingles are the same. After that, we'll give you 3 things that every homeowner needs to know about a composition shingle roof.
Are composition shingles and asphalt shingles the same thing?
Yes, composition shingles and asphalt shingles are the same thing. It's simply just another term the roofing industry uses for asphalt shingles.
The term “composition” comes from the fact that asphalt shingles are a composite of man-made materials. These materials consist of fiberglass, tar, and granules put on a fiberglass mat to make a shingle.
Insurance companies also call them composition shingles on claims for roof damage. So, if you see “composition” on your insurance claim, there's no reason to panic.
At the end of the day, you might hear different roofing contractors use one or the other. But the majority of the roofing industry uses asphalt shingles.
Things to know about composition (asphalt) shingles
Now you know that composition shingles and asphalt shingles are the same thing. After learning this, you're ready to learn the 3 main things every homeowner needs to know about composition shingles.
1. The 3 types of composition shingles
There are 3 types of composition (asphalt) shingles: 3-tab, architectural (dimensional or laminate), and luxury (shake look or slate look). All 3 shingles have different looks to fit the style you're looking for and your budget.
3-tab shingles lay flat and get their name from the 3 tabs on each shingle strip.
Architectural (dimensional) shingles have a random pattern and shadow lines to give your roof more dimension. Some even simulate the look of a wood shake roof.
Luxury (shake roof and slate roof) shingles are larger and thicker than the other shingles. Most luxury shingles are designed to look like slate tiles, hence the name slate look.
3-tab shingles used to dominate the roofing industry, but now architectural shingles are the most common type installed on roofs today. Luxury shingles are as heavily marketed as architectural shingles, but they're around double the price.
No matter your budget or the look you want, you'll be able to find an asphalt shingle that fits your needs.
2. The materials and components that make up a composition shingle roof
While choosing which shingle you want is the fun part; your composition roof system is much more than the shingles you see from the street. It's a combination of key roofing components and materials that come together to form a complete roof system.
These other roofing materials and components are just as important as the composition shingles themselves.
The main materials and components that make up a composition roof are:
Ice and water shield
These materials come together to make a complete roof system that protects you and your family. To learn more about the functions of each roofing component and material, click on the hyperlinks attached to the materials or check out the 9 materials included in your roof replacement.
3. The lifespan of composition shingle roof
A composition roof's lifespan is the number of leak-free years you get out of it. Remember the 3 types of composition shingles we discussed earlier? Well, each comes with a specified lifespan from the manufacturer.
3-tab shingles can last up to 25 years and live the shortest of the three types of composition shingles. On the other hand, both architectural and luxury shingles have a lifespan of around 30 years.
But the luxury style is thicker and has the possibility to go over 30 years and up to 50 under the right conditions. As long as the composition shingles are properly installed and your attic is adequately ventilated, they'll get really close to the lifespans above.
However, other factors impact how long a composition roof ultimately lasts.
How much does a composition (asphalt) shingle roof cost?
Now you know 3 things every homeowner needs to know about a composition roof. However, there's still one more crucial thing you need to learn.
This, of course, is how much a composition shingle roof costs. The problem is, the roofing industry avoids talking about pricing or anything else relating to cost.
But here at Bill Ragan Roofing, we do things differently. That's why we wrote another article that gives you the cost of a composition (asphalt) roof and the factors that impact the price of a replacement.
The team at Bill Ragan Roofing has provided homeowners in Nashville and surrounding areas with high-quality asphalt roofing services since 1990. Whether you need repairs or a full roof replacement, you can count on our workmanship backed by a lifetime warranty to take care of your roof for decades to come.
To learn what you can expect to pay for a composition roof replacement, check out How Much a New Asphalt Roof Costs: Pricing, Factors & Considerations.
What Are Laminated Shingles?
You've just gotten off the phone with another Marietta roofing contractor and he only seemed interested in installing laminated shingles on your roof. He's told you that they are his most popular seller, but does that mean they are the best shingle for your roof? Are laminated shingles really that great, or is it just sales hype?
3-TAB AND LAMINATED SHINGLES – WHAT A MARIETTA ROOFING COMPANY KNOWS ABOUT HOW THEY ARE MADE
The difference between laminated and 3-tab shingles is really quite simple. They are both made from the same basic components, but one just uses more of them.
The laminated shingle is essentially a beefed-up version of a 3-tab shingle, so it makes some sense to discuss the simpler 3-tab shingle, first.
Twenty or so years ago, 3-tab shingles were used almost exclusively to cover residential roofs. Today's 3-tab shingle has not changed much, in terms of basic construction and size.
A 1-ft. tall X 3-ft. wide shingle slab is cut with slots at one end to create three tabs, each about 5-in. tall X 12-in. wide. What results is the well-known and widely used “3-tab shingle.”
The shingles are overlapped and nailed in place during installation. After a roof is finished the tabs are the only visible part of each shingle. Those unfamiliar with roofing often assume each tab is an individual shingle.
Of course, now you know what every professional Marietta roofing contractor knows. Each visible “shingle” is, in fact, one of the tabs in a 3-tab shingle.
As suggested earlier, laminated shingles are actually an enhanced, stronger version of a standard 3-tab shingle. Unlike a 3-tab shingle, a laminated shingle has an extra layer under its lower half. This gives the tabs on a laminated shingle a thickness that is twice as deep as it would be otherwise. But why is this thickness necessary?
The primary goal of a laminated shingle is to provide a more natural and deeper look than that offered by a conventional 3-tab shingle. That is why laminated shingles are sometimes called architectural shingles.
A laminated shingle creates depth by featuring tabs of varying widths that are separated by large, randomly spaced gaps. The large spaces between the cut tabs highlights the thickness of the tabs, creating a wonderful, visually appealing effect of depth.
Some laminated shingles employ different shades, tones and even contrasting colors to create an even more distinctive, yet natural appearance.
3-Tab And Laminated Shingles – A Performance Comparison That Every Marietta Roofing Contractor Understands
The next questions to ask is, how does the extra material used in a laminated shingle translate into performance?
By virtue of their heavier construction, laminated shingles are able to last longer than 3-tab shingles. With more protective asphalt, granules and fiberglass per square foot, laminated shingles can resist sun, heat, impact and water damage more effectively and for a longer time than 3-tab shingles can.
This is reflected, in general, by longer warranty times and higher wind ratings for laminated shingles.
A side-by-side comparison of 3-tab and laminated shingles is presented below. Note that the warranty information provided is generic in nature and provided for reference, only. You should confirm product specific shingle warranty details with your Marietta roofing contractor before you make any purchasing decisions.
How Long Can You Expect Your Asphalt Roof to Last?
When investing in a new roof, you're expecting to get as many years out of it as possible. This is especially true for an asphalt roof.
One of the most crucial questions customers ask is how long their asphalt roof will last. While a roofing contractor can say 25 or 30 years, you're probably wondering if it'll actually last that long.
Luckily, we're here to help you understand the lifespan of your asphalt roof.
The team at Bill Ragan Roofing has been installing asphalt roofs in the Nashville area since 1990. We know what it takes to maximize the life of your roof with our workmanship and attention to detail.
The truth is, you should get pretty close to the manufacturer's lifespan of your roofing materials. But there are a number of factors that ultimately determine how much life you'll get out of your asphalt roof.
By the end of this article, you'll know how long your asphalt roof should last and the factors that affect its lifespan. And to help save time and make your research a little easier, grab the Asphalt Roof Replacement Cheat Sheet at the very end.
How long will your asphalt roof last?
There are three types of asphalt shingles, 3-tab, dimensional, and luxury. But for this article, we're going to use the two most common asphalt shingles, 3-tab and dimensional, as examples.
3-tab shingles generally come with a 25-year manufacturer warranty. Dimensional shingles come with a 30-year manufacturer warranty.
Vented properly and installed correctly, you should get around 80-85% of the life span out of an asphalt roof. That means you can expect to get about 20-22 years out of your 3-tab shingle roof and 25-28 years out of your dimensional shingles.