The Fundamentals of Asphalt Shingles


Shingles come in numerous constructions, designs, colors, and sizes. They are specifically manufactured for sloping roof systems of at least a 4:12 pitch (4 inch vertical rise over a 12 inch horizontal run), and can be found in a variety of materials. The most common include asphalt, clay or concrete tile, slate, wood, and metal.

Although there is a generous selection of roof shingles to choose from, for more than a century, asphalt (bitumen) roof shingles have proven to be the most prominent and popular choice to this day. Not only are they cost-effective and easy to install, they are durable, long-lasting, and require little maintenance. They also come in countless colors and styles, making it simple to achieve a customized look on a budget.

Continue reading to learn the basic facts about asphalt roof shingles, and why they are a fantastic choice for sloped roofs.


The two most common types of construction for bitumen shingles are fiberglass and organic mat-based shingles. Both may have an asphalt saturated organic substrate made from cellulose fibers (such as wood or paper), or they can have a fiberglass-based substrate. Fiberglass shingles are highly durable, lightweight, and thin. They also have longer warranties and higher fire ratings in comparison to alternative organic materials. Organic mat-based shingles have 40% more bitumen content than fiberglass versions, which makes them thicker and heavier. They are also a bit more expensive, but they are malleable, strong, and can withstand more damage overtime.

Design Options

The most common design options are 3-tab strip shingle and laminated dimensional shingle. The 3-tab version has cutouts or tabs along the bottom edge, giving it the appearance of 3 shingles instead of one. It is the most common and cost-effective shingle design option. The laminated dimensional shingle is a more textured and architectural approach. It is a premium product with multiple layers of bitumen laminated tabs, giving it a layered and dimensional look.

Color Options

Asphalt shingles come in a variety of color families. Any color or hue can be matched to a property with ease since the collection of colors has expanded overtime. Roofing companies generally retain innovative technology that allows property owners to choose colors more accurately. This allows clients to experiment with different colors in order to find the perfect one.

Environmentally-Friendly Options

With increasing innovations in the roofing industry, homeowners can now opt for an eco-friendly approach to shingle installation. There is a new product of asphalt shingle that uses cool-roof technology, which reduces the amount of heat shingles absorb from the sun. This greener option is cost-effective since it decreases the amount of AC you use in the summer!

Roof Repair and Maintenance

Although durable, bitumen shingles are still prone to damage. But as long as your roof system is properly ventilated at all times and inspected by a professional company on an annual basis, you can expect great performance and value from them.


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