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    Home | Our Blog | Asphalt Shingles Buyer's Guide

    Asphalt Shingles Buyer's Guide

    Reviewed by Tomas Kalkys. President.
    Qualifications: More than 20 years of experience in residential and commercial exterior remodeling.
    Founding farther of Legacy Service.
    Written by LegacyUSA Team

    posted on Aug 24, 2020

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    asphalt shingles

    There’s a reason why asphalt shingles, also known as composition shingles, are considered the most popular roofing type in the United States. In fact, they’re currently used for replacements and new installations on about 70% of residential, sloped roof homes. Not only are they designed to protect your house for decades, but they are also available in a countless number of colors and styles.

    From maintaining the indoor climate to protecting you and your family from rain, snow, wind, and hail damage, roofs have an incredible impact on your home. This is why you’ll want to make sure you’re choosing the best type, brand, and more for you.

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    That’s why we’ve created this asphalt shingle roofs buyer’s guide. It will help people like you compare the types, pros and cons, and costs so that you can match your new roof to your tastes and preferences. At Legacy Service, we provide home exterior services of all kinds, from roofing and siding installation to windows and gutters replacement. If you’re looking for any of those services, please feel free to give us a call at 215-798-9790 at any time to schedule a free consultation.

    Continue reading this buyer’s guide to learn more about the different types of asphalt shingles to help you determine which type you should choose.

    different types of asphalt shingles to help you determine which type you should choose

    What Are Asphalt Shingles and Why Are They Popular?

    Asphalt shingles have been used on American homes for over a century. They’re known for their durability, affordability, and attractiveness. The most common type that homeowners will have installed include fiberglass and organic mat shingles. These will have either a fiberglass-based substrate or mat or an asphalt-saturated organic substrate that’s made from cellulose fiber like wood or paper.

    So, why are asphalt shingles so popular?

    For starters, asphalt is the most readily available of all the roofing types, and most manufacturers will design them and contractors will install them for homeowners in North America. That’s not all. They’re highly affordable, yet still durable, lasting 15-25 years in most cases. Whether you’re looking for a specific color or you’d like to browse through numerous options, you’ll be able to with all of the asphalt shingles colors and styles. In a nutshell, asphalt shingle styles are easily available and offer high value when installed by an asphalt shingle company.

    If you’re interested in receiving an asphalt shingles installation or replacement service, get started by contacting your local contractor. At Legacy Service, we’ll provide you with a free consultation if you’re looking to install a new roof or replace your existing roof.

    Let’s take a look at the different types of asphalt shingle construction:

    Types of Asphalt Shingle Construction

    When you choose to install asphalt shingles on your roof, your decisions won’t end right away. From there, you’ll have to decide between the design options, the different types of asphalt shingle construction, and the color choices.

    Fiberglass and organic mat asphalt shingles are the most common types that homeowners will have installed. The characteristics of fiberglass include its high durability and strength, longer warranties, thinner material and lighter weight, and the fact that it has a higher fire rating than organic types. On the other hand, organic mat can have 40% more asphalt content than fiberglass. This means they’ll be more rugged and durable but also heavier and more expensive.

    Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what you want for your home. But our team at Legacy Service is here to guide you. If you’re in need of a roofing replacement or installation, please feel free to contact us at any time. We’ll schedule a free consultation when it’s most convenient for you. During the consultation, we can help you determine which roof details would be best for you and your home. Next, we’re going to discuss your various design options to give you a better idea of what you’re looking at:

    Design Options With Asphalt Shingles

    Design Options With Asphalt Shingles

    With all of the customizable options out there presently, it’s exciting to design your new roof! There are currently three major categories of asphalt that you can choose from for your home. They include 3-tab asphalt shingles, dimensional, and luxury. It’s true that all three kinds are made of the same materials, but they’re not exactly the same. In the sections below, we compare asphalt shingle design options so that you can understand the differences between each type in order to pick the right one for your home.

    So, take a look at these style selections and let us know what you think:

    The strip shingle (3-tab shingles)

    Strip shingles are also known as 3-tab due to their cut. As the original and most basic type, they’re made from a single layer of asphalt, have a flat appearance, and typically look like slate. Since they have a single layer, they usually weigh and cost less than other kinds of asphalt shingles. Before designer shingles were introduced in the 1980s, strip shingles dominated the roofing market. Now they’re used most often by home builders that work on inexpensive homes or homeowners who are replacing existing strip shingles.


    3-tab, or strip shingles, were the most popular roofing choice in the past, but that has been changing over recent years. However, there are still a few reasons why people choose it for their home. They include:

    • They’re easy to repair – Since 3-tab are made from a single layer, they’re lighter and easier to repair than other types.
    • They have a lower initial cost per square – Being more lightweight, these shingles will have a lower initial cost than most.
    • They’re available in many styles and colors – Since 3-tab were so popular in the past, they were made in many different styles and colors. You’ll have a myriad of options to choose from, so take advantage of it!


    However, other asphalt shingle types have been taking over because they have more benefits than strip shingles. The disadvantages of strip include:

    • They have less durability – Strip shingles are typically not as durable as other types of shingles. They’re not designed to withstand high winds, and in most cases, they’ll have a shorter roof lifespan and warranty than others.
    • They usually won’t enhance the home’s curb appeal – Since 3-tab aren’t the most durable, they usually won’t be able to enhance the curb appeal of your home.
    • They may trap moisture – 3-tab, or strip, may trap moisture in your roof or attic, which will eventually cause mold and decay. You’ll need proper attic ventilation to help avoid this.
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    The laminated dimensional shingle (architectural shingles or dimensional shingles)

    The next type is called the laminated shingle, also known as dimensional or architectural asphalt shingles. They’re the most commonly used type of asphalt shingle, due to the fact that they’re highly durable, yet still remain affordable. They’re made with two or more layers of asphalt that are fused together for a multi-dimensional appearance. And you won’t have to worry about their beauty because they’re designed to replicate wood shakes and natural slate roofing aesthetics. Since dimensional shingles are heavier than strip, they will usually have improved warranty protection. Just ask your local roofing contractor if you’re interested in scheduling an appointment for an installation or replacement project.


    Why do homeowners choose laminated shingles as opposed to the other types? Their advantages include:

    • Their durability – Laminated, or dimensional shingles are incredibly durable. They have a thicker and richer multi-dimensional texture and appearance, and they can last 30 years or more, depending on how well they’ve been installed and maintained.
    • Their appearance – This roofing material differs from other asphalt shingles since they can mimic the appearance of wood or slate. Their multiple layers of tabs will create a texture and dimension to the shingle.
    • Their warranties – The warranties of laminated shingles are typically longer than strip because they’re more durable and tend to last longer.


    Like most other things, laminated aren’t without their flaws. The disadvantages include:

    • They can be expensive – In most cases, laminated shingles will have a higher initial cost than strip. This may turn some homeowners off if they’re looking for a cheaper option. The good news, though, is that dimensional shingles are designed to have a longer lifespan, so you won’t have to replace them as often. If you’re willing to pay more in the beginning, this may be the right option for you.
    • They may be more susceptible to mildew – The organic material in shingles is highly susceptible to mold and mildew, and the notches in laminated can make that worse.

    Luxury shingles (highest-quality laminated shingles)

    Luxury shingles are the third of the three main asphalt shingle categories. They’re the highest-quality laminated shingle available, and they offer a differentiated appearance and functionality. Not only are they considered the ‘heavyweights’ that provide premium protection, but they’re also stunning to look at, with beautiful quality, dimensionality, and coloration. These shingles are thick and heavy, and they can weigh up to 450 lbs per square.

    If you’re looking for a realistic representation of old-world wood shake and quarried slate roofing, look no further than luxury. Prime examples include CertainTeed’s Grand Manor® and Carriage House® products.


    Why would someone choose luxury shingles over another type of roofing material? The benefits include:

    • They provide maximum durability – Luxury asphalt shingles provide maximum durability and premium protection from the outside elements. Their extra weight helps. In fact, they weigh twice as much as 3-tab.
    • They have a multi-dimensional appearance – Luxury have multiple layers of tabs, which helps create more texture and dimension. This creates depth and shadows that make them look like real slate or shakes.
    • They’re less expensive than wood and slate materials – The best part about luxury is that they’re less expensive than wood and slate, yet they can still be mistaken for them.


    Luxury shingles have a few disadvantages as well. If you’re wondering why homeowners choose other types of roofs instead of luxury, the cons include:

    • They cost more than 3-tab and dimensional shingles – Since they’re the heaviest and most durable, luxury shingles will cost more upfront than 3-tab and dimensional.
    • They’re heavier than the other types – Some home structures may not be able to handle the weight of luxury asphalt shingles.

    Asphalt Shingle Colors

    Asphalt Shingle Colors

    Some of the obvious benefits of the best asphalt shingles include the fact that they’re affordable and still durable. They’re also quite stylish. In fact, one of their overlooked advantages is their selection of beautiful colors. Do you have a specific color in mind? You’ll almost definitely be able to find it (or something similar) with the help of your asphalt shingle contractor.

    The only problem is that the color selection is so large, you may not be able to choose which one is your favorite! That’s no problem, though. Your local roofer will be able to help you choose a color that matches your tastes and preferences as well as look great on your home and in your neighborhood. Tones usually range from brown to red to gray, and blue and green will be mixed in as well.

    If you’re interested in exploring the different options that are available to you, you can look at CertainTeed’s ColorView® home exterior visualizer tool. You’ll be able to upload a picture of your own home so that you can try out different combinations of roofing and siding until you find something you like. Bring your home remodeling dream a reality with Legacy Service. One of our primary shingle suppliers is CertainTeed, and we’re certain that you’ll find exactly what you need.

    Most Popular Manufacturers (Brands) of Shingles

    Of course, there are certain brands of asphalt shingles that are more popular than others. At Legacy Service, we present the different options to you during your initial consultation and allow you to choose the one that you like best.

    Different brands have various pros and cons, so it’s a matter of choosing which one you’d like to work with. No matter what, though, all of the most popular brands that we’re about to list look great on roofs and are of high quality. Since most homeowners replace their roof only once or twice in their lifetime, it’s important that they choose the right one that will serve them for years to come and go well with the rest of their home’s exterior.

    The three brands we’re going to discuss below include GAF, CertainTeed, and Owens Corning. At Legacy Service, we provide installation and replacement services for all three. If you’re interested in scheduling a free consultation with one of our experts, please feel free to give us a call at any time.


    GAF was founded in 1888, and since then, it has become the largest roofing manufacturer in North America. In fact, they sell more shingles than any other brand. They have shingles available in all three categories, from 3-tab, to dimensional, to luxury. They also sell types that are resistant to wind, staining, UV damage, and impact. One of GAF’s main benefits is that its costs are competitive and most roofing contractors have good experiences with them. And when they’re properly installed, GAF shingles work very well. Timberline dimensional shingles is one of their most popular lines, offering them in impact-resistant and solar-reflective forms.


    CertainTeed, founded in 1904, is another one of the top brands of asphalt shingles. Their team understands how difficult it is to visualize how your home will look with your new roof, which is why they offer the home exterior visualizer tool. You can use it to try out different combinations for roofing, siding, paint, and trim.

    Using modern engineering techniques, CertainTeed is able to produce numerous specialty types of shingles, including but not limited to ones that fight algae growth, offer cool roof color technologies, and improve your roof’s resistance to hail damage.

    Owens Corning

    Owens Corning, formed in 1935, may not be as large as GAF, but it’s still one of the top brands for manufacturing asphalt shingles. In fact, they make a good selection of 3-tab, dimensional, and luxury shingles. Their luxury shingles include Energy-star rated lines and ones with StreakGuard stain protection.

    Owens Corning takes pride in being more than just a trusted name; they’re a market leader in roofing shingles, underlayment, and other components. Their systems boast a wide variety of style choices for beautiful appearances, and they are designed to have long-lasting lifespans. They also offer one of the best warranties in the industry.

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    Pros and Cons of Asphalt Shingles

    Asphalt shingles have been the most popular roofing material for decades, and it will most likely remain that way for many years to come. However, like all other types of roofing, they have their own advantages and disadvantages.

    In the section below, we’re going to review the pros and cons of asphalt so that you can make an educated decision about whether you’d like to select them or keep searching for another type of roofing, like metal, cedar, or slate. We’ll answer all of your pressing questions, from “How long do asphalt shingles last?” to “How much will it cost compared to other types of roofs?” Remember that if you still have questions, you can contact us today.


    Why do homeowners choose asphalt shingles over other types of materials for their roof? The advantages include:

    • Readily available – As the most popular roofing material in North America, asphalt shingles are readily available to homeowners everywhere. Most manufacturers will supply them and most contractors will install them.
    • Affordable – This roofing material is so popular because it’s affordable and provides high value. Asphalt shingles cost less than other types, like metal and slate roofing, but it’s still high-quality.
    • Lifespan – Even though they’re more affordable than most types, asphalt still has a decent lifespan. They typically range between 15-25 years, and they can even last up to 30 when they’re installed and maintained properly.


    Asphalt shingles also have a few drawbacks. Their disadvantages include:

    • They’re less durable – Although they have a decent lifespan, asphalt shingles are less durable than other types of roofs when it comes to standing up to the elements.
    • They won’t work for flat roofs – If your home has a flat roof, don’t expect to get asphalt shingles for it anytime soon. Flat roofs and asphalt shingles aren’t a good match because weathering will wear them out more quickly than on a steeper-sloped roof. 2/12 is the minimum slope requirement for asphalt shingles. The number is rise over run, so that’s about two units of vertical for every 12 units of horizontal. That’s the same as about nine degrees.

    Asphalt Shingle Care and Maintenance

    Asphalt Shingle Care and Maintenance

    Unfortunately, once your roof is installed, you can’t just forget about it for the next 20-30 years. You need to take care of it with the proper methods of maintenance. Here’s how you can take care of your roof to help it last as long as possible:

    • General cleaning – You should be cleaning your roof at least twice a year (preferably in the fall and spring) to keep it clean. Clear it of the debris and moss that holds water against the roof and causes staining. Some people may even want to paint their asphalt shingles every few years. Ask your local contractor if they recommend this for your roof.
    • Inspections – It’s also recommended that you inspect your roof twice a year as well as after major storms. Look for missing or damaged shingles, and call your local roofer if you see any damage.
    • Make sure the attic is properly ventilated – When your attic is properly ventilated, it helps prevent a buildup of heat or moisture that could destroy your roof prematurely. Please feel free to ask your roofing contractor whether your attic is properly ventilated or not.
    • Prepare for winter weather – There are a variety of ways to prepare your roof for winter. Inspect your roof and clear away debris, make sure you have the recommended insulation, and clean out your gutters. The proper insulation will also help prevent ice dams.

    Asphalt Shingle Costs

    So, what is the cost to install asphalt shingles? This entirely depends on the contractor you choose, the size of your roof, and the category you select. However, you can rest assured that asphalt shingles are one of the most affordable types out there. Don’t mistake these roofs for being cheap, though. Not only are they cost-effective, but they’re also beautiful, versatile, and easy to install. Let’s review some of the factors that affect the cost of your roofing installation or replacement.

    Cost of material

    It depends on what category of asphalt shingle you choose, but typically asphalt shingles are the cheapest type of roofing material. For example: Strip shingles are made from a single layer, so they will usually cost less than dimensional or luxury. However, they may be less durable than the other types.

    Asphalt shingles are the most popular type of roofing material for a reason, and the affordable cost is absolutely one of the contributing factors. Just remember to choose a quality brand, too, including GAF, CertainTeed, and Owens Corning.

    Cost of installation

    The cost of asphalt shingle installation will differ from home to home. For example: The more levels a roof has, the higher the cost will be. Another factor is that high-end shingles are heavy, so they will probably increase the cost of installation since the materials are more difficult to find and also work with. Keep in mind that installation in cold weather may raise the cost of installation. Even things such as the distance the team has to travel to your home may contribute to the price. If you’re interested in asphalt shingle roofing installation, call Legacy Service to schedule a free consultation and estimate.

    Cost of replacement

    The cost to replace an asphalt shingle roof will depend on a variety of factors, including the size of your roof and the material of the shingle. Organic mat based shingles will usually cost less than fiberglass ones.

    The good news is that asphalt shingles can last for decades. So, once you have them installed, you won’t have to worry about replacing them for a while as long as they’re maintained properly. At Legacy Service, we provide roof replacement services for homeowners throughout southeastern PA, NJ, and DE. Schedule a free consultation where we’ll go over pricing by giving us a call today.

    Get Started on Your New Asphalt Shingle Roof!

    There are many different types of roofs, but asphalt shingles are the most popular roofing type in America. If you’re looking to install or replace your roof, asphalt shingles may be the way to go for your house.

    We hope you enjoyed our guide to asphalt shingles. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact our team of experts. You can give us a call at 215-798-9790 or contact us at Let’s get started on your roofing project today!

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