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Composition Roofing Explained: Discover the Best Type for Your Home

January , 2024 | 8 min. read

By David Toth

large grey home with shingle roof

Spring is slowly approaching in the southeast, which means more than just beach days and barbecues. The blazing temperatures, dangerous UV rays, and serious storms that the summer months bring have a large impact on the health and longevity of your roof.

If you're pondering whether it’s time for a repair or a full-scale replacement, you're in the right place.

At RoofCrafters, we’ve been helping homeowners like you get the most out of their roofs for 3 decades. We know that by the time the sweltering spring and summer seasons rear their ugly heads, their effects on a roof are less than favorable. Not to mention, with all of the different types of roofing materials available on the market, it’s pretty easy to get confused about which is the best for you.

That’s why we’ve created this guide to composition roofing for you so that you can check one type of roofing off of your list. We want to alleviate any added stressors when it comes to picking the right roof for the weather and climate of your region. This article will introduce you to the world of composition roofs, exploring the three main types and helping you decide if they're the right fit for your home. Let's dive in!

Understanding Composition Roofing


A composition roof is synonymous with asphalt shingles. The roofing industry thought we needed cooler, more thorough invoking names for our products. Along with the roofing industry, often insurance companies will refer to asphalt shingles as composition roofing for roof their damage claims. 

3 columns showing the types of asphalt roof shingles

Composition roofing gets its name from the creation process. These asphalt shingles are made up of a composition of man-made materials consisting of tar, fiberglass, and a mat, hence how we concluded “composition roofing”. We put some thought into that, huh?

The Three Main Types of Composition Roofing


There are 3 main types of composition or asphalt roofing, which include:

  1. 3-Tab Shingles: The most affordable and basic type, ideal for budget-conscious homeowners.

  2. Architectural Shingles: Also known as laminate or dimensional shingles, these offer durability and a multi-dimensional look.

  3. Luxury Shingles: The premium option, known for exceptional durability and stunning aesthetics.

All of these types of roofing have different aesthetics, colors, and styles. Let’s get into what makes them unique!

3-Tab Shingles – Economical and Efficient


Three-tab shingles are the most basic shingles and get their name from the way they are cut and installed. They are made out of a single layer of asphalt and then cut into strips. They're also the lightest type of shingle, therefore they are far more affordable than architectural or designer shingles. 

3-tab roof on a brick home with valleys and gables

Three-tab shingles are extremely cost-efficient and are a solid choice for any homeowner. In the spirit of transparency, there are a few downsides to this type of shingle. Because they're lightweight, they have the potential to blow off more easily than the other two types. This is not only dangerous to your safety but expensive too.

up close image of a 3-tab shingle

Sadly, three-tab shingles are also limited in their aesthetic options. If you’re looking for something more upscale, architectural or designer shingles are a better choice for you. In the short-term aspect, three-tab shingles can be more economically smart for rental properties or budget homes.

Architectural Shingles – Popular and Durable


Also known as laminate or dimensional shingles, this is the most common type of asphalt roof. During the manufacturing process, the base mats are given two or more layers to create a multi-dimensional appearance on your roof. Because of these extra layers and weight added, architectural shingles are very durable.

slightly complex, upgraded architectural shingle roof-2

There are two different grades of architectural shingles you can choose from. These are known as regular and upgraded architectural's. Architectural shingles are going to offer a little less benefits than upgraded shingles. These shingles meet the wind uplift requirements in most states.

architectural asphalt shingle

The upgraded architectural shingles are a bit more popular. They are thicker and flashier, giving your home that “pop.”  They're also 20% heavier and offer longer algae warranties than the regular-grade architectural. Depending on your specific preferences, regular or upgraded architectural shingles are a solid choice for any home.

Luxury Shingles – The Ultimate Roofing Statement


Last but certainly not least are designer shingle roofs. Designer shingles are also considered luxury shingles and are the highest quality type of asphalt shingles on the market. These shingles stand out not only their high level of functionality but also because of the beautiful appearance they add to your home.

GAF Designer Camelot 2 designer shingles on a hip roof

Designer shingles are dimensional, functional, and come in an abundance of colors. These are the shingles for the consumer who takes pride in the curb appeal of their home. Offering a one-of-a-kind look. Designer shingles are the most expensive type of asphalt shingles on the market.

GAF Woodlawn designer shingle roof on custom brick home

These shingles may be beautiful, but they are also incredibly durable. They're double the weight of three-tab shingles, which means they have extra strength against impact and tears. This is ideal for homes in hurricane, tornado, and extreme weather-prone regions.

Why Choose a Composition Roof?


The lifespan of a composition roof is by far one of its most attractive features. Expertly-made composition roofs can last anywhere from 15-35 years depending on the roofing company and the manufacturer. 

Composition roofing has other benefits, some of which include:

  • Cost-effective
  • Longevity
  • Customizable
  • Easy replacement

Composition roofing is usually the least expensive roofing option on the market. Their longevity will pay off in the long run and dissipate any buyer's remorse. This type and style of roofing will give any homeowner a bang for their buck, and in my opinion, is the most financially appropriate choice.

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As you’re now familiar with, composition roofs have many different choices, varying in colors, styles, and aesthetics. This provides you and your family the opportunity to customize your roof to your specific stylistic preferences, undoubtedly making your home the most beautiful on the block. 

Roofing crew installing a tarp on a roof

Lastly, although composition roofs are durable, we still have yet to invent a roof that can withstand all of Mother Nature’s elements. The good news is that if your roof has storm damage, composition roofing is incredibly easy to repair, thanks to its layered structure. Your roofing contractor will be able to replace a section or two (or 3, depending on the storm damage) without a problem.

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Is a Composition Roof the Right Fit for My Home?


Composition roofs are a great addition to any home as they are budget-friendly and reliable. They come in a wide variety of patterns, colors, and sizes all tailored to to meet the architectural design of your home. If you’ve got a specific idea or a unique design in mind, on a tighter budget, a composition roof is a way to go.

two-story home with a new GAF Timberline UHDZ shingle in Pewter gray

If you currently live in the southern United States, or the next time you come down south to visit your coastal cottage, take a look at your roof and consider its needs. If it's upgrading your composite roofing to a more weather-resistant grade, or deciding it’s time to choose a different roofing material, RoofCrafters has you covered.

Embarking on Your Roofing Adventure: Navigating Choices and Costs with Ease


Your journey to a resilient and beautiful roof starts here. With composition roofing, you have the freedom to choose a roof that withstands the elements. It also complements your home's style.

If you're in the southeast and thinking about a roofing upgrade, RoofCrafters is here to assist. Schedule your inspection below for a personalized estimate, explore various roofing options, or get answers to your questions.

Schedule an Inspection

Meanwhile, for a deeper dive into roofing knowledge, visit our learning center or check out “How Much Should You Pay Upfront for a Roof?” to better understand the upfront costs involved in a roofing project. We're here to ensure your roofing experience is as seamless and you're well-informed.


David Toth

My name is David Toth and I am the lead estimator in North Florida with RoofCrafters Roofing. Originally from New Brunswick, I have called Florida home for the past 47 years. I enjoy cooking along with traveling to different historical areas in Florida when I have free time.