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What is an Asphalt Shingle Roof?

November , 2022 | 10 min. read

By Nicole Corson

Asphalt shingle roof replacement in progress

Is it getting close to time to replace the shingles on your home? 

Are you searching for the most affordable or economical roofing for your home? 

If so, you may want to consider an asphalt shingle roof, it is one of the most popular roof materials installed on homes and businesses today.

But, what is an asphalt shingle roof? 

Well, we are going to cover that and break down the pros and cons of asphalt shingle roofing in this article.

Our family at RoofCrafters Roofing has been providing high-quality asphalt roof repairs and full asphalt shingle roof replacements since the early 1990s. Now we want to share our nearly 3 decades of roofing knowledge and experience installing asphalt shingle roofs with you. 

In doing so we hope that you'll be better informed so that you can make the best decision for your next roof replacement investment.

We promise by the end of this article, you’ll understand what an asphalt shingle roof is and we'll also cover the 4 different types of asphalt shingles. Along with the pros and cons of using asphalt shingles so that hopefully, you can determine if an asphalt shingle roof is right for you.

So let’s get started!


what are the most important facts about asphalt shingles

What is an asphalt shingle roof?


The standard asphalt shingle is a square butt strip shingle, rectangle-shaped, and available with one or three tabs. Asphalt shingles are made with a base mat and a fiberglass mat layered with waterproofing asphalt. And then topped with ceramic-coated granules that provide color, fire resistance, and protect the asphalt from the sun's UV rays.

An asphalt shingle roof is the most common roof material used on houses today. They're installed on 4 out of 5 new construction homes being built.

An asphalt roof system is primarily made up of asphalt shingles. Combined with several other roofing components, such as metal eave drip, underlayment, pipe boots, flashing, ventilation, and nails. All of these are required to make up a complete asphalt shingle roof system.

There are 4 different types of asphalt shingles to choose from: 

  • 3-tab shingles
  • Architectural shingles
  • Upgraded architectural shingles
  • Designer shingles

Easy 3 tab-13-tab shingles lay flat and have 3 cutouts in a strip that create a 3-tab look.

Check out the 3-tab colors here.


architectural shingle roof with valleysArchitectural shingles or sometimes referred to as dimensional shingles because they provide a 3-dimensional look. These were designed to provide the look of a natural wood shingle roof.

Check out ​​Architectural color choices here.


Upgraded shingles on a medium difficulty home with slightly complex valleysUpgraded architectural shingles' major difference is the curb appeal, side by side with its little brother the regular architectural shingle there is no comparison, this shingle is much heavier in weight which makes it a thicker shingle, giving your roof much more definition. The extra definition provides pop and curb appeal.

Here are the Upgraded Architectural color options.


Simple designer shingle homeDesigner shingles are sometimes referred to as luxury shingles and are specifically designed to add tremendous value, creating massive curb appeal.

View designer styles and colors.

This is just a summary of the asphalt shingles. To get a more in-depth breakdown, check out our article about the 4 different shingle types

 3 things to consider when choosing an asphalt shingle roof.


  • Do they fit my budget? ( what is the average cost?)
  • How long will they last?
  • What type of maintenance will be required?

1.  Of all the different roof materials available today, asphalt shingles provide the most economical ease for any home or business. The cost of the materials, and the ease of installation, combined with the 4 different grades of shingles make it the most budget-friendly roofing option available to any homeowner. 

Looking for cost or prices for your upcoming roofing project?

Check out: The average cost of an asphalt shingle roof. 

2. The expected lifespan of each of the different asphalt roof shingles is as follows:

  • 3-Tab asphalt shingles can be expected to last 12 to 15 years
  • Architectural asphalt shingles can be expected to last 18 to 23 years
  • Upgraded architectural asphalt shingles can be expected to last 25 to 30 years
  • Designer asphalt shingles can be expected to last 30 to 40 years

All shingles come with manufacturer material warranties that are pre-determined by each of the manufacturer's research and development departments. The expected lifespan provided above is based on the actual lifespans that we have seen over the past 30 years in the roofing business.

3. Roof maintenance can prolong the expected lifespan.

Having roof maintenance done once or twice a year will prevent premature roof failure. Preventative maintenance, such as, keeping leaves and debris off the roof and checking all the pipe penetrations and flashings to ensure they are properly sealed. These simple tasks will prevent the most common roof leaks and extend the life of the asphalt shingles.

What are the pros and cons of an asphalt shingle roof?

The Pros of an asphalt shingle roof:

  • Weather-resistant, fire-resistant, and wind-resistant. Asphalt shingles are proven to resist sunlight, heat, cold, water, and ice. They also comply with fire and wind standards.
  • Economical, easy to install, and low maintenance. Asphalt shingles are produced at a high volume, which reduces the cost compared to other roofing materials.
  • Combine the ease of installing an asphalt shingle roof with little to no maintenance and this makes it one of the most economical roof materials available today.
  • Aesthetics and style options. Many colors to choose from.

The Cons of an asphalt shingle roof:

  • Being the most economical, they lower lifespan than other products such as metal, slate, or clay tiles, which means they will need to be replaced more often.
  • Asphalt shingles also have a lower wind rating than metal, slate, or clay tiles roofing materials, making them more likely to get blown off during a major wind storm. (hurricane, tornado, strong thunderstorm)

Asphalt shingles also have a lower wind rating than metal, slate, or clay tiles roofing materials, making them more likely to get blown off during a major wind storm. (hurricane, tornado, strong thunderstorm) Now that you have read this article and you know:

  • What's an asphalt shingle roof. 
  • The 4 different types of asphalt shingles.
  • 3 things to consider when choosing if an asphalt shingle roof is a right choice for your roof replacement project.

Are you ready to pick the right asphalt shingle for your home?


We'd also recommend that you check out "what is a lifetime warranty for a shingle roof?" to help you learn about the warranties that are available to protect your upcoming roof investment.

Because shingles are not the only materials needed to complete an asphalt shingle roof, we also recommend that you check out components included in a roof replacement.

At RoofCrafters Roofing we want to be a part of helping educate all the communities we serve. That way you feel confident along every step of the way of your roof replacement journey. Feel free to visit our learning center to get the answers you need before scheduling your roof inspection for your upcoming roof repair or replacement project.

To learn how to choose the right roofing contractor we have also put together a Top 10 checklist. Along with some frequently asked questions for you. This way you'll know exactly what questions you should ask your next roofing partner. Click Download the checklist below.

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Nicole Corson

At RoofCrafters, our mission is to provide job opportunities for others to thrive and grow while making a meaningful impact within our communities.