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Roof Replacement

What is an Asphalt Shingle Roof?

April , 2023 | 10 min. read

By Nicole Corson

Birds eye view of an asphalt shingle roof replacement in progress

Time to replace the shingles on your home? 

Are you searching for the most economical roofing material for your home? 

If so, you may want to consider an asphalt shingle roof, it's the most popular roof material installed on homes and businesses in the entire US.

But, what is an asphalt shingle roof? 

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

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

In this article, you’ll learn "what an asphalt shingle roof is."  We'll cover the 4 different types of asphalt shingles. We'll go over the pros and cons of using asphalt shingles.  And hopefully, by the end, you'll be able to determine if an asphalt shingle roof is best 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, and fire resistance. This protects 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 in the US.

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

Gable style home with a 3 tab asphalt shingle roof3-tab shingles lay flat and have 3 cutouts in a strip that create a 3-tab look.

Check out the 3-tab colors here.


Hip roof with architectural asphalt shingles with valleysArchitectural shingles are sometimes referred to as dimensional shingles because they provide a three-dimensional look. They were designed to provide the look of a real wood shake roof.

Check out:  ​​Architectural color choices here.


Upgraded shingles on a medium difficulty home with slightly complex valleysUpgraded architectural shingles' major difference from the regular architectural is the curb appeal, side by side with its little brother, the regular architectural shingle there's no comparison. This shingle is heavier in weight. Which makes it a thicker shingle, giving your roof added definition. The extra definition boosts your home's curb appeal.

Check out: 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.

Check out:  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 Important Factors to Consider When Choosing an Asphalt Shingle 


  • 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 roof materials available. Asphalt shingles provide the most affordable solution for any home or business. The cost of the materials, and the ease of installation, combined with the 4 different grades of shingles make them 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. Warranties are pre-determined by the manufacturer's research and development departments. The expected lifespan provided above is based on the actual lifespans that we've seen during our 30 years in the roofing business.

3. Roof maintenance can prolong the expected lifespan of an asphalt shingle roof.

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. Checking all the pipe penetrations and flashings to ensure they are properly sealed.

roofer inspecting an asphalt shingle roof with leaves and debris in a valley

Simple maintenance tasks will prevent the most common roof leaks and extend the life of the asphalt shingles.

The Pros and Cons of an Asphalt Shingle 

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.
  • Aesthetics and style options:  Many colors to choose from.

The Cons of an Asphalt Shingle Roof:

  • Longevity: 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.
  • Protection and durability: 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)

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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 deciding if an asphalt shingle roof is the best choice for your roof replacement project.

Ready to Choose the Best Asphalt Shingle for Your Roof Replacement?


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.

RoofCrafters wants to be a part of helping educate you and 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.

Schedule an Inspection

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

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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.