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Asphalt Shingles vs. Fiberglass Shingles: Which Is Right for You?

Posted on October 13, 2023

Estimated Reading Time : 5 Min.

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Asphalt Shingles vs. Fiberglass Shingles: Which Is Right for You?

Selecting the right roofing material for your home is crucial. It’s not just about sheltering your family and possessions, it’s about investing in the long term health and beauty of your house. Two popular choices you’re likely considering are asphalt shingles and fiberglass shingles. In this guide, we’ll break down the differences, advantages, and considerations of each to help you make an informed decision.

Asphalt Shingles vs. Fiberglass Shingles: An Overview of Both Options

Let’s start with asphalt shingles.

What are Asphalt Shingles?

Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles were first manufactured in 1903 by Henry Reynolds in Michigan. Since then, these shingles have been a reliable roofing product and a favorite among homeowners. 

Asphalt, or organic asphalt shingles, are composed of a base mat, asphalt coating, and a layer of mineral granules. The base mat is made of organic materials like paper, cellulose, or wood chips. The asphalt and mineral granules are then added on top.

Advantages of Asphalt Shingles

Cost Effective: If budget is a concern, asphalt shingles are often the go to option. They provide a cost effective roofing solution without compromising on quality.

Ease of Installation and Repairs: Asphalt shingles are easy to install and repair. Roofing professionals can swiftly handle replacements or fixes, saving you time and effort.

Limitations of Asphalt Shingles

Durability: While they’re durable, asphalt shingles have a slightly shorter lifespan compared to materials like metal or tile. They usually last around 20 years before they need to be replaced.

Weather Sensitivity: Prolonged exposure to extreme weather conditions, especially consistent sunlight or severe cold, can lead to faster wear and tear.

What are Fiberglass Shingles and How are They Different from Asphalt Shingles?

Fiberglass Shingles

Fiberglass shingles are a modern advancement in roofing technology. They’re seen as an evolution from traditional asphalt shingles, addressing some of the limitations faced by their popular counterpart.

The only difference in the composition of asphalt and fiberglass shingles is that the latter has a base mat made of fiberglass and non-organic materials. This provides fiberglass shingles with more strength, stability, and versatility.

Advantages of Fiberglass Shingles

Exceptional Durability: Fiberglass shingles are renowned for their durability, often outlasting traditional asphalt shingles. Their fiberglass core makes them highly resistant to various environmental stressors.

Lightweight Design: Being lightweight, fiberglass shingles are easier to handle during installation and cause less stress to the roof’s structure.

Limitations of Fiberglass Shingles

Cost Considerations: Initially, fiberglass shingles may cost more than asphalt shingles due to their advanced composition.

Temperature Sensitivity: While highly durable, they can be sensitive to very low temperature changes.

Let’s dig deeper into the key factors that make asphalt and fiberglass shingles different, so you can make a well informed decision for your roofing needs.

Asphalt Shingles vs. Fiberglass Shingles: A Detailed Comparison

When it comes to choosing the right shingles for your home, you want to be armed with the best information possible. Here’s what separates these two roofing options:

1. Durability and Longevity

  • Asphalt Shingles: Asphalt shingles have been a popular choice for decades, offering a durable roofing solution with a typical lifespan of 20 years. Their resistance to fire and wind uplift, when installed correctly, contributes to their enduring popularity.
  • Fiberglass Shingles: Fiberglass shingles, thanks to their reinforced fiberglass mat core, exhibit superior durability. They tend to outlast traditional asphalt shingles, boasting a lifespan of 25 to 35 years. The fiberglass base adds strength, making them more resistant to cracking, tearing, and warping.

2. Weather Resistance

  • Asphalt Shingles: While asphalt shingles can handle a variety of weather conditions, they are more susceptible to extreme weather. Prolonged exposure to harsh sunlight, significant temperature fluctuations, or heavy storms can cause them to degrade faster.
  • Fiberglass Shingles: Fiberglass shingles have excellent resistance to weather extremes, including both high heat and strong winds. Their resistance to temperature related expansion and contraction makes them a great choice for areas with unpredictable weather patterns.

3. Cost Considerations

  • Asphalt Shingles: Asphalt shingles are typically more budget friendly in terms of upfront costs. If you’re looking for an economical roofing solution that provides decent durability, asphalt shingles fit the bill.
  • Fiberglass Shingles: While fiberglass shingles are more expensive initially, they offer savings in the long run due to their extended lifespan and the reduced need for replacements or repairs.

4. Maintenance Requirements

  • Asphalt Shingles: Asphalt shingles may require more regular maintenance due to their composition. They can be more susceptible to moss, algae, and mildew growth, necessitating occasional cleanings and maintenance.
  • Fiberglass Shingles: Fiberglass shingles have a smoother surface, making it more difficult for algae and moss to accumulate. They generally require less maintenance and are easier to keep clean over time.

5. Environmental Impact and Sustainability

  • Asphalt Shingles: Asphalt shingles, while cost effective and widely used, are less environmentally friendly. The manufacturing process involves the use of petroleum-based products. Additionally, when removed, they contribute to a significant portion of construction waste.
  • Fiberglass Shingles: Fiberglass shingles, although also derived from non-renewable resources, are lighter and use less asphalt in their composition.

6. Aesthetics and Design Options

  • Asphalt Shingles: Asphalt shingles come in a wide array of styles, colors, and textures to suit various architectural designs. They can mimic the appearance of more expensive materials like wood, slate, or tile.
  • Fiberglass Shingles: Fiberglass shingles also offer a diverse range of designs and styles. Advancements in manufacturing have allowed fiberglass shingles to closely resemble the look of high end roofing materials while maintaining their lightweight advantages.

7. Installation Process and Ease

  • Asphalt Shingles: Asphalt shingles are easier to install, which makes the process faster and more affordable. Many roofing professionals are well versed in working with asphalt shingles, further streamlining the installation.
  • Fiberglass Shingles: The installation process for fiberglass shingles is similar to asphalt shingles, but the lighter weight of fiberglass shingles makes them easier to handle during installation. This can sometimes result in quicker installations.

Choosing the right roofing shingles is a crucial decision that impacts the aesthetics, durability, and value of your home. A well informed choice is key to the long term appeal and functionality of your house.

Tips to Select the Best Roofing Shingles for Homeowners

Here are some valuable tips to guide you in selecting the best roofing shingles for your needs and preferences:

1. Understanding Shingle Options

Before choosing asphalt or fiberglass shingles, educate yourself on the other types of roofing materials available. Each type, from wood shingles to metal panels, possesses distinct characteristics influencing durability, aesthetics, and cost.

2. Balancing Durability and Maintenance

Striking the right balance between durability and maintenance is paramount. Assess the longevity of shingles, considering your local climate’s challenges, and match it with your willingness to invest time and effort in maintenance.

3. Enhancing Aesthetics and Energy Efficiency

Roofing shingles can be both functional and beautiful. Explore the vast array of styles, colors, and textures to find shingles that harmonize with your home’s design. Additionally, consider energy efficient options to contribute positively to both the environment and your energy bills.

4. Navigating Budget Constraints and Installation Ease

Staying within budget is crucial, but compromising on quality can prove costly in the long run. Evaluate the cost effectiveness of shingles over their lifespan. Factor in installation complexity and determine if doing it yourself is a feasible option, or if professional expertise is necessary.

5. Seeking Professional Guidance and Assurance

Don’t hesitate to seek advice from professionals. Consult with roofing contractors or architects to understand the nuances of each type of shingle and how they align with your home’s specific requirements. Their insights and expertise will help you make a choice you feel confident in..

If you are looking for new roofing shingles for your home, you can trust our professionals for the best advice.

Get the Best Shingle Roof for Your Home

At Excel Renovation, we’re experts at installing various types of asphalt and fiberglass shingles in Plymouth, MN. Our talented and knowledgeable professionals always do their best to help homeowners achieve a safe and beautiful roof. If you want to replace your roof with new shingles in Plymouth, MN, let us help you explore the best shingle options suitable for your home and budget. Call us at (612) 439-5005 and schedule a free consultation with our experts today!