Most Used Roofing Product

Composition shingles are the worlds most used roofing material, nearly 85% of them. They come in many different shapes and designs. As a result this can be overwhelming when choosing which composition shingles to put on your home.

In this article I will break down the different types of composition shingles, and provide you with my personal favorite.

What Is A Composition Shingle?

A composition shingle is made up of three main parts.

1. Fiberglass Mat

Composition shingles feature a fiberglass mat in the middle. The fiberglass mat is what makes composition shingles strong and hail resistant. Think of the fiberglass mat as the bones in a composition shingle.

2. Asphalt

A layer of mineral fillers, that adhere to the mat, are applied to the mat before asphalt. Asphalt is a very thick hydrocarbon substance, which is oxidized by a process called “blowing”. A chemical reaction is caused when bubbling air through heat asphalt. This allows the the asphalt to become flexible at the right temperature, creating a good roofing material.

3. Granules

Ceramic-coated granules are added to the top of shingles to protect them from the sun, increase their resistance to fire, and add an attractive finish. The granules come in various colors and are mixed to give a curb appeal to your home. Shingles designed for use in humid locations may include some copper-containing granules in the top coat to inhibit the growth of algae on the roof. The back surface of the shingles is coated to keep the shingles from sticking together during storage.

Different Protection

Every homeowner has their own specific protection needs. Luckily roofing manufacturers have figured out a solution to make sure your home is properly protected.

1. Impact Resistant Shingles

This type of shingle is best for areas the are impacted by severe weather. Impact Resistant shingles provide an extra layer of protection from hail and flying debris. Most impact Resistant shingles can withstand hailstones up to two inches in diameter. This is proven by a Class 4 UL 2218 Impact Resistance test. In this test a 2-inch steel ball is dropped from 20 feet to see if the shingles will fracture. If the shingle is not damaged it will receive a class 4 rating. Most insurance companies will offer a discount on class 4 roofs.

2. 30 Year Shingles


A 30 year shingle is the most common roofing material used. It is important to know that just because it is called a 30 year shingle does not mean that it will actually last 30 years. 30 years is how ling the shingle will last if the weather conditions are perfect. Unfortunately the shingles are exposed to the elements that only give the life expectancy of this type of roof 15-20 years.

Fun Fact

In Amarillo the average life expectancy of a roof is only 7 years due to hail and wind.

3. 20 Year Shingles

A more common name for a 20 year shingle is “3-tab”. A 3/tab shingle gets its name based off of its design which has 3 tabs that lie flat in the roof surface. This type of shingle was the most common for most of history and is now being replaced with 30 years shingles. Some companies like Bomb City Roofing will not even install this type of shingle in high wind areas due to their poor wind resistant qualities.

The Different Styles Of Composition Shingles

1. 3-Tab

As discussed above a 3-tab shingle is typically a 20 year roof. This type of roof is the cheapest composition shingle option and should only be installed in low wind areas.

2. Architectural Shingles

A design that will give your roof a more 3 dimensional look. Architectural shingles come in 30 year, and class-4 impact resident shingles. Manufacturers create this type of composition shingle by glueing a cut shingle on top of a flat uncut one.

3. Designer Composition Shingles

If you are looking for a composition shingle that gives your home a roof that your neighbors will talk about then this is the roof for you. Designer shingles come in many different styles and mimic the look of wood shake, clay tile, and slate roofs. Furthermore they are offered as a class-4 impact resistant, and 30 year shingle.

Reagan’s Choice

My favorite type of composition shingle is CertainTeed’s IR Presidential. The Presidential series gives the 3 dimensional look of a wood shake roof while still giving you that class-4 discount on insurance.


Composition Shingles can be overwhelming at first, but with a little time you can get the knowledge needed to make sure you choose the right roof.

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