Many homeowners do not realize just how many asphalt shingle styles and types are on the market today. While some asphalt shingle differences are simply cosmetic, others affect shingle durability, weather-resistance, and even the expected lifespan of your new roof.

Whether you plan to replace your asphalt shingle roof due to storm damage or because your roof has simply reached the end of its expected lifespan, you should learn about all of your new asphalt shingle options so you can choose new shingles that are perfect for you and your home.

Read on to learn about just a few of your new asphalt shingle options.

Three-tab or Architectural

There are two main asphalt shingle types: three-tab shingles and architectural (also called dimensional) shingles.

Three-tab Shingles

Three-tab shingles are the most economical shingles on the market today. With proper maintenance, these shingles can stay in good shape for up to 20 years or longer. Each three-tab shingle consists of an asphalt-infused base mat covered with mineral granules that are tinted to your desired roof color. These granules protect the underlying shingle from the sun’s hot UV rays and other outdoor elements while they increase shingle strength.

Traditional three-tab shingles are lightweight and can protect your home from the outdoor elements well. However, they can be prone to blow-offs in extreme weather conditions due to their lightweight.

Architectural Shingles

Architectural shingles, also called dimensional shingles, are newer to the market but have quickly grown in popularity. The bottom visible half of these shingles are made of at least two layers of asphalt instead of just one.

This additional asphalt layer increases shingle strength and weather-resistance while also providing a unique shingle look — the bottom half of these shingles protrude slightly from the roof surface to create a multi-dimensional roof appearance. There are also architectural shingles on the market designed to mimic the appearance of more costly roof materials, such as wood shakes or slate tiles.

Architectural shingles are typically expected to last 30 years or longer before replacement is needed.

Fiberglass or Organic Mat-Based

While architectural shingles typically have a fiberglass mat base, three-tab shingles are available with either a fiberglass mat base or an organic mat base that is typically composed of felt paper. Both shingle types have their unique advantages and disadvantages.

Shingles with a fiberglass mat base are typically thinner and lighter than those with an organic mat base, which makes installation easier and slightly more affordable. Since fiberglass is much more fire-resistant than felt paper, these shingles are also typically more fire-resistant than their organic mat base counterparts.

Unfortunately, fiberglass base asphalt shingles typically have a shorter lifespan than organic mat-based shingles since they are so thin and lightweight, and they are less resistant to damage inflicted by cold weather.

Shingles with an organic mat base are heavier and more durable, which makes them ideal for areas of the country with extreme weather conditions, especially areas with long, cold winters. However, these shingles can cost more and are slightly less fire-resistant than fiberglass shingles.

Shingle Classes

All asphalt shingles are tested to determine their wind resistance, impact resistance, and fire resistance. Once shingles are tested, they obtain ratings called classes.

If you asphalt shingles have blown off your roof in the past during extreme weather conditions, choose shingles with a Class H wind resistance rating; Class H shingles are more wind resistant than any other shingles on the market.

Shingle impact resistance is designated by another rating that ranges from Class 1 through Class 4. Class 4 shingles are much more resistant to damage from impact — such as the impact of heavy hail hitting the roof — than Class 1 shingles.

Shingle fire resistance ranges from Class A to Class C. Shingles with a Class A fire-resistance rating provide maximum fire protection, while Class B shingles offer moderate protection and Class C shingles offer light protection.

Asphalt shingles can vary greatly in appearance, durability, and weather-resistance. Keep these asphalt shingle options in mind when you choose the best new shingles for your home. Contact the roofing experts at Indy Roof Company for asphalt shingle replacement today.