Different Types of Asphalt Shingles | Pacific West Roofing

Asphalt shingles have become far and away the most popular roofing material because they’re relatively inexpensive, durable, and easy to install. In fact, more than 15 billion square feet of asphalt roofing shingles are made and installed every year.


  • extremely low-maintenance
  • easy to repair
  • economical
  • stylistically diverse
  • easy to recycle
  • highly fire resistant

If you’re planning for a roof replacement and considering this material, you may be surprised at the number of options you have within the category. Below are the various types and aspects of asphalt shingles you have to choose from.


This is the basis of any shingle. A piece of material (called a mat) coated with asphalt and embedded with ceramic granules. The mat gives it strength against tearing or breaking. These shingles used to come in two varieties: organic and fiberglass. But, due to a high rate of failure and asbestos contents, organic shingles aren’t used anymore. Fiberglass mats are bonded with formaldehyde resin and coated with an asphalt mixture before the ceramic granules are embedded.


Those ceramic granules are among the most important components of any asphalt shingle. They provide that familiar grainy look and can be used to create a variety of colors and styles. More importantly, the granules protect shingles from intense UV exposure.

Some granules also contain zinc or copper to help protect your roof from algae growth, which can cause those curious black stains and streaks. The resistance provided by these specialized granules typically lasts for about 10 years. If parts or all of your roof is in constant shade throughout the day, this would be a smart option to take advantage of.


Three-tab shingles are composed of one flat layer and come in just one size and shape. They are thinner than other types, making them less expensive, but this also means they will be less resistant to wind and wear. In regions that are particularly warm, windy, or subject to significant temperature changes, the three-tab shingle won’t last as long as other varieties. For these reasons, three-tab shingles are declining in popularity but still remain favorable for budget-conscious projects.


Architectural (sometimes called laminated or dimensional) shingles are the same as others with regards to composition, but different in many other ways. Each architectural shingle actually have two or more shingles fused together, giving them a three-dimensional appearance. This manufacturing method can make an asphalt shingle look a lot like wood shakes or slate tiles, which has made them popular among homeowners who love the look of those higher-end materials— just not the cost or maintenance issues.

Architectural shingles are also a lot more durable than the average three-tab. All those layers make them heavier and harder, helping them resist damaging weather elements and last much longer. In fact, most architectural shingles come with a lifetime warranty.


While the lifespan of any asphalt-shingled roof will vary based on the material’s type and manufacturer, proper installation is the key to your roof’s longevity. When having your roof repaired or replaced it is imperative to hire a roofer with experience, integrity, and a long list of happy customers.

Pacific West Roofing’s team of skilled craftsmen have the experience and certifications you can trust! Contact us about your roof repair and replacement needs today. Call 503-635-8706 or send us an email.




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