Asphalt Shingles vs Composite Shingles Maryland Roofing

Are Composite Roof Shingles Better Than Asphalt?

Asphalt and composite shingles can be a good choice if you are looking to protect your home with traditional shingles. There are many styles and types of shingle options, but the most common is the traditional shingle.

Over 50 years, organic asphalt shingles were the dominant roofing product. Fiberglass asphalt shingles (including multi-layer composites shingles) became very popular in the 1980s. Soon wood fiber shingles followed, as did other options like wood fiber shingles.

Polymer composite shingle refers to roofing materials made of polymers and synthetic compounds. They should be distinguished from the multi-layer composite asphalt shingles. They are made from advanced materials that make them superior to conventional asphalt shingles. They are a great alternative to traditional asphalt shingles and have become a favorite choice for homeowners.

You’ve reached the right place if you are looking for a roof replacement or looking at other options. Let’s talk about the advantages and disadvantages of composite roofing vs. asphalt. A few other considerations will be made about composite roofs such as price, style, brands, etc.

What are Asphalt Shingles?

The most affordable type of roofing for residential use is asphalt roofing shingles. All shingles contain some asphalt but there are key differences. Asphalt siding is made up of several layers. The top layer of asphalt siding is composed of granules. These granules provide color and protect the underlayer waterproof from fire and UV rays.

Asphalt shingles can be found in all 50 states and are affordable. These shingles are also easier to install and can last homeowners 30 years. This is only true if the shingles are of high quality and affordable price.

What Are Composite Shingles?

Composite shingles are similar to asphalt shingles but made from recycled materials such as plastics. They can last longer and they’re more sustainable than asphalt.

Composite shingles have a much longer lifespan than traditional asphalt shingles, with a life expectancy up to 50 plus years. Although you will be paying more upfront, there are no additional roofing maintenance costs.

Pros of Asphalt

  • Versatile Use ‌

The‌ ‌most significant‌ ‌advantage‌ ‌of‌ ‌asphalt‌ ‌shingles‌ ‌is‌ ‌their‌ ‌ability‌ ‌to‌ ‌work‌ ‌on‌ ‌any‌ ‌roof style,‌ ‌even‌ ‌with‌ odd‌ ‌angles‌ ‌and‌ ‌shapes.‌ ‌If‌ ‌you‌ ‌have‌ ‌a‌ ‌‌steep‌ ‌pitch‌ ‌or‌ ‌a‌ ‌low‌ ‌slope,‌ ‌asphalt‌ ‌shingles‌ ‌will‌ work‌ ‌excellent.‌ ‌ ‌

  • Huge Selection

No‌ ‌matter‌ ‌whether‌ ‌you‌ ‌want‌ ‌a‌ ‌unique‌ ‌color‌ ‌to‌ ‌match‌ ‌your‌ ‌home’s‌ ‌palette‌ ‌or‌ ‌you‌ prefer‌ ‌shingles‌ ‌that‌ ‌look‌ ‌like‌ ‌natural‌ ‌elements‌ ‌-‌ ‌slate‌ ‌or‌ ‌wood,‌ ‌there’s‌ ‌an‌ ‌asphalt‌ ‌shingles‌ ‌line‌ ‌that‌ fits‌ ‌your‌ ‌needs.‌ ‌ ‌

  • Price & Availability

Available in all 50 States and the most budget-friendly, some brands cost less than $1 a square foot (12" x12"). Architectural and designer shingles cost more but have a longer lifespan, making money well spent. 

You’ll spend the least amount of money upfront for installing asphalt shingles, and you’ll save money with little maintenance and repairs. Many shingles have extended warranties that will cover decades or even the lifespan of the roof. 

Cons of Asphalt

  • Granule loss

The‌ ‌biggest‌ ‌downside‌ ‌of‌ ‌asphalt‌ ‌shingles‌ ‌is‌ ‌granule‌ ‌loss.‌ ‌As‌ ‌the‌ ‌granules‌ ‌degrade‌ ‌with‌ ‌exposure‌ to‌ ‌wind,‌ ‌hail,‌ ‌debris, and‌ ‌the‌ ‌sun,‌ ‌small‌ ‌pieces‌ ‌will‌ ‌start‌ ‌to‌ ‌fall‌ ‌away.‌ ‌Without‌ ‌the‌ ‌granules,‌ ‌the‌ ‌asphalt‌ will‌ ‌become‌ ‌brittle‌ ‌and‌ ‌start‌ ‌cracking,‌ ‌resulting‌ ‌in‌ ‌failed‌ ‌performance.‌ ‌Most‌ ‌warranties‌ ‌do‌ ‌not‌ cover‌ ‌granule‌ ‌loss or damage.‌ ‌ ‌

  • Wind Resistance

Another‌ ‌issue‌ ‌with‌ ‌asphalt‌ ‌shingles‌ ‌is‌ ‌their‌ ‌wind‌ ‌resistance.‌ ‌This‌ ‌type‌ ‌of‌ ‌shingle‌ ‌is‌ ‌easy‌ ‌to‌ ‌tear‌ during‌ ‌installation‌ ‌or‌ ‌once‌ ‌attached‌ ‌to‌ ‌your‌ ‌roof.‌ ‌Depending‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌brand,‌ ‌asphalt‌ ‌shingles‌ ‌have‌ ‌a‌ ‌lower‌ ‌wind‌ ‌rating‌ ‌of‌ ‌Class‌ ‌D‌ ‌(90‌ ‌mph‌ ‌winds),‌ ‌or‌ ‌F‌ ‌(110).‌ ‌

You‌ ‌may‌ ‌be‌ ‌able‌ ‌to‌ ‌increase‌ ‌the‌ ‌wind‌ rating‌ ‌to‌ ‌130‌ ‌mph‌ ‌using‌ ‌different‌ ‌installation‌ ‌techniques.‌ ‌But‌ ‌few,‌ ‌if‌ ‌any,‌ ‌asphalt‌ ‌shingles‌ ‌will‌ ‌have‌ as‌ ‌high‌ ‌of‌ ‌wind‌ ‌resistance‌ ‌as‌ ‌composite‌ ‌shingles‌ ‌(up‌ ‌to‌ ‌190‌ ‌mph).‌ ‌ ‌

  • Heat Absorbing

Asphalt‌ ‌shingles‌ ‌tend‌ ‌to‌ ‌absorb‌ ‌more‌ ‌heat‌ ‌(unless‌ ‌they’re‌ ‌Cool‌ ‌Color‌ ‌rated),‌ ‌which‌ ‌means‌ you’ll‌ ‌pay‌ ‌higher‌ ‌heating‌ ‌and‌ ‌cooling‌ ‌bills.‌ ‌If‌ ‌energy‌ ‌efficiency‌ ‌is‌ ‌crucial‌ ‌for‌ ‌you,‌ ‌you will‌ ‌do‌ ‌better‌ installing‌ ‌a‌ ‌metal‌ ‌roof,‌ ‌which‌ ‌does‌ ‌the‌ ‌best‌ ‌job‌ ‌of‌ ‌blocking‌ ‌heat‌ ‌or‌ ‌choosing‌ ‌composite‌ ‌shingles.‌ ‌

  • Prone to Algae Groth

In high humidity climates like Maryland,  asphalt shingles can be prone to algae growth. When excessive moisture collects, it can also lead to issues like mildew growth in the summer and ice dams in the winter. Excessive moisture can even permeate past the substrate and into the attic or interior of the home, where it can cause even more damage.

Pros of Composite

  • Performance

Besides‌ ‌being‌ ‌eco-friendly,‌ ‌composite‌ ‌shingles‌ ‌have‌ ‌excellent‌ ‌performance.‌ ‌This‌ ‌type‌ ‌of‌ ‌shingle‌ is‌ ‌impervious‌ ‌to‌ ‌water‌ ‌and‌ ‌is‌ ‌fire‌ ‌resistant.‌ ‌Most‌ ‌composite‌ ‌shingles‌ ‌have‌ ‌a‌ ‌Class‌ ‌F‌ ‌to‌ ‌H‌ ‌wind‌ rating,‌ ‌allowing‌ ‌for‌ ‌resistance‌ ‌against‌ ‌wind‌ ‌gusts‌ ‌between‌ ‌110‌ ‌and‌ ‌190‌ ‌mph,‌ ‌making‌ ‌them‌ ‌ideal‌ for‌ ‌locations‌ ‌with‌ ‌significant‌ ‌weather‌ ‌(tornadoes,‌ ‌hurricanes).‌ ‌ ‌

  • Durability

Depending‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌brand‌ ‌you‌ ‌choose,‌ ‌composite‌ ‌shingles‌ ‌may‌ ‌have‌ ‌algae‌ ‌protection‌ ‌and‌ ‌won’t‌ peel,‌ ‌crack,‌ ‌warp,‌ ‌or‌ ‌split.‌ ‌Many‌ ‌lines‌ ‌also‌ ‌have‌ ‌extended‌ ‌warranties‌ ‌that‌ ‌exceed‌ ‌warranties‌ ‌of‌ asphalt‌ ‌shingles.‌ ‌

  • Variety ‌Choices

You‌ ‌can‌ ‌find‌ ‌composite‌ ‌shingles‌ ‌in‌ ‌various‌ ‌colors‌ ‌and‌ ‌styles,‌ ‌with‌ ‌some‌ ‌lines‌ ‌resembling‌ wood‌ ‌shakes,‌ ‌tile,‌ ‌or‌ ‌natural‌ ‌slate.‌ ‌And‌ ‌because‌ ‌composite‌ ‌shingles‌ ‌are‌ ‌lighter‌ ‌in‌ ‌weight,‌ ‌they’re‌ more‌ ‌versatile‌ ‌to‌ ‌use‌ ‌on‌ ‌homes‌ ‌that‌ ‌can’t‌ ‌handle‌ ‌the‌ ‌excessive‌ ‌weight‌ ‌of‌ ‌asphalt‌ ‌shingles.‌ ‌

  • Lifespan ‌

Once‌ ‌you‌ ‌install‌ ‌your‌ ‌roof,‌ ‌you‌ could‌ ‌be‌ ‌worry-free‌ ‌for‌ ‌30‌ ‌to‌ ‌50‌ ‌years.‌ ‌Since‌ ‌the‌ ‌construction‌ ‌is‌ ‌a‌ ‌single‌ ‌layer‌ ‌with‌ ‌no‌ ‌granules,‌ ‌there’s‌ ‌less‌ ‌risk‌ ‌of‌ ‌damage‌ ‌to‌ ‌common‌ ‌enemies‌ ‌of‌ ‌asphalt‌ ‌shingles‌ ‌-‌ ‌hail,‌ ‌sun,‌ ‌and‌ ‌wind.‌ ‌ ‌

  • Regulates Internal Heat ‌

Composite‌ ‌shingles‌ ‌are‌ ‌also‌ ‌better‌ ‌for‌ ‌regulating‌ ‌the‌ ‌internal‌ ‌temperature‌ ‌of‌ ‌your‌ ‌home‌ ‌when‌ compared‌ ‌to‌ ‌asphalt‌ ‌shingles.‌ ‌Plastic‌ ‌shingles‌ ‌have‌ ‌a‌ ‌higher‌ ‌UV‌ ‌resistance,‌ ‌with‌ ‌some‌ ‌lines‌ reflecting‌ ‌solar‌ ‌heat,‌ ‌allowing‌ ‌the‌ ‌inside‌ ‌to‌ ‌stay‌ ‌at‌ ‌a‌ ‌comfortable‌ ‌temperature.‌ ‌

Cons of Composite Shingle

  • Costs

The biggest downside of composite roofing is the higher upfront costs. You can expect to pay 2 to 3 times more for composite shingles. And it has a lower ROI in terms of resale value as opposed to architectural asphalt shingles which hold the best ROI.

  • No Enhanced Wind Resistance

A great thing about asphalt shingles is you can use enhanced installation techniques to increase the wind resistance. However, with composite shingles, you do not have this option.

Asphalt vs. Composite Roof Shingles

Both asphalt and composite shingles can last for up to 50 years depending on the style and quality. That said, synthetic composite roofing often comes with a longer guarantee. Like most composite materials, these shingles and tiles are considered incredibly durable with excellent weather resistance.

Composite roofing has an advantage with durability, but not with pricing. You can expect to pay more than twice the price for composite shingles vs asphalt shingles, although the gap narrows somewhat on the premium end. They are lighter, which makes them easier to install as well, which can result in savings from your roofing contractor.

Style is another important factor when choosing shingles for your home. While you can buy asphalt shingles in over a dozen shades, composite shingles have an edge as they encompass more than one style of shingle. You can find dozens of shades in composite wood shake and tile. The selection of composite slate tiles isn’t as vast, however.

If durability is important, and you are interested in more styles than a traditional or dimensional shingle can provide, composite shingles are the ideal choice for your home. They will increase the value of your house compared to asphalt, and can drastically alter the appearance of your home in some cases.

Asphalt shingle roofs remain the best choice when it comes to cost-efficiency. Truthfully, composite roofing shingles provide you with a longer-lasting roof, but a brand-new roof after 30 years gives you better peace of mind regarding its performance and dependability.

While the cost of installation and material should be taken into account, the upgrade to a composite roof shingle is well worth it for your family’s forever home.

Pricing & Availability

The only problem with composite roof shingles is their price. Composite asphalt roofing costs $7.75 to $14.50 per square foot, plus the cost of installation. The average price range is $8.85-10.50 per square foot.

Although installation can sometimes be more expensive if there isn’t a certified installer nearby, most homeowners consider the price of the product to be the main determining factor. You can buy composite roofing in bundles of 22-28 pieces. To create a roofing square of 100 square feet, you will need six to eight bundles.

Asphalt shingles cost between $1.50 and $5.50 a square foot, averaging about $150 to $550 per roofing square. Prices are cheaper for 3-tab (basic) shingles ($0.90 sq ft) than architectural ($4.50 sq ft). Asphalt shingles also come in bundles, although how many bundles cover one roofing square varies by brand.

Composite ROOFING Manufacturers & Materials

Composite roofing manufacturers


Other composite roofing materials

  • Composite Shake Tile
  • Composite Slate Tile

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