Roofing Shingles: Asphalt vs. Composite

Replacing your roof is a big investment and you want to make the right choice when it comes to what type of shingles will be installed.  Shingles are the first line of defense for your roofing system and the type you select is undoubtedly an important one.  The two most popular choices are traditional asphalt shingles and composite shingles.  How do you know which one to pick?

Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles are perhaps the most common shingles used in roofing—and for good reason.  They’re durable and cost-effective with the added benefit of making any home look sharp.  These shingles are available in hundreds of different shades and colors and because they’re a standard roofing material in manufacturing, homeowners won’t break the bank on installing a roof with asphalt shingles.

nailing down asphalt shingles

Asphalt shingles are comprised of either fiberglass or a paper mat with a top layer of asphalt.  Of course, asphalt shingles with a paper backing are considerably more environmentally friendly than those made with a fiberglass mat.  Modern asphalt shingles are typically manufactured to resist algae growth.  Some manufacturers also make asphalt shingles with protective qualities to amplify UV resistance.  These, however, come at a higher cost than standard asphalt shingles.

These shingles have a lifespan of about 15-20 years.  While that seems like a long time, other roofing materials are designed to last even longer.  Metal roofs, for instance, are meant to last 40-70 years.  As the current debate is focused on, composite shingles are designed to last up to 50 years or longer. 

Composite Shingles

Composite shingles are becoming an increasingly popular choice for roofing material.  Unlike asphalt shingles, composite shingles are much more environmentally friendly as they are composed of fiberglass, asphalt, recycled paper, and plastics.  With composite shingles, you do get what you pay for as these shingles are more expensive than asphalt, but the life expectancy of a composite roof is around 50 years or longer.

nailing down composite shingles

While composite shingles are designed to last longer than asphalt, they do cost more.  For many homeowners, the cost is the biggest concern and determining factor in which shingle style they select—and understandably so.  

Composite and Asphalt Shingles: Pros & Cons

Now that you understand the basics of each of these shingles, it’s up to you to determine which is best for your roofing system.  Both composite and asphalt shingles offer plenty of advantages, it comes down to how much you want to spend on a roof replacement as well as how long you’ll be living in your house, meaning how long you’ll be able to benefit from your investment.


Asphalt shingles are durable, but they’re not as tough as their counterpart, composite shingles.  Asphalt shingles will crack when impacted by heavy debris, but composite shingles are more resistant to breaking.  Composite shingles, because of their composition, are less likely to tear off in severe weather, unlike asphalt shingles, which can separate from the roof and fly off in adverse conditions like high winds.


Composite shingles are designed to last up to 50 years or longer if you perform regular maintenance checks and have your roof professionally inspected.  Asphalt shingles will last about 15-20 years with the same routine care.  For homeowners who plan to live in the same house for as long as possible, a composite roof would be a good choice.  For homeowners who are looking to move on in a few years and need a roof replacement, asphalt roofs will do the job at half the cost.


Budgets can make or break a home project decision.  With shingles, you’ll quickly learn that with a high price tag comes a longer lifespan of the roofing material.  Composite shingles will outlast asphalt shingles by a few decades but at a much bigger expense.  However, you’ll still get 15-20 years at the modestly priced asphalt shingled roof, and if you only plan to live in the home for that amount of time, then this budget-friendly option can work for you.


Warranties are an important aspect to pay attention to when picking between shingle types.  Composite shingles can have a 30-50 year warranty while asphalt shingles can have a 15-50 year warranty—all depending on your roofing contractor and manufacturer.

Composite Versus Asphalt

A new roof can do wonders in protecting your home from water damage, its curb appeal, and its resale value.  Whichever shingle style you decide on, a roof replacement of any kind will benefit you.  You need to decide what is best for your budget, your plan for your home, and the environmental implications of how these shingles are manufactured.

Replacing your roof can be an expensive upgrade to your home. Let us help you in making that decision. At Feldco, we provide a breakthrough design and triple layer protection to keep your roof healthy for what mother nature decides to throw at it.  For a roof replacement, our installers are factory trained, experienced, and professional to get the job done right. Speak to a product specialist and get a free quote today.

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