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Asphalt Shingles vs. Composite Shingles: Which is Better?

Orange brick roof on top of multiple windows

Asphalt Shingles vs. Composite Shingles

The roofing material used in home construction is crucial by significantly impacting the home’s overall energy efficiency. Using the right materials can protect its inhabitants and the structure from the elements.

Asphalt shingles are made from organic mat coated with asphalt and covered with fiberglass, or granules. They are used mostly for residential roofing due to their cost-effectiveness and durability.

Composite shingles (synthetic shingles) are made of a combination of materials such as asphalt, rubber, and plastic. Offering a similar level of protection and lifespan as asphalt shingles.

Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles are available in various colors and styles. Experts can cut them to fit various roof slopes and shapes.

Brown Composite Roof Shingles

Typically, asphalt shingles have a lifespan of 20-30 years. Its lifespan depends on various factors such as shingles quality, the upkeep and maintenance of the roof, and the weather conditions.

To install, a roofer needs to overlap the shingles and secure them with nails to the roof deck.

Tips that can help extend the lifespan of asphalt shingles:

  • It must be properly installed
  • It must have ventilation
  • Regular maintenance is crucial

Pros of Asphalt Shingles

  • Affordability: generally less expensive option for many homeowners
  • Durability: proper maintenance can make them last for several decades 
  • Easy installation: relatively easy to install
  • Wide availability: easy to transport and purchase to a job site.
  • Aesthetically pleasing: available in a wide range of colors and styles

Composite Shingles

Composite shingles are installed in the same way as asphalt shingles, in overlapping rows on the roof.

Typically, composite shingles have a lifespan of 30-50 years, depending on the quality and climate conditions.

A grey asphalt roof with a window opened

Like asphalt shingles, composite shingles require proper maintenance and upkeep to maintain their performance over time. This includes proper roof ventilation, regular cleaning, and occasional repairs as needed.

Some advantages of using composite shingles are:

  • High level of protection from the elements
  • Outstanding durability
  • Low maintenance requirements compared to other roofing materials
  • Easy installation and removal if necessary
  • Various colors, styles, and textures available to suit different architectural styles.

Composite shingles may be more expensive than asphalt shingles in some cases.

Tips that can help extend the lifespan of composite shingles:

  • Regularly inspect the roof for signs of damage or wear and tear, and repair or replace any shingles as needed.
  • Install proper ventilation to avoid excessive heat buildup on the roof surface, which can cause degradation of the shingles over time.
  • Clean the roof regularly with a soft brush and mild detergent to remove debris and dirt that can damage the shingles.
  • Ensure that your roof has adequate support and is not leaning or sagging, which can compromise its structural integrity over time.
  • Use high-quality composite shingles from a trusted manufacturer for best results.
  • Consider hiring a professional contractor to help with installation or repairs, especially if you are not comfortable working on a roof yourself.

Comparison of Asphalt and Composite Shingles


Five essential factors to consider when comparing the costs of asphalt and composite shingles:

  • Initial cost: Asphalt shingles are generally more affordable upfront than composite shingles.
  • Lifespan: Composite shingles have a longer lifespan than asphalt shingles, which can offset the higher initial cost over time.
  • Maintenance: Composite shingles require less maintenance than asphalt shingles, which can help offset the higher initial cost.
  • Installation: The cost of installing asphalt or composite shingles will depend on the size and complexity of the roof, as well as the contractor’s rates.
  • Location: The cost of asphalt and composite shingles may vary depending on the location.


Compared to other types of roofing materials, asphalt and composite shingles are relatively easy to install. A professional roofing contractor can install asphalt shingles.

On the contrary, composite shingles must be installed by professionals who know more specialized installation techniques

Both types can be installed on various roof slopes and styles. These can be cut and shaped to fit around roof features such as chimneys, skylights, and events. 

But, keep in mind this info: when installing any roofing material, it is crucial to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and local building codes.

While both asphalt and composite shingles are relatively easy to install compared to other types of roofing materials, composite shingles may be slightly more challenging to install due to their weight. Composite shingles are typically heavier than asphalt shingles, making them more challenging to handle and install. 

They may also require more specialized installation techniques, such as using a different type of fastener or installing additional structural support. 

It is recommended to have composite shingles installed by a professional roofing contractor who has experience working with this type of material.

In Conclusion

Both shingles are resistant to wind and water damage, but composite shingles may be more durable in extreme weather conditions.

When deciding on two types of shingles, cost, lifespan, maintenance, installation, and weather resistance are key factors to consider when choosing between asphalt and composite shingles.

It’s essential to consider upfront and long-term costs when deciding between asphalt and composite shingles. While asphalt shingles may be more affordable up front, they have a shorter lifespan and require more frequent repairs and replacements, increasing the long-term cost. 

On the other hand, composite shingles may have a higher initial cost but may have a longer lifespan and require less maintenance, which can offset the higher upfront cost over time. Therefore, it’s important to weigh both upfront and long-term costs when deciding to ensure that you choose the most cost-effective option for your home.