Asphalt Roof Shingles

The Complete Guide

Roof Shingles GuideIf you are considering the installation of a new asphalt shingle roof on your home, you landed in the right place.

This guide is for you.

In this asphalt roof shingle guide ››

You're going to learn everything you need to know about:

  • The different types of roof shingles
  • Various color options with roof shingles
  • What shingle hail damage looks like
  • How to select a shingle roofing contractor
  • And lots more

Let's get started.

Roof Shingle Introduction

What are Asphalt Roof Shingles?

Asphalt roof shingles remain the most commonly installed type of residential roofing system in use today. Asphalt roof shingles begin with a continuous fiberglass "mat" that creates strength and tear resistance.

Fortified hot asphalt goes through a strengthening process, where it is "oxidized" by blowing hot air through it to increase its viscosity and firm up the material. This roofing asphalt is then bonded to the top and bottom of the mat layer to form a waterproof barrier.

Finally, crushed and screened granules are embedded into the top layer of asphalt, offering a layer of protection from heat damage, UV rays, and degradation - while providing the shingle color & shading that you see.

Asphalt Roof Shingle Layers

Roof shingles create a leak-proof barrier above your building structure, allowing water to flow safely down the roof and off the edges of the building while keeping your buildign and its contents dry.

Shingles are manufactured in strips and packaged in bundles.

Here's a close-up view of an asphalt roof shingle. Notice the shingle granules of varying color.

Asphalt Roof Shingle Granules

Shingle Roof System

Courtesy of Owens Corning

A complete asphalt shingle roof system includes the following engineered and professionally-installed components:

  • Attic insulation
  • Roof decking
  • Ventilation system
  • Ice & water barriers
  • Underlayment
  • Starter shingles
  • Roof shingles
  • Hip & ridge shingles
  • Gutter / drainage system

Roof shingle installation begins at the eaves and works its way up the roof. Shinges installed in overlapping rows (also called courses) of shingles.

Each course of shingles further up the roof overlaps the seams and nails of the course below. Asphalt roof shingles also contain a sticky sealant that is heat-activated to adhere each shingle course to the course above and the course below (increasing wind resistance and overall roof strength).

A well-designed shingle roofing system can improve your home's curb appeal, lower utility costs, and protect the structural integrity of your home.

Before we look at some common roof shingle options, check out the shingle roof installation video below.

Shingle Roof Installation

Watch this video to see a shingle roof installation up close.

Roof Shingle Styles & Shapes

3-Tab Roof Shingles

When you think of traditional asphalt roof shingles, a 3-tab roof shingle may come to mind. Recognizable by their rectangular shape and offset layout, 3-tab roof shingles were the dominant roof shingle until architectural roof shingles were developed in the 1970s.

While 3-tab roof shingles offer a lower cost option, they are considered a basic shingle choice. If one of your primary concerns is the cost of your roof, 3-tab shingles offer a cheap roofing alternative to architectural shingles.

Asphalt Roof Shingles - 3-Tab

Architectural Roof Shingles

The most common type of roof shingles in use to day are architectural roof shingles. Architectural roof shingles (also known as dimensional or laminated shingles) are manufactured in a variety of style and color choices.

Architectural roof shingles are stronger and more durable than 3-tab shingles when it comes to wind resistance, and most offer longer warranties.

Homeowners choose architectural shingles because they look great and can mimic several different styles of roof coverings (like wood shake, tile or slate), while saving cost for materials and installation labor.

Asphalt Roof Shingles - Architectural

Designer Roof Shingles

Today, homeowners have more roof shingle choices than ever. Recent advancements in asphalt shingle design has bred an entirely new category of architectural roof shingles.

Designer shingles are a premium roof shingle option. These designer roof shingles are made to look similar to wood shake, scalloped slate, tile or other old-world roof designs that can give your home a uniquely crafted look.

Here are a few designer roof shingle styles.

Designer Roof Shingles
Designer Roof Shingles
Designer Roof Shingles
Designer Roof Shingles

50-Year Roof Shingles

Some premium asphalt shingle roofing systems now offer a 50-year warranty. Considered a "best" shingle option, when considering "good" - "better" - "best" options, 50-year shingles use upgraded materials of construction and are heavier than standard architectural shingles.

Quality installation on a 50-year roof is vitally important. Many roofs fail early due to improper installation, poorly designed ventilation, or lack of design for wind or weather.

Experienced, professional roof installation by a certified installer is critical (and required by manufacturers) to qualify for a 50-year shingle warranty.

50-Year Roof Shingles

Asphalt Shingle Manufacturers

RestoreMasters installs only the best asphalt shingle roofing systems from the nation's top manufacturers. While we work regularly with the manufacturers below, we also provide shingle roofing systems from several other shingle manufacturers.

GAF Certified RooferCertainteed Master Shingle Applicator Owens Corning Preferred ContractorTAMKO Pro

If you need a specific type of asphalt roofing product, just ask. Other asphalt shingle manufacturers include: Owens Corning, GAF, TAMKO, IKO, Certainteed, Firestone, Malarkey, John Manville, Atlas & others.

Shingle Roof Warranties


As a Certified Roofing Contractor for multiple manufacturers, RestoreMasters offers warranties up to 50 years on asphalt shingle roofing systems.

Roof Shingle Color Pairings

There are dozens of color options available for your roof. Below are a few color options available from the Owens Corning Duration® Series.

Asphalt Shingle FAQ

How long does an asphalt shingle roof last?

In the absence of catastrophic hail or wind damage, newer premium asphalt shingle roofs can last up to 50 years. Architectural shingle roofs generally last 15-30 years. 3-Tab shingles may only last 10-20 years depending on the quality of manufacture. Roof life can be significantly affected by climate, attic ventilation, insulation, and quality of installation.

How do you match roof shingles to house color?

Some shingle manufacturers have "roof visualizers" that let you see shingle color options combined with house colors. View shingle colors on various houses, or upload a photo of your own home to see what various shingles might look like on your home. Try GAF Virtual Home Remodeler › or Try Owens Corning DESIGNEyeQ ›

Can you paint asphalt roof shingles?

While it is possible to paint roof shingles, it's not generally recommended. Due to the irregular surface consisting of shingle granules, painting roof shingles would lead to uneven areas as granules wear. With that said, there are commercial roof coating products on the market to paint roof shingles with an elastomeric roof shingle coating. If you are considering painting your shingle roof, talk to a roofing expert.

Can you use asphalt shingles on a flat roof?

Asphalt shingles are designed to be used on pitched roofs. However, there are various types of asphalt roll roofing that can be installed on flat roofs.

What are asphalt shingles made of?

Asphalt shingles include a fiberglass (made from woven strands of glass fibers) sandwiched between layers of asphalt. Asphalt is a by-product of oil refining. Mineral powders are mixed with the asphalt to increase weather and fire resistance. Granules may consist of crushed & screened slate, schist, quarts, vitrified brick, stone, or ceramic granules. Other components may include talc, sand, styrene-butadiene-styrene (SBS), and various biocides.

Roof Hail Damage Pictures

We are often asked what roof hail damage looks like. Below are some photos of shingle roof hail damage.

How to Select a Roofing Contractor

While many companies offer roofing services, you need to be careful when selecting a professional roofing contractor. Quality shingle roof installation requires an experienced roofing contractor. If you're looking for a long-lasting roof, you will want to employ the services of a highly-experienced roofing company, familiar with local roofing requirements.

Look for a roofing contractor with the following qualifications:

  • Is licensed, bonded, and insured
  • Experience installing your type of shingles on multiple projects
  • Experience managing staged roofing projects that may require parallel tear-off and installation
  • Experience working with insurance companies on damage claims

An experienced roofing contractor can help you avoid leaks and major problems and provide a roofing systems that lasts for decades.

Asphalt Shingle Roofing Projects

The photos and videos below show asphalt shingle roofing projects in various stages of construction.

Shingle Roofing Pictures

Call Now For Emergency Services

Call → 800-400-ROOF

Shingle Roofing Project Videos

Legends at St. Johns - Augustine, FL
Legends at St. Johns - Augustine, FL
Asphalt Shingle Roof - Panama City Beach, FL
Fire Restoration - Tulsa, OK
50 Yr. Grand Manor Roof - Jacksonville, FL
Resort Restoration - Panama City Beach, FL
Highland Park Baptist Church
Cobblestone Apartments

Asphalt Shingle Roofing Resources

Below are links to several other resources related to shingle roofing systems. If you have any specific questions, please don't hesitate to reach out to our team.

We hope you enjoyed this roof shingle guide!

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Do you need roofing help?

If you are worried about storm damage or think you may have a roof leak...

Contact us for a FREE roof inspection & damage assessment ›

RestoreMasters is an experienced full-service restoration contractor - offering turnkey solutions including roofing, siding, windows & doors, interior restoration, exterior repairs & more. With offices nationwide, we are here to serve you!

CALL › (800) 400-ROOF