What Type of Asphalt Shingle is Best? 

Before the 1800s, your roofing options were scarce. Clay tiles were expensive, leaving you with water-repellant cedar shakes or a thick straw thatch for your rooftop. The rustic forerunner of the asphalt shingle changed everything, eventually morphing to become the most popular roofing product in the world.


How was the original asphalt roof developed?

In the early 1800s, an inventive worker applied sticky, waterproof pine tar between and on top of layers of felted fabric. The addition of sand and ground-up shells pressed into its top coat stabilized it on the roof. With the invention of coal-gas lamps in the 1850s, the by-product, coal tar waste, replaced the hard-to-come-by pine tar. And by the late 1800s, the tar component was improved by switching to a composite of a thick, raw oil called bitumen, minerals, and brick chips, then saturating the felt layers with this less expensive, petroleum-based derivative asphalt


In 1903 Henry Reynolds of Michigan improved the ease of installation by cutting the asphalted roll of felt into the first known individual asphalt shingle.  

Over time, machinery quickened the cutting of shingles, and fibreglass mats replaced the more expensive, organic cotton-felt as the shingle’s base component. Various mineral granules were utilized to further protect the shingle from UV degradation further and improve the shingle’s tear, impact, and fire resistance.


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4 out of 5 houses are roofed with asphalt shingles, but what type of asphalt shingle is best?

There are three main kinds of asphalt shingles available. With each upgrade, the price per square foot increases and the installation costs increase due to the manufacturer’s specifications.

Many factors can shorten the life of a shingle. Sun wear, ice dam damage, and moist attic air transference to the underside of the roofing plywood will severely impair any shingle.


Asphalt 3 Tab: This is the cheapest shingle option. They have an organic-mat paper base and are thinner than the other two styles. A 3-tab installation can last from 12 -to 17 years, depending on the upkeep of your roof. 


Asphalt Architectural, Laminate, or Dimensional: These provide a sculpted, contoured look to the shingle with an extra laminate layer. This type of shingle is about 20% more expensive than the 3 Tab, both as a product and to install. Regardless, architectural shingles have become the most popular for their beauty and quality. An architectural shingle can last from 20 – 25 years with proper maintenance.


Asphalt Fibreglass 3D: This premium shingle is the height of chic. It has the luxurious multi-dimensional look of a wood shake or slate roof. The sh is thick and durable while still more affordable than the other high-end roofing alternatives of actual slate or cedar shake. It is also a laminate shingle. A solid and healthy roof structure is required to take the weight of this shingle, triple that of a 3 -Tab shingle. Well cared for, a Fibreglass 3D shingle should last up to 25 -30 years.


How do you choose which shingle you should install? 

Choosing a new roof replacement in London, Ontario, is about picking a trustworthy and customer service-based roofing company. Forest City Roofing has delighted its roofing clients with quality installations in the London area since 1993.


Plan early for your roofing installation. Talk to the roofing experts at Forest City Roofing with any questions at (519) 659 6937.




Sources cited:

    2. From Asbestos to Zinc: Roofing for Historic Buildings, Unites States National Park Service,


February 10, 2022

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