Understanding What is an Asphalt Roof: Durability, Cost, and Styles Explained

What is an asphalt roof? It’s a practical, versatile roofing option employing asphalt shingles known for their resilience and affordability. This guide will walk you through what makes asphalt roofs a common choice, their types, and what homeowners should consider when opting for asphalt shingles, without diving too deep into the technical details upfront.

Key Takeaways

  • Asphalt shingles, made from a combination of fiberglass, tar, and granules, offer an economic, fire-resistant, and aesthetically diverse roofing option that is controlled for quality and consistency during production.

  • There are several types of asphalt shingles with differing benefits: 3-tab shingles for an economical option, dimensional shingles for aesthetics and durability, and luxury shingles as a premium, protective choice mimicking traditional materials like slate or wood shake.

  • Asphalt shingles not only provide durable and cost-effective roofing but also come with variable warranty coverage; full roof systems include crucial components beyond shingles, such as underlayments and proper ventilation, all of which are integral to roof longevity.

The Basics of Asphalt Roofing

Illustration of asphalt roofing shingles

Asphalt shingles, also known as composition shingles or laminate shingles, are composed primarily of a fiberglass mat, tar, asphalt granules, and a reinforcing base mat layer that may be made from either organic materials or fiberglass. This combination results in a roofing material that is not only economical but also fire-resistant and aesthetically pleasing, offering a blend of beauty, durability, longevity, and value.

The production of asphalt shingles is a meticulously controlled, stage-wise process. This control ensures that the shingles you install on your roof have consistent quality and performance, giving you peace of mind that your roof will stand up to the elements.

The Anatomy of a Shingle

Illustration of the anatomy of a shingle

Fiberglass-based shingles require a coating of asphalt for weatherproofing. In fact, over 90% of asphalt shingles use a fiberglass mat as their base. This asphalt coating provides the waterproofing and adhesive characteristics necessary for the shingles to perform their duty on your asphalt roof. The asphalt used for shingles is derived from refining crude oil and is chemically modified through oxidation to suit roofing applications.

But it’s not all about the asphalt. Mineral granules on shingles play a crucial part. They:

  • Shield the shingles from UV rays

  • Contribute to fire resistance

  • Give the shingles their color and texture, adding to the overall aesthetic appeal of your roof.

Types of Asphalt Shingles: A Comparative Overview

Illustration of different types of asphalt shingles

When it comes to types of roof shingles, variety is the name of the game. Asphalt shingles are primarily categorized into two types: strip shingles, also known as 3-tab shingles, and architectural shingles or dimensional shingles. Each type caters to different residential roofing needs, making it easy to find an option that fits your home’s style and your budget.

Strip Shingles: The Economical Choice

Strip shingles, also known as 3-tab shingles, are the original and most basic form of asphalt shingles. They are constructed from a single layer of asphalt, making them a lightweight and less expensive option than other types of asphalt shingles. Before the introduction of designer shingles during the 1980s, strip shingles were the predominant choice for roofing.

Even today, strip shingles are a popular choice for budget-conscious homeowners. Builders frequently choose strip shingles for economically-priced housing projects and for roof replacements on homes that initially had them.

Dimensional Shingles: Enhanced Aesthetics and Durability

Dimensional shingles, on the other hand, offer more than just affordability. They are constructed with two or more layers to create a thick, robust appearance. This layered construction gives a richer, multi-dimensional look compared to the flat appearance of strip shingles.

Not only do dimensional shingles improve the aesthetics of your home, but they also offer increased durability. They often come in a variety of styles and colors that mimic traditional roofing materials like wood shake, adding to their visual appeal. Manufacturers typically offer better warranty coverage for dimensional shingles, reflecting their increased durability.

Plus, the enhanced design of dimensional shingles, provided by top shingle manufacturers, contributes to their longevity and better performance in harsh weather conditions.

Luxury Shingles: The Premium Option

For those looking for a premium roofing option, luxury shingles are the way to go. Also known as designer shingles, these premium shingles offer the highest-quality roofing option available. They are crafted to mimic the aesthetic appeal of more traditional and expensive roofing materials like slate or wood shake.

While you might be drawn in by the elegant look of luxury shingles, it’s their superior protection that really makes them stand out. Luxury shingles offer more than just looks; they provide excellent protection for your home, truly earning their premium status.

Installation and Longevity

When it comes to installing your asphalt shingles, Rapid Roofing has you covered. The installation process includes the following steps:

  1. Starter shingles are installed to establish a secure base.

  2. Main shingles, typically architectural or luxury types, are installed.

  3. Ridge cap shingles are installed at the roof ridge.

  4. After a thorough site cleanup, a quality inspection is conducted.

  5. Your new roof is now ready to protect your home for years to come.

With Rapid Roofing, you can rest assured that your asphalt shingle roof will stand the test of time. We ensure a high installation quality and accuracy with the use of 3-tab asphalt roofing shingles, also known as roof shingles, known for their increased size and self-sealing properties, alongside the StrikeZone nailing area that provides up to 99.9% nailing accuracy. Depending on the protective sand or fine mica coating on the underside of the shingles, which prevents them from sticking together during storage and handling, your asphalt shingle roof can last between 15 to 30 years.

Performance and Warranty Coverage

Asphalt shingles are known for their weather resistance, cost-efficiency, and easy application. They come with special features including resistance to wind and algae growth, providing you with a durable and cost-effective roofing solution. But it’s not just about performance. Warranty coverage is also a key factor to consider when choosing your roofing material.

Standard basic limited lifetime warranties for asphalt shingles cover material defects for as long as the original purchaser owns the home, with certain limitations on labor costs and prorated coverage over time. Manufacturers also offer comprehensive extended warranties that can last up to 50 years and include non-prorated material coverage, and some may offer workmanship coverage, but they require installation by authorized contractors.

Plus, workmanship warranties, often provided by the roofing contractor, cover installation errors and may extend to cover damage to the home interior and belongings resulting from such errors.

Roof System Components Beyond Shingles

Illustration of roof system components

A roof is more than just its shingles. There’s a whole system at play here, with each component playing a crucial role in the overall integrity and longevity of your roof. Some important components of a roof system include:

  • Roofing underlayments: These act as secondary water barriers on the roof deck, preventing shingles from sticking to the decking resin.

  • Roof frame or truss: This provides the structural support necessary for the roof system.

  • Drip edges: These ensure proper water drainage from the roof’s edge.

Leak barriers applied in critical areas like valleys and flashing around roof penetrations serve to protect the roof from water seeping under the shingles. Plus, attic ventilation is a key aspect of a comprehensive roof system, contributing to its overall integrity and longevity. And just like your shingles, separate warranties may cover different roof system components.

Custom Solutions for Local Homes

At Rapid Roofing, we understand that every home is unique. That’s why we specialize in custom roofing services tailored for homes in Michigan and Ohio. We take into account the unique architectural styles and local climate conditions of each neighborhood we serve, providing services that are truly customized for your home.

Our wide-reaching presence, with 6 locations between Michigan and Ohio, indicates our capacity to service many local communities, ensuring that we can meet your specific roofing needs no matter where you live.

Enhancements and Additional Services

At Rapid Roofing, we’re more than just a roofing company. We offer a range of home improvement services beyond roofing, including the addition of gutters, siding, and skylights to enhance and protect your property. Our high-quality gutter systems are expertly installed to prevent potential water damage, using seamless technology and materials custom cut for each home.

We understand that a roofing project can be a significant financial investment. That’s why we provide financing assistance through flexible programs like Michigan Saves, ensuring our services are accessible and affordable. And if you’re dealing with an insurance claim, we’ve got you covered there too. We’re experts in handling insurance claims, offering complimentary roof inspections to assist with damage assessments.


Choosing the right roofing material is a crucial decision that can impact your home’s durability, aesthetics, and value. As we’ve explored in this blog post, asphalt shingles offer a versatile, cost-effective, and visually appealing roofing solution. And with Rapid Roofing’s comprehensive services, from custom roofing solutions to additional home enhancements and financing assistance, you can rest assured that your home is in good hands.

Frequently Asked Questions

What services does Rapid Roofing offer besides roofing?

In addition to roofing, Rapid Roofing offers services like adding gutters, siding, and skylights to improve your home. You can count on them for a variety of home improvement needs!

How many locations does Rapid Roofing have between Michigan and Ohio?

Rapid Roofing has 6 locations between Michigan and Ohio, offering convenient access for roofing needs in the region.

Does Rapid Roofing provide financing assistance?

Yes, Rapid Roofing offers financing assistance through flexible programs.

Can Rapid Roofing help with insurance claims?

Yes, Rapid Roofing can help with insurance claims. They are experts in handling insurance claims.

Does Rapid Roofing offer neighborhood-specific roofing services?

Yes, Rapid Roofing offers tailored services to meet the unique needs of each neighborhood. This ensures that your roofing needs are specifically addressed for your area.