Types of Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles are the most common residential roofing material today, and have been for the last 100 years. Asphalt shingles are not only cost effective, but also durable, and due to their long life span and ability to be recycled, they are "green" as well. These shingles come in many different sizes, shapes and applications.

Three-Tab Shingles

Asphalt shingles are durable and stylish.

Three-tab shingles are among the least expensive, and the most popular styles of asphalt shingles. Three-tab shingles are easy to install, and long lasting with typical warranty coverage of up to 30 years. Three-tab shingles are available in fiberglass or composite. Composite shingles are made the traditional way with an asphalt base and matting of wood or paper fibers.


Fiberglass shingles aren't made entirely out of fiberglass; rather they are made with an asphalt base reinforced with a fiberglass mat. Fiberglass shingles are lighter than comparable asphalt shingles.


Laminated shingles are laminated from two or more layers of asphalt. Also known as architectural shingles, or laminated architectural shingles, these shingles are heavier than three tab shingles and can carry warranties of up to 45 years. Laminated shingles often mimic the look of wood shingles.


Interlocking shingles interlock with each other in a basket weave pattern, and are suitable for use in high wind areas. Interlocking shingles are constructed of the same materials used in other asphalt shingles.

Large Format

Large format shingles are, as the name suggests, larger than the other varieties. Large format shingles are available in hexagonal as well as rectangular shapes and typically lack tabs or cutouts.

Roll Roofing

Asphalt roll roofing looks much like asphalt shingles, but it is lighter in weight, and comes in 3-foot-wide rolls. Roll roofing is used on low-sloped roofs and for low grade construction. It is not a replacement for asphalt shingles.

About the Author

David Brown began his writing career while still in college, writing and editing research grants and scientific papers. His work has appeared in such journals as "The Journal of Clinical Investigation" and "Gastroenterology." He currently owns a construction company in Boulder, Colo.