The roofing industry is full of different names and terms that are hard to understand as a homeowner. This can be confusing and often frustrating. 

Especially when different roofing contractors use different terms to mean the same thing. This brings us to a commonly asked question, “Are composition shingles and asphalt shingles the same thing?”

For over 30 years, the team at Bill Ragan Roofing has helped homeowners understand the lingo, terminology, and other aspects of the roofing industry. Now we’ll be doing the same thing for you. 

To start this article off, we’ll clarify if composition shingles and asphalt shingles are the same. After that, we’ll give you 3 things that every homeowner needs to know about a composition shingle roof. 

Are composition shingles and asphalt shingles the same thing?

Yes, composition shingles and asphalt shingles are the same thing. It’s simply just another term the roofing industry uses for asphalt shingles. 

architectural composition (asphalt) shingles

The term “composition” comes from the fact that asphalt shingles are a composite of man-made materials. These materials consist of fiberglass, tar, and granules put on a fiberglass mat to make a shingle. 

Insurance companies also call them composition shingles on claims for roof damage. So, if you see “composition” on your insurance claim, there’s no reason to panic. 

At the end of the day, you might hear different roofing contractors use one or the other. But the majority of the roofing industry uses asphalt shingles. 

3 things to know about composition (asphalt) shingles

Now you know that composition shingles and asphalt shingles are the same thing. After learning this, you’re ready to learn the 3 main things every homeowner needs to know about composition shingles. 

1. The 3 types of composition shingles

There are 3 types of composition (asphalt) shingles: 3-tab, architectural (dimensional or laminate), and luxury (shake look or slate look). All 3 shingles have different looks to fit the style you’re looking for and your budget.

3 tab asphalt shingles

3-tab shingles lay flat and get their name from the 3 tabs on each shingle strip.

architectural asphalt shingles

Architectural (dimensional) shingles have a random pattern and shadow lines to give your roof more dimension. Some even simulate the look of a wood shake roof.

luxury asphalt shingles

Luxury (shake roof and slate roof) shingles are larger and thicker than the other shingles. Most luxury shingles are designed to look like slate tiles, hence the name slate look.

3-tab shingles used to dominate the roofing industry, but now architectural shingles are the most common type installed on roofs today. Luxury shingles are as heavily marketed as architectural shingles, but they’re around double the price.

No matter your budget or the look you want, you’ll be able to find an asphalt shingle that fits your needs. 

2. The materials and components that make up a composition shingle roof

While choosing which shingle you want is the fun part; your composition roof system is much more than the shingles you see from the street. It’s a combination of key roofing components and materials that come together to form a complete roof system.

These other roofing materials and components are just as important as the composition shingles themselves. 

The main materials and components that make up a composition roof are: 

These materials come together to make a complete roof system that protects you and your family. To learn more about the functions of each roofing component and material, click on the hyperlinks attached to the materials or check out the 9 materials included in your roof replacement

3. The lifespan of composition shingle roof

A composition roof’s lifespan is the number of leak-free years you get out of it. Remember the 3 types of composition shingles we discussed earlier? Well, each comes with a specified lifespan from the manufacturer. 

3-tab shingles can last up to 25 years and live the shortest of the three types of composition shingles. On the other hand, both architectural and luxury shingles have a lifespan of around 30 years.

But the luxury style is thicker and has the possibility to go over 30 years and up to 50 under the right conditions. As long as the composition shingles are properly installed and your attic is adequately ventilated, they’ll get really close to the lifespans above.

However, other factors impact how long a composition roof ultimately lasts. 

How much does a composition (asphalt) shingle roof cost?

Now you know 3 things every homeowner needs to know about a composition roof. However, there’s still one more crucial thing you need to learn. 

This, of course, is how much a composition shingle roof costs. The problem is, the roofing industry avoids talking about pricing or anything else relating to cost. 

But here at Bill Ragan Roofing, we do things differently. That’s why we wrote another article that gives you the cost of a composition (asphalt) roof and the factors that impact the price of a replacement. 

The team at Bill Ragan Roofing has provided homeowners in Nashville and surrounding areas with high-quality asphalt roofing services since 1990. Whether you need repairs or a full roof replacement, you can count on our workmanship backed by a lifetime warranty to take care of your roof for decades to come.   

To learn what you can expect to pay for a composition roof replacement, check out How Much a New Asphalt Roof Costs: Pricing, Factors & Considerations.

the complete guide to purchasing a roof