Composite vs Asphalt Shingles: A Friendly Guide to Their Pros, Cons & Differences

Looking for the ultimate guide to choosing the perfect shingle for your roof?

The choice between composite and asphalt shingles can be a tough one, but that's exactly why we're here!

Our expert guide will break down the pros, cons, and differences between the two materials so that you can make an informed decision.

From durability to energy efficiency, we'll cover it all, giving you the knowledge you need to select the best option for your home. 

Let's get started!

What Are Composite Shingles?

Composite shingles are made from a blend of materials, such as fiberglass, recycled plastics, and other materials, resulting in a product that is both strong and eco-friendly.

Asphalt shingles installed on the roof

Composite shingles can imitate the appearance of various traditional roofing materials like wood, slate, or tile but without the drawbacks of these materials' sources.

One of the key benefits of composite shingles is their outstanding lifespan.

You can expect around 40-50 years of life out of composite shingles thanks to their high impact rating.

What Are Asphalt Shingles?

Asphalt shingles, as the name suggests, are made of asphalt reinforced by glass fiber or organic materials like cellulose.

Bituminous granules for asphalt

The top layer of these shingles is made from bituminous granules, which provide added durability and a visually appealing texture.

One of the key reasons asphalt shingles are so popular is their inexpensive and reliable way to weatherproof a roof.

They are easy to handle and transport, making them a go-to choice for many homeowners.

Continue reading: Pros And Cons Of Painting Asphalt Shingles

Pros and Cons of Composite vs. Asphalt Shingles

In this section, we will provide a comprehensive comparison between composite and asphalt shingles, discussing their pros and cons.

Asphalt shingle roofing photographed at the roof

Pros and Cons Composite Shingles

Pros of Composite Shingles

  • Durable and long-lasting – can last around 40-50 years without any maintenance.
  • Can save you money in the long run due to its extended lifespan and reduced maintenance needs.
  • Mimics the appearance of various traditional roofing materials.
  • Energy-efficient and eco-friendly
  • Wide range of styles, colors, and textures available.

Cons of Composite Shingles

  • More expensive upfront than asphalt shingles.
  • Less availability and fewer installation professionals.

Pros and Cons of Asphalt Shingles

Pros of Asphalt Shingles

  • Straightforward to install.
  • Less expensive than other roofing materials like metal, slate, and tile.
  • A vast array of sizes, colors, and finishes are available.

Cons of Asphalt Shingles

  • Asphalt shingles typically need replacement every 15-20 years.
  • Not as durable or impact-resistant as composite shingles.
  • Shorter lifespan (around 25-28 years).

Related article: Roof Decking Vs Sheathing: What Are The Differences?

Key Differences of Asphalt Shingles Vs. Composite Shingles

Let's dive into the major differences between asphalt shingles and composite shingles.

We'll explore various aspects like material, cost, lifespan, and more to help you make an informed decision.


Asphalt shingles combine fiberglass or organic material with a mixture of asphalt and mineral granules.

synthetic polymer

They are traditionally more popular with homeowners (for over 10 decades) due to lower cost and easy installation.

Composite shingles, on the other hand, are now increasingly becoming popular due to their strength and durability.

These are made from a blend of synthetic polymer and recycled materials designed to mimic cedar shake and slate roofs.

You might also like: Can I Paint Roof Shingles? [& How To]

Worker installing asphalt shingle roofing


Generally, asphalt shingles are more budget-friendly, with prices per square foot ranging from $4 to $8.

On the other hand, composite shingles might cost you a bit more, with prices ranging from $7 to $14 per square foot.

Lifespan & Durability

Asphalt shingles typically have a lifespan of 15 to 30 years.

Composite shingles, thanks to their more robust construction, can last from 30 to 50 years. So while they may cost more initially, they can save you money in the long run.

Resistance to Weather

Asphalt shingles can resist winds up to 90 mph, which is sufficient for most weather conditions.

Cutting composite asphalt shingle roofing

However, composite shingles are designed to withstand more extreme weather events, including hail, making them a popular choice in areas prone to harsh climates.

Energy Efficiency

Another perk of composite shingles is their energy efficiency.

They're better at reflecting solar heat than asphalt shingles, which can help keep your home cooler and reduce energy costs during hot summer months.

Curb Appeal

While both asphalt and composite shingles offer a variety of colors and designs, composite shingles tend to have a more refined and appealing look.

It comes down to the fact that composite shingles are designed to look exactly like cedar share and slate roofs - some of the best-looking roof systems.

Also read: 11 Roof Shingles Color Ideas And Options

Gray asphalt shingles installed at a roof


Due to their increased durability, composite shingles typically require less maintenance than asphalt shingles.

However, both shingle types may need to be inspected and repaired occasionally to ensure optimal performance.


Warranties for both asphalt and composite shingles depend on the manufacturer.

However, typically, composite shingles generally have longer warranties due to their increased durability, with most manufacturers offering a limited lifetime warranty.

Whereas asphalt shingles usually come with a prorated warranty of 30 years up to 50 years.

The Verdict: Which is Better - Composite or Asphalt Shingles?

After assessing the benefits and drawbacks of composite and asphalt shingles, the choice ultimately depends on your individual needs and preferences.

If you are looking for a more budget-friendly and readily available option, choose asphalt shingle roofing.

But if you prefer a more durable and energy-efficient roofing material, consider investing in composite roofing.

Both options have their unique advantages, and selecting the right roofing material for your home depends greatly on your specific needs, budget, and aesthetic preferences.

We would love to hear your thoughts on this topic!

Feel free to share your experience or any questions you may have in the comments below.

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