Composition roofs are affordable, versatile and durable. But what exactly are they? And are they appropriate for your home? Here’s what you should know about this common roofing option.

The Basics

Available in a variety of colors and designs, composition roofs are made of a mixture of several roofing materials such as recycled paper, fiberglass and asphalt. Each shingle includes a fiberglass sheet in the center. The fiberglass is coated with mineral fillers that adhere to the fiberglass. The shingles are then covered with asphalt to make them waterproof, and the top layer is coated with ceramic granules. 

Weather- and fire-resistant, composition roofs don’t usually develop common problems associated with moisture. Composite roofing also won’t split, crack, warp or peel. As an added bonus, you can find composite shingles that are specifically designed to be resistant to algae and mold growth. If damaged, composite shingles can easily be replaced individually. 

Pros and Cons

As with any roofing product, composite shingles have advantages and disadvantages, including: 


  • They are among the most cost-friendly roofing options
  • They come in a wide range of colors, styles and textures 
  • They can be made to resemble clay, wood shakes or slate at a cheaper cost 
  • Repairs are easier and cheaper since you can replace individual shingles
  • They are lighter than clay or slate tiles
composite roof installation
Composite roof installation


  • They will deteriorate over time, especially in extreme weather conditions such as intense heat or heavy storms
  • They need to be regularly maintained to preserve their lifespan
  • They are vulnerable to wildfires and high winds

Composite shingles generally aren’t particularly eco-friendly since asphalt shingles are made from petroleum. With that said, depending upon your final choice of roofing shingles, they can be a “green” option; some composite roofing consists of recyclable materials such as hemp fibers or post-industrial plastics. 

Types of Composition Roofing

While they do come in a variety of styles and colors, composition roofing generally falls into three major categories:

3-Tab Composition

The least expensive choices are called “3-Tab” shingles. This type of composition roofing has been intelligently refined over the years. It looks like a one-layer product with an unmistakable pattern of tabs. This pattern is created by vertical slots that are notched into the visible portion of each shingle, dividing the lower half of every shingle into three tabs. This particular type of composition roofing comes with manufacturers’ warranties that last 20 to 30 years.


Also known as dimensionals, laminates have become the most popular choice in composition roofing. They are a modern variant with key advantages over basic 3-Tab options. Laminate roofing has a second tabbed layer that is fused to a base shingle. This effectively doubles the material’s thickness. Laminates can be made to strongly resemble wood shakes and are available in a diverse range of colors. 

Premium Shingles 

Sometimes referred to as Grand Canyons, Presidential or Grand Sequoia, premium shingles are essentially a heavier Laminate. They represent the very best available composition shingles. They are bigger, heavier and thicker than standard Laminates. They also often incorporate extra features such as modified asphalts and moss retardants. Premium composition shingles come with manufacturers’ warranties that last from 50 years up to a lifetime.

Composite Roofing vs. Standard Asphalt Shingles 

Asphalt shingles are still currently the most common choice for shingles in the U.S., with composite shingles coming in a close second. While they share many traits, they also have some key differences. Composite roofing normally carries a longer warranty than ordinary asphalt shingles. They can also be manufactured to mimic the look of most roofing materials. Because it is lighter than asphalt shingles, composite roofing is generally easier to transport and install.

Need a new roof or help repairing weather-related damage? A to Z is ready to help. We’ve developed a widespread reputation as one of Colorado’s premier roofing contractors by providing reliable workmanship and attentive, honest customer service. Contact our attentive team to learn more.