Asphalt Shingles vs. Composite Shingles

July 3, 2024

Shingles are the most popular roofing option in North America. But determining which type of shingles are right for you depends on your roof, budget, and tastes. To help you make a decision about your next roofing material, today the experts at PITCH Roofing are sharing all the differences between asphalt shingles vs. composite shingles.

While both these options are shingles, there’s a world of difference between them. These differences extend across material composition, durability, and cost. But don’t worry — we’re covering it all in this comprehensive asphalt and composite shingles guide!

Roofing Materials: Asphalt Shingles vs. Composite Shingles

Roofing Materials - Asphalt Shingles vs. Composite Shingles

Shingles come in many different forms, but their base components play a large role in how well these materials can protect your roof against the infamous Florida weather. As you weigh asphalt shingles vs. composite shingles, keep in mind their material composition and what it could mean for your roof!

Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles have a long history in Florida, and even today they’re the most popular roofing material in the Sunshine State. While they used to be flat and one-dimensional, today’s asphalt shingles have undergone many improvements in both durability and aesthetics.

But how are they made? Well, composition starts with a baseboard, usually one made of fiberglass. This is then coated in hot asphalt to provide impact resistance and waterproofing. Finally, the asphalt shingle is coated in protective stone granules, which help with both style and UV resistance.

For old asphalt shingles, that’s where the process stopped. But for high-quality architectural shingles, this process is repeated to give multiple layers. Not only does this offer double the weather resistance, but it also creates a dimensional, textured look that many homeowners love. And while we’re talking about aesthetics, asphalt shingles come in a wide range of colors, so there’s no limit to how you can customize your home.

Composite Shingles

Composite shingles are a newer arrival on the roofing scene, having first become popular in the 1980s. Nowadays, these shingles are famous for their ability to seamlessly replicate the look of shake or wood shingles without incurring sky-high roofing costs.

Also called synthetic shingles, composite shingles are made from a wide range of materials. These include recycled plastics, fiberglass, and various proprietary polymers. From there, the shingle usually receives various paints and coatings to make it match the exact color of whatever it’s trying to emulate. And since their base materials are much more affordable than cedar or slate, these shingles can offer the same luxurious aesthetics at a fraction of the price.

They’re not just pretty, though. Composite shingles are hardy and more than able to stand up to Florida’s storm season. In fact, their great UV resistance and wind resistance make them able to stand up to two of Florida’s biggest year-round roof killers.

Durability of Asphalt Shingles vs. Composite Shingles in Florida

Every environment brings its own challenges to roofing, and Florida has three big weather features that you’ll want to protect against: UV rays, high winds, and heavy rains. To help you plan your next roof replacement, let’s compare how asphalt and composite shingles hold up to local weather patterns!

Asphalt Shingles

As one of Florida’s favorite roofing materials, asphalt shingles do a great job standing up to the local elements. Some of their durability features include:

  • Wind Resistance: Quality architectural asphalt shingles usually offer wind ratings around 110 mph, which makes them able to withstand most storms and even hurricanes.
  • Fire Rating: Asphalt shingles have a Class A fire rating, meaning that they’re extremely unlikely to catch fire.
  • Water Resistance: Thanks to their thick asphalt coating, these shingles are very resistant to water. Thin, 3-tab shingles offer less protection, but with multiple layers, architectural shingles are unlikely to get soaked through even in the worst storms.
  • UV Resistance: Most modern asphalt shingles have a protective UV coating to help reflect the sun’s rays away from your home. However, this coating will likely break down with time, so older shingle roofs could be more vulnerable to sun damage. This can lead to cracking and breakage.

When you put all this together, you have a good, hardy shingle. But while these shingles are reasonably strong, they can’t last forever. Most asphalt shingle roofs will need replacing after 20-25 years. This is an important consideration when weighing asphalt shingles vs. composite shingles!

Composite Shingles

Thanks to their unique composition, composite shingles offer unmatched protection against the Florida elements. To prove it, let’s talk about some of their biggest weather resistance features:

  • Wind Resistance: Composite shingles have been approved for winds up to 130 mph. For reference, that’s equivalent to a Category 4 hurricane! In terms of wind resistance, there’s no better shingle roofing option.
  • Fire Rating: Like asphalt shingles, composite shingles also hold a Class A fire rating and do a great job resisting combustion.
  • Water Resistance: Thanks to the plastic and fiberglass in their composition, composite shingles are extremely unlikely to be damaged by rain. When installed properly, your rows of composite shingles should keep your roof safe and dry!
  • UV Resistance: Thanks to their protective coatings, composite shingles are well-suited to resist UV rays. However, like with asphalt shingles, this coating can degrade over time. Unlike asphalt shingles, however, composite shingles are unlikely to crack due to the sun’s rays and may instead lose some of their color. This can be somewhat unsightly, but it doesn’t usually ruin the shingle.

Thanks to all of these protective features, composite shingles are among some of the most durable roofing materials in Florida. When properly installed and maintained, they can last as long as 50 years. When it comes to longevity, there’s a clear winner between asphalt shingles vs. composite!

How Much Do Asphalt Shingles vs. Composite Shingles Cost?

How Much Do Asphalt Shingles vs. Composite Shingles Cost

We know that price is a big concern when comparing asphalt shingles vs. composite. While we don’t think that price should be the only factor when deciding on your next roof replacement, some roofing materials just aren’t in everyone’s budget. To help you make your decision, let’s talk about the cost of asphalt shingles vs. composite in Florida!

Asphalt Shingles

In addition to their great aesthetics and solid durability, there’s another factor that makes asphalt shingles the most popular roofing material in North America: its low price. In fact, across all roofing materials, asphalt shingles are one of the most affordable options.

So how much do they cost? Architectural shingles cost between four and nine dollars per square foot. So if your roof is 2,000 square feet, you’ll pay between $8,000 and $18,000 for your new asphalt shingle roof!

Technically, asphalt shingles can be even cheaper, with 3-tab asphalt shingles costing as little as two dollars per square foot. But these shingles are much more fragile, and since they rarely last more than 10-15 years in Florida, we don’t generally recommend them to homeowners.

Composite Shingles

Composite shingles are much more affordable than real cedar shake or slate roofing. But while they’re more affordable, there’s no denying that they cost substantially more than asphalt shingles.

In Florida, you can expect to pay between seven and fourteen dollars for composite shingles. Or, on a 2,000-square-foot roof, between $14,000 and $28,000 for a composite shingle roof replacement.

For homeowners who can afford it, composite roofing is a beautiful, durable roofing option. But sometimes it simply isn’t in the budget. That’s why knowing average shingle roofing costs is so important to deciding between asphalt shingles vs. composite!

Get a Free Estimate for Asphalt Shingles or Composite Shingles

Now that you’ve looked at asphalt shingles vs. composite shingles from all angles, you should be better prepared to make a final decision. But whether you’re totally sold on one option or you still have questions, Pitch is here to help you out.

To start the roof replacement process or get answers to your questions, all you need to do is set up your free, no-obligation shingle roofing estimate. From there, we’ll provide you with estimates for asphalt and/or composite shingles and answer any questions you have about these roofing materials.

You can schedule your free estimate by calling us at 727-607-4553, scheduling your free estimate online, or, if you already know what you want, you can set up an online-only roofing estimate that skips the roof inspection and prepares a customized estimate using satellite images of your home. No matter what works best for you, it’s our job to make roofing simple and hassle-free!