Asphalt shingles have been a popular roofing choice since the early 1900s. However, several roofing innovations, including composite roof shingles, have been introduced since then. 

What Are Composite Roof Shingles? 

Materials like asphalt, slate, laminate, tar paper, wood and fiberglass make up composite shingles. By mixing these materials together, composite shingles can outperform many single-material alternatives. 

In addition, composite shingles can come from completely recycled material. They also can include additives that increase protection. Like asphalt, composite shingles are cost-effective and simple to install. They also have a range of other benefits. 

Benefits of Composite Roofing

Here are six of composite roofing’s biggest benefits: 

  • Durability and Longevity: These shingles can last around 30 to 50 years. For comparison, asphalt shingles last around 15 to 20 years. In addition, composite shingles resist splitting, cracking, deterioration and color fading. 
  • Color Options: Like vinyl roofing shingles, composite shingles come in a variety of colors and styles. They can fit almost every aesthetic you want. 
  • Impact Rating: These shingles have a Class 4 impact rating, so they stand up well to high winds, heavy rain, and hail damage. They’re also fabricated to resist fires, moisture and pests. 
  • Lower Environmental Impacts: As mentioned, some composite roof shingles are made entirely from recycled materials. Additionally, the shingles themselves are often recyclable. 
  • Lightweight: Composite shingles weigh about as much as asphalt shingles do. They’re easy to handle and don’t require any extra roof bracing. 
  • Cost-Effectiveness: At face value, these shingles are more expensive than asphalt ($450 per square compared to $150 per square, though costs vary by location). However, considering their long lifetime and low required maintenance, they’re often the most cost-effective long-term option. 

Disadvantages of Composite Roofing

Composite roofing has a few drawbacks. Perhaps the notable downside is cost. Composite roofing materials can cost up to 50% more than comparable fiberglass/asphalt shingles, which is due to the economy of scale in the roofing industry. Composite roofing will likely cost less in the future because it can employ recycled materials. At present, however, composite roofing doesn’t have the market share of traditional roofing materials, making manufacturing them more expensive.

Another common complaint from composite roofing owners is heat damage. Natural materials and even fiberglass/asphalt shingles allow heat to pass through, negating some of the damaging effects caused by inclement weather and UV rays. 

Some versions of composite roofing tend to require more ventilation to remain durable than normal materials because they’re not as porous. This effect varies from design to design, but synthetic slate and wood versions generally need more ventilation to maximize their effectiveness. 

When Should I Use Composite Roofing?

Composite roofing can be used anywhere common materials can be used. However, these synthetic products are usually more expensive, so most homeowners that choose composite roofing often plan to stay in the home for a while.

Composite roofing often lasts longer than common materials, so many manufacturers offer longer warranties. This makes them very attractive for homeowners seeking low-maintenance, long-lasting options. In contrast, most prospective home sellers needing a new roof opt for a standard fiberglass/asphalt version.

No matter what, do your homework if you’re considering composite shingles for your next roofing project. Check online reviews and word-of-mouth, and choose a quality company for the job. 

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