An Expert Comparison of Fiberglass and Asphalt Roof Shingles
There are two types of asphalt shingles: fiberglass and organic. Both have an asphalt exterior, but the difference between the two lies in the base of the shingle. Fiberglass shingles have a fiberglass mat, while organic shingles have a mat made from some kind of wood product, usually paper.
Both types are available in architectural or three-tab styles. Architectural shingles have a heavier base mat and multiple layers of shingles, which makes for a multi-dimensional look. They are stronger and more attractive, yet more expensive. Three-tab shingles, which consist of a single flat layer, are cheaper and easier to install.
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Both types of asphalt shingles are among the most affordable roofing products. They’re available in a wide variety of colors and designs, they’re easy to install and they’re sold with long warranties. However, both products tend to be sensitive to weather. They can blow off in strong winds or fade and discolor in the sun.
How Much Do Fiberglass Roof Shingles Cost?
Most fiberglass shingles fall in the range of $60-$120 per square, not including installation. A square covers 100 square feet. On the low end of that price range, you’ll find 25-year shingles. On the high end, the shingles are often warrantied for life.
Some low-quality fiberglass shingles sell for less than $50. On the other end of the spectrum, some high-end products sell for $200 per square.
Installation costs vary dramatically based on the size of your roof, its pitch, the condition of the roof, the company you choose and local labor rates. Very generally, expect installation to cost an additional $80-$200 per square.
Removing old shingles usually costs an additional $80-$150 per square.
Fiberglass Roof Shingles Pros
- Lighter weight – Fiberglass shingles are thinner and lighter in weight, so they’re easier to carry and install. Because of this, professional installation tends to cost less. Fiberglass shingles are also easier to install as a DIY project.
- Better fire protection – Fiberglass shingles have a higher fire rating than organic-mat shingles.
- Less expensive – Fiberglass shingles cost slightly less.
- Environmental benefits – Because fiberglass shingles have less asphalt, they’re better for the environment.
Fiberglass Roof Shingles Cons
- Not as durable – Fiberglass shingles are not as heavy and rugged because they contain less asphalt. They won’t last as long.
- Not ideal for cold climates – Fiberglass shingles don’t perform as well as in cold climates.
Asphalt Roof Shingles Overview (Organic-mat asphalt shingles)
Of the two types of asphalt shingles, the organic-mat variety is far more common in colder climates because they contain slightly more asphalt, which makes them more more durable and weather resistant.
Like fiberglass, organic-mat shingles are affordable and long-lasting. They’re easy to install and they’re available in a wide variety of colors and designs.
How Much Do Asphalt Roof Shingles Cost?
Asphalt shingles cost slightly more than comparable fiberglass shingles, although the two products fall in the same general price range. In most cases, budget about $60-$120 per square for materials, $80-$200 per square for installation and $80-$150 per square for removal of the old shingles.
- For a 1,500-square-foot roof, the total cost for materials and installation would be $2,100-$4,800. That does not include removal of the old shingles, which might cost an additional $1,200-$2,250.
- For a roof with 2,500 square feet, materials and installation would fall in the range of $3,500-$8,000. Removal of the old shingles would add $2,000-$3,750.
Keep in mind that these prices are meant to be general estimates, not absolute figures. If your roof has a steep pitch or lots of dormers, for example, installation costs may be higher. Geographic location also has a major impact on price.
Asphalt Roof Shingles Pros
- More durable – Organic-mat shingles tend to last longer than fiberglass shingles because they contain more asphalt. They’re more rugged and more likely to stay put during severe storms.
- Better for cold climates – Organic-mat shingles perform much better in cold climates. If you live in a region with harsh winters, they’re highly recommended over fiberglass.
Asphalt Roof Shingles Cons
- Prone to warping – Organic-mat shingles absorb more water, so they’re more likely to warp.
- Heavier – Organic-mat shingles are heavier, which makes them more difficult to install.
- Inferior fire protection – Organic-mat shingles are not as highly rated for fire protection because they are usually paper-based.
- More expensive – Asphalt shingles are slightly more expensive.