Asphalt vs Fiberglass Shingles: A Comparative Guide

asphalt vs fiberglass shingles

If you’re looking for a new roof, there’s a good chance you’re considering the ever-popular asphalt shingle. 

These dependable roofing materials are affordable, long-lasting, and they’re even becoming more eco-friendly. They’re available in any color to match your style, and you won’t have to worry about a complicated installation. 

Asphalt is a safe choice, but it’s also not the last choice you have to make when you’re picking out a new roof.

Once you decide on asphalt, you’ll have to compare organic asphalt vs fiberglass shingles, and that’s where it’s easy for many homeowners to slip up. It may seem like a can’t-miss decision, but the two constructions have distinct benefits. If you’re not careful, you may miss out on the best roof shingles for your home.

When you know the benefits of asphalt and fiberglass roof shingles, the right fit will become clear. We’ll tell you everything there is to know to get the performance you need out of your next roofing installation.

What Are Asphalt Shingles?

Organic asphalt shingles and fiberglass shingles are similar in many ways. They both consist of a base material coated with asphalt and then topped with ceramic-coated granules. The mineral coating provides color, durability, and UV protection. 

The main difference between asphalt shingles and fiberglass shingles is the base layer.

Asphalt shingles use an organic mat as the base, usually a wood product like paper or cellulose. Organic asphalt shingles use about 40% more asphalt than fiberglass shingles. As a result, they’re much thicker and heavier.

Benefits of Asphalt Shingles

Organic asphalt is an older construction, so you may think that fiberglass will be better across the board. But due to the heavier and thicker build, asphalt shingles are good roofing options for a few reasons.


The lifespan of your roof under ideal conditions will be around 20 years. Fiberglass and organic asphalt options will both get you there, but the thicker layering of asphalt on organic shingles makes them more durable.

In mild year-round climates, you can expect a similar life out of both asphalt and fiberglass. Once you get into harsher weather, the heavier and more durable asphalt shingle will hold up better. Severe storms, cold weather, high winds, and driving rain won’t displace or damage them as easily as fiberglass.

Drawbacks of Asphalt Shingles

Because they use more asphalt, organic asphalt roofing materials are not as environmentally friendly as fiberglass. The material usage also makes them more expensive than fiberglass shingles. More so than the amount of asphalt, the organic mat is detrimental in several performance aspects.

Prone to Fire Damage

Organic paper bases of asphalt shingles are not fire-resistant like fiberglass shingles. They’ll usually have a lower fire class rating out of the box than fiberglass.

Some older organic shingles contain asbestos to increase their fire resistance. But if your shingles are old enough to have asbestos, they’re likely due for a change by now.

Asphalt shingles will usually have a Class B or C fire rating. Manufacturers offer certain models designed for better heat resistance. You can further improve the fire-retardance of your organic asphalt roof through special underlayments.

Prone to Warping

The paper backing on organic shingles absorbs moisture unlike fiberglass, so you’ll have more issues with warping. Moisture absorption may also contribute to faster algae, fungus, and mold growth. There are shingles designed to limit organic growth if that’s a concern for your home.

What Are Fiberglass Shingles?

Fiberglass shingles are newer roofing options and a viable upgrade to organic asphalt in most circumstances. The base is made up of woven fiberglass strands bonded by resins. It’s then coated with a thin layer of asphalt and a mineral coating.

These shingles are similar to asphalt shingles in many ways, and they look virtually identical. You can often change roofing sections from organic asphalt to fiberglass without being able to tell the difference. But by offering similar performance with a fraction of the asphalt, there are several advantages of fiberglass roof shingles over the alternative.

Benefits of Fiberglass Shingles

Fiberglass shingles are lighter because they use less material. That makes them not only better for the environment and your wallet but also much easier to install than asphalt shingles. It’s all thanks to the fiberglass base, which is a potent upgrade to wood-based mat.

Better Fire Rating

Fiberglass shingles have a Class A fire rating, making them the best roof shingles in high-heat climates. Like organic asphalt, there are other treatments you can do to the roof to increase fire resistance, but fiberglass will offer better performance right out of the package.

Drawbacks of Fiberglass Shingles

The light weight of fiberglass shingles is a double-edged sword. It’s easy to install, but the thin profile can have significant disadvantages depending on the weather in your region.

In areas with high wind, there’s a greater possibility of fiberglass shingles failing. At the same time, the thin material makes the shingles more brittle in cold weather, leaving them open to damage.

When to Use Asphalt vs Fiberglass Shingles

If you live in hot or mild climates, fiberglass shingles will give you the best performance and longevity for your money. They’ll be the easiest to install and the less expensive option. In certain areas that are more susceptible to dry heat like Arizona and California, the fire resistance makes it the best choice.

Asphalt shingles are the better option when you need resilience in different weather conditions. If you experience extreme cold or heavy wind in your area, sticking with heavier asphalt will get you more years out of your roof.

Choose Your New Roof with Confidence

Comparing asphalt vs fiberglass shingles isn’t complicated, but it is necessary. Following these tips will give you peace of mind in knowing that you’re getting the best value for your money.

The experts at Innovative Roofing strive to make every roofing project a success. From honest advice to attentive service, our goal is to be the trusted resource for all of your roofing needs. Contact us today to discuss how we can help you accomplish your goals.

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1254 SW 6th Street,
Pompano Beach FL 33069

(855) 455-6063

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“I work with a lot of contractors as a real estate broker. There are a few that stand out. It is very hard to find a company that does great work at a fair price – and – has outstanding communication and customer service. Brett and Innovative Roofing is one of those rare breeds. They have earned a reputation as being one of the best in the business as it has been earned through great work. I received a reply from them on a Saturday and that put them over the top in customer service – such a rarity.”

Doug L. Boca Raton, FL