Asphalt shingles are a very popular roof material on American homes. First used in 1901, asphalt shingles are durable, affordable and come in a variety of textures and colors.
Organic base shingles are made of roofing felt or paper saturated with asphalt, making them waterproof. Fiberglass base shingles have glass and fiber with asphalt on top to make them waterproof as well. They are then covered in mineral granules for a wear surface. Organic shingles are most durable but can be prone to fire. They are less environmentally "friendly" since more asphalt goes into them during manufacturing. If you’re concerned about fire consider installing fiberglass shingles.
Styles of asphalt shingles basically come in two varieties, the "strip" shingle and the "dimensional laminated" shingle. The strip shingle is a strip of shingle material (usually 3 times the length to height in proportion) with cutouts or tabs. The most common strip shingle is the 3-tab strip shingle. The dimensional laminated shingle has multiple layers of tabs to create a texture and dimension to the shingle.
Maintenance Required: Initially asphalt shingles will not require much maintenance. However, over time roof maintenance will be required as the shingles can curl, crack and be subject to granule erosion. They may also be subject to environmental damage from mold, algae and fungus if in a shady or wooded location.
Life Expectancy: The range of life span for asphalt shingles varies considerably depending on the quality of the shingle, but properly installed, asphalt shingles can last 15 to 40+ years.
Cost: Asphalt shingles can range from $180 (for strip shingles) to $400 (for dimensional laminated shingles) per square (100 square feet of roof area) furnished and installed in 2016 dollars.