Asphalt Shingles vs Fiberglass Shingles

Finding a suitable roofing material can be challenging with so many options available. Asphalt and fiberglass are popular choices for homeowners. To help you make an informed decision, Republic Roofing wrote this blog post, asphalt shingles vs fiberglass shingles to compare the two, discussing their different aspects.


Composition of Asphalt and Fiberglass Shingles

Asphalt Shingles

A typical asphalt roof consists of a base made of organic materials (such as cellulose fibers) or fiberglass mat, followed by a coating of asphalt and a top coating of mineral granules. A fiberglass-based asphalt shingle is lighter and less fire-resistant than an organic-based shingle.

Fiberglass Shingles

The fiberglass mat base of fiberglass shingles is topped with asphalt and mineral granules, as their name implies. Asphalt and fiberglass shingles differ mainly in their base material.

Appearance and Design

Asphalt Shingles

Several styles, colors, and designs of asphalt shingles allow homeowners to match their home architecture and preferences with their roofs. Shingles come in three types: 3-tabs, architectural, and luxury shingles. 3-tabs are traditional and affordable, while luxury and dimensional shingles have added aesthetic appeal.

Fiberglass Shingles

With the same style, color, and design options as asphalt shingles, fiberglass shingles give homeowners similar customization options. They are virtually indistinguishable from asphalt shingles in appearance and design options, so it’s hard to tell them apart.

Durability and Lifespan

Asphalt Shingles

Climate, installation quality, and maintenance determine the lifespan of asphalt shingles. Fiberglass-based asphalt shingles are more resistant to fire and algae growth than organic-based shingles.

Fiberglass Shingles

Since fiberglass shingles are resistant to moisture, fire, and algae growth, they typically last between 30 and 50 years. Over time, they maintain their shape and structural integrity better, making them more durable.

Installation and Maintenance

Asphalt Shingles

Installing asphalt shingles is relatively easy, making them popular with DIYers and contractors. Installation is simple and requires minimal maintenance, occasional inspection, cleaning, and repairs. In extreme temperatures and weather conditions, however, they can curl and buckle over time.

Fiberglass Shingles

Asphalt shingles and fiberglass shingles have similar installation and maintenance procedures. To be installed on a variety of roof pitches and shapes, fiberglass shingles require occasional inspections, cleaning, and repairs. Fiberglass shingles are less likely to curl and buckle and may need less frequent maintenance.

Energy Efficiency and Environmental Impact

Asphalt Shingles

Due to their tendency to absorb heat, asphalt shingles are relatively low energy efficient. However, lighter-colored shingles help reflect some of the sun’s heat and make your home more energy efficient. Asphalt shingles are less eco-friendly than other roofing options due to their waste and greenhouse gas emissions.

Fiberglass Shingles

Fiberglass shingles are usually more energy efficient than asphalt shingles because they reflect the sun’s heat and keep homes cool during the summer. Also, they last longer, so they don’t need to replace them so often, reducing waste. Nonetheless, some environmental concerns remain, such as how fiberglass materials are disposed of.

Cost and Affordability

Asphalt Shingles

Homeowners who are on a budget choose asphalt shingles because of their affordability. Asphalt shingles are available in a variety of styles and quality levels.

Fiberglass Shingles

The higher upfront cost of fiberglass shingles may still deter some homeowners, but their longer lifespan and lower maintenance costs make these shingles more cost-effective in the long run.


Before selecting asphalt or fiberglass shingles, you should consider your priorities, budget, and preferences. If you want affordability and ease of installation, asphalt shingles are a better choice, while fiberglass shingles are more durable, energy-efficient, and have a longer lifespan. Before deciding, it is essential to consider your specific needs.

For more information, contact Republic Roofing at 901-437-5278. We service areas in Lakeland, Germantown, Bartlett, Memphis, and Collierville, TN.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any significant differences in appearance between asphalt and fiberglass shingles? 

It is virtually impossible to distinguish asphalt and fiberglass shingles because they are available in many styles, colors, and designs.

Can I install fiberglass shingles over my existing asphalt shingles?

 A fiberglass roof can be installed over existing asphalt roofs, but this isn’t recommended due to its extra weight and structural risk. It is best to consult with a professional roofer before proceeding.

Are there any special maintenance requirements for fiberglass shingles compared to asphalt shingles? 

A fiberglass roof requires similar maintenance to an asphalt roof. Both require occasional inspections and cleaning. Due to their increased durability and resistance to curling and buckling, fiberglass shingles may need less frequent maintenance.

Do fiberglass shingles provide better insulation than asphalt shingles? 

In hot weather, fiberglass shingles keep homes cooler because they reflect the sun’s heat better than asphalt shingles. However, proper attic insulation and ventilation can make both shingles more energy efficient.

Which type of shingle is more eco-friendly: asphalt or fiberglass? 

Regarding environmental impact, fiberglass shingles have some advantages over asphalt shingles, despite neither being the most eco-friendly option. They last longer, which reduces waste by reducing replacements. Fiberglass shingles are also more energy efficient, reducing carbon dioxide emissions and energy consumption. The production and disposal of garbage still pose environmental concerns for both types of shingles.