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What is a Composition Roof? (or Composition Shingle Roof)

What is a Composition Roof? (or Composition Shingle Roof)

Early in your roofing process, as you’re doing your research to find out what roofing material is the right one for your home, you’re likely coming across a number of different sources, all of which might be using different terminology. 

One such term that you may run across is a composition roof, which is commonly used when discussing roofing materials, in the same vein as standing seam metal roofs, and cedar shake roofs. 

In order for you to make a decision about what kind of roof you’re looking to put on your home, you need to know the ins and outs of what each term means, and how that kind of roofing material could play into your roof replacement. 

In this blog, we’ll be discussing: 

If you’re ready to jump into it, let’s get started!

What is a Composition Roof?

Composition Roofs are roofs that use shingles made from a composition of asphalt, fiberglass, and granules. If that sounds familiar, it’s because it really is just another term for an asphalt shingle roof, which we use far more frequently.

That being said, it’s still important to know, because homeowner’s insurance companies often say “composition roof” when referring to asphalt shingles on a storm damage claim. 

Asphalt composite roof shingles are made by covering a fiberglass mat with layers of asphalt, before coating that with protective granules, and then adding any additional layers if the design calls for it. 

There are three main types of composite roof shingles, which we’ll break down in more detail in the next section. Those are three-tab, architectural, and luxury shingles. The costs for this kind of roof will depend greatly on which kind of shingle you choose, and the size of your roof. If you’re looking for a solid range though, most composition roof replacements cost between $8,000 and $20,000, with the majority sitting around $10,000 to $12,000. 

architectural shingle roof_WebP-1


The choice of shingle will also affect how long your composition roof lasts before some serious problems pop up. Three-tab shingles will usually get around 15-20 years of solid protection, while architectural shingles can usually go 25-30 years, with luxury shingles sitting around that 30-year mark as well. 


Types of Composite Roof Shingles

Three-Tab Shingles_WebP

If you’re looking for the least expensive kind of composite shingle, and roofing material overall, the three-tab asphalt shingle is your best bet. They consist of a single-ply of asphalt, and have a fairly uniform, flat, blocky look. For a long time, these were the most commonly used type of composite roofing material, because of their price, which currently sits at around $90 per square. They also have a pretty short lifespan in comparison to other roofing materials, getting to around 15-20 years before they start showing signs of damage. 

In the lower-middle end of the shingle price scale, you’ll find architectural shingles. They cost a little more than three tabs, at around $105 per square. Architectural shingles also are a bit more durable, typically lasting 25-30 years in normal conditions. This composite roofing material features a two-ply design, which in addition to increasing the level of protection, also creates a more textured appearance on the roof.

At the top end, Luxury shingles are truly a luxury product, costing $180 per square. They are a three-ply shingle, which significantly increases their weight, and the ability for manufacturers to get creative with designs. Though there is an increase in wind resistance and durability over architectural shingles, their longevity is close to the same, getting around 30 years of life. 

How Much Does a Composition Roof Cost?

Dimensional Shingle Roof

In order to know how much a composition roof replacement actually will cost you, you’d need to get an assessment done by a roofing company. But without having that done, we can give you a pretty solid estimate for average sized homes. Like we talked about in the intro, roof replacements typically cost $8,000 to $20,000 for average sized homes. 


Three-tab shingles will be on the lower end there, usually ending up at around $7,500-$8,500. Architectural shingle roof replacements usually cost between $9,000 and $14,000, depending on how big and complex the roof is. That leaves luxury shingles then, which we often see costing a couple thousand extra dollars over architectural shingles. 

How Long Does a Composition Roof Last?Dimensional Shingle Roofs_WebP

The longevity of your composition asphalt roof will depend largely on which type of shingle you choose for your home, and the weather conditions in the area you live. If you are in a climate that is prone to heavy snows or storms, then your roof likely won’t last quite as long as someone in a more mild climate. 

If your home has three-tab shingles on it, you can probably expect it to last between 15 and 20 years, while architectural shingles will last between 25 and 30 years. Luxury shingles, with the price they have attached to them, don’t have much of an increase in lifespan, usually only getting around 30 years. 

Want to learn more about Asphalt Roofs?

Now that you’ve learned a little bit more about composite roofing materials, what other questions do you have surrounding the roofing material topic?

If you’re curious about more asphalt roofing, check out our blog on the Best Asphalt Shingles in 2022! Also, if you’re thinking about getting a metal roof, read our article on standing seam vs screw-down metal roofs!

On Tops Roofing has been replacing and repairing roofs in the Raleigh, NC area since 1991! Whatever your roofing project requires, we’ve got the experience to handle it!

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