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Question DetailsAsked on 2/5/2016

Which is better, asphalt shingles or fiberglass shingles? in FL

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2 Answers

Voted Best Answer

ExteriorUpgrader is right - while in the "good old days" most asphalt shingles were asphalt impregnated wood fiber or even paper pulp mat, today most use fiberglass because it is more consistent in manufacturing properties, does not mold and stink in storage and manufacturing, and makes for a less absorbent and stronger shingle. These shingles are now called composition or asphalt composition shingles.

The other type you are probably talking about is fiberglass shingles - made totally of fiberglass.

Pluses and minuses - fiberglass ones tend to degrade in sunlight so some bad history in very sunny areas like yours - ditto with splitting at the fasteners as they are driven. They are generally much stronger so do not fold back and crack off in hurricanes/tornadoes, but when they do catch the wind under them because they cannot fold back they tend to tear off more commonly, and because of their rigidity you tend to get "progrerssive stripping" where the lower shingles lift up the rigid overlying ones which pull free and lift the next row and such, so your tearoff areas once it starts tend to be larger and stretch from the starting point up to the peak of the roof. However, with proper fasteners, because of their generally greater strength they tend to stay down better than the composition which tend to pull off the fasteners.

Fiberglass generally resists mold and algae growth much better, but also breaks underfoot more readily in general, so that is a consideration if you have to walk on the roof for cleaning periodically. Also more slippery so dangerous to walk on, especially if damp or leaves on it.

The life issue is still out to the jury - pure fiberglass ones have not been around long enough (ignoring the early years where they were overcoming production issues) to tell if they will last longer than composition - theoretically they should.

Given two shingles - fiberglass and composition - of equal wind/hurricane rating, theoretically the fiberglass one should have longer durability. Personally, in most of Florida (hurricane/tornado country) I would use neither - I would go with heavy-gage metal shingles or tightly fastened down lock-seam raised seam metal roofing on significantly sloping roofs.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD


Well a tricky question, because asphalt shingles are fiberglass shingles. The starting point for most asphalt shingles today is a fiberglass mat. It is a mesh either randomly or engineered mesh that is made out of fiberglass. then it is ran through a machine that basically covers/coats it in molten asphalt. Then once coated the small stone granules are dispersed onto the shingle giving the shingle it's appearance and its durability of stone. Some of the better shingles even add granules that have copper added as an algaecide. This helps eliminate the black streaks that deteriorate the look of your home from algae.

Hope this helps.

Exterior Upgrader is owner of

Euro-Tech, Inc.

Servicing much of Illinois and Wisconsin


Answered 4 years ago by ExteriorUpgrader


Here are some related questions with many answers on choosing between different roofing types, and some ballpark cost factors on non-asphalt alternatives FYI - more in the links in the answers and in the Home > Roofing link in Browse Projects, at lower left.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD

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