Fiberglass Shingles

Asphalt shingles have been in use on North American roofs for over 100 years, and they have proven extremely popular because they are relatively inexpensive, especially when compared to older style roofs like slate and tile. Asphalt roofs are also easy to install and very long lasting. They are composed of an inner mat or felt, which is coated with asphalt and then covered with various substances such as mica, quartz or slate to strengthen the shingle and reflect the sunlight.

Shingles were initially manufactured with an asphalt saturated felt of previously living material, hence the reference to them as organic. Until the 1920s, this was cotton rag. When that became too expensive, cotton was replaced with wool, jute or wood pulp. Until the 1960s, all shingles were organic based, and most organic shingles today have a waste paper base. Fiberglass shingles were introduced at that time and overtook organic shingles in sales in the 1980s. An Ocean County roofing professional can fully explain the pros and cons of each type and assist with the choice of the most appropriate roof for any home.

Fiberglass shingles have a mat made of glass fibers mixed with formaldehyde resin and saturated with asphalt, before being coated in asphalt and embedded with sun-reflecting granules. Fiberglass shingles have a number of significant advantages over organic shingles. They are more fire resistant than organic shingles and will usually carry an A fire rating versus B for organic shingles.

Because of their composition, fiberglass shingles are available in a much broader range of colors and styles, many of which closely resemble higher end roofing materials. Perhaps most important to most homeowners, fiberglass shingles are generally 25 percent less expensive than organic ones and carry much longer warranties. Warranties for fiberglass shingles are often 30 years to a lifetime.

In spite of all the advantages, fiberglass shingles are not appropriate in every case. They are particularly susceptible to the cold and can become brittle. In colder areas, it is particularly important to inspect and maintain a fiberglass shingled roof after every winter to repair and replace and shingles that may have become damaged.

Fiberglass shingles are also less forgiving when it comes to installation, and they are not suitable for a do-it-yourself homeowner as even a slight lapse in installation can void the valuable warranty. Instead, a fiberglass shingled roof is best installed only by a professional roofer with extensive experience using this material. Any of the roofing contractors from Fortified Roofing of Ocean County can answer your questions about gutters or roof repairs.

Term explained by the expert roofing contractors from Fortified Roofing of Ocean County:


The name given to the inner core of an asphalt shingle. Originally made of cotton rag, this was subsequently replaced by wool, jute, or wood pulp. Since the 1960s, felt has been predominantly made of either organic waste paper or fiberglass, with fiberglass being more predominant today.

Ocean County roofing contractors answer a FAQ:

Should fiberglass shingles be used in very cold climates?

Fiberglass shingles can be used in cold climates, but the advice of a professional roofer is needed to assist with the decision. In general terms, fiberglass shingles are best in climates without huge swings in temperatures although this is becoming less of an issue than it used to be as the products are developed and improved.

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