What Is a Composition Roof?

By Mark Soto 10-13-2022
Tag Icon

Composition roofs are one of the most widely used roofing options due to their versatility and range of design styles. They are typically referred to as asphalt-shingle roofs. You can install them on almost any type of steep-slope dwelling and they're cost-effective, so you don't have to break the bank! Despite their affordability, they don't lose anything in terms of offering excellent protection for your most valuable asset — your home.

What Is a Composition Roof?

Composition roofs are made up of shingles created from a combination of materials that typically include fiberglass, asphalt, and granules. The fiberglass serves as the foundation while the asphalt coating provides water resistance. The granules help protect your roof from UV rays and give it color. The shingles sometimes also contain technologies that help protect the roof against blue-green algae discoloration. It's one of the most affordable roof options and allows owners to choose from a broad range of styles and colors.

Types of Composition Roof

There are three main types of composition roof, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.

  1. The three-tab shingle option is typically the least expensive. It gets its name from the appearance of three cutouts on each shingle. These attractive shingles come with 25–30 year limited warranties.
  2. Architectural shingles are are constructed using multiple layers that are laminated together, they're thicker than standard three-tab shingles and come in different patterns, making the roof look more dimensional. However, they also cost more!
  3. Lastly, designer shingles are manufactured to look like shakes or slates to create a particularly classy roof aesthetic. The designer look can come with a slightly higher price tag meaning these shingles are usually the most expensive among the options available.

Benefits of a Composition Roof

Composition roofs are one of the most affordable roof options you can find. Less expensive than other popular construction materials like metal, tile or slate, they're also easy and quick to install.

When it comes to choosing how your roof looks, you can choose from among a wide variety of styles, colors, and textures. For example, you can select a shingle with a slate look without the added cost.

Composition shingle roofs also provide excellent protection in a variety of climate zones and weather conditions, including snow, rain, and wind.

Overall, composition roofs are a cost-effective choice that typically provide good limited warranty coverage. For example, GAF Lifetime* Shingles come with a Lifetime Limited Warranty* against manufacturing defects.

Is a Composition Roof Right for Me?

Compared to other roof types like metal or cedar roofs, composition roofs typically cost less and are easy to maintain. These factors, along with the range of styles and colors available make them an excellent option for budget-minded property owners. As always, no matter how straightforward-seeming a roofing project can be, it's always a good idea to hire a professional — such as a trusted contractor certified by GAF** — to install your new roof properly.

*Lifetime refers to the length of warranty coverage provided and means as long as the original individual owner(s) of a single-family detached residence [or eligible second owner(s)] owns the property where the qualifying GAF products are installed. For other owners/structures, Lifetime coverage is not applicable. Lifetime coverage on shingles requires the use of GAF Lifetime Shingles only. See the GAF Shingle & Accessory Limited Warranty for complete coverage and restrictions. Visit gaf.com/LRS for qualifying GAF products.

**Contractors enrolled in GAF certification programs are not employees or agents of GAF, and GAF does not control or otherwise supervise these independent businesses. Contractors may have agreed that they will use GAF roofing products, and may receive benefits, such as loyalty rewards points and discounts on marketing tools from GAF for participating in the program.

Mark Soto is a freelance writer from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He has comprehensive knowledge of home improvement projects based on his previous work. Mark comes from a family of DIYers and has worked with landscapers, plumbers, painters and other contractors. He also writes about camping and his enthusiasm for the outdoors.
Don't miss another GAF RoofViews post!
Hurricane Ian was the deadliest to strike Florida since the famously catastrophic 1935 Labor Day hurricane. With wind speeds that reached 150 mph, the 2022 hurricane left a trail of profound devastation—and the people caught in that trail are now fighting to rebound and rebuild. Leveraging the combined expertise and resources of GAF and Standard Logistics to assist affected locals, GAF is proud to be part of the efforts to provide relief to those who need it most.
As the winter season approaches, decorating your home with lights is a classic way to show your holiday spirit. However, there are right and wrong ways to go about this (National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, anyone?)—and, depending on your roof, the correct ones may not always be easy to accomplish on your own. To help, here are five tips to simplify your annual holiday light installation so you can make your home merry and bright without damaging the roof — or yourself!
Architects strive to achieve a roof design that strikes a delicate balance between aesthetics and performance. Achieving high-performance means incorporating the code, warranty, and guarantee requirements that building owners must meet — among the most important factors of any construction project — into design vision. This isn't made any easier by the sheer number of roofing systems available. Even experienced architects can find it challenging to get familiar with all available components and positively identify which materials are going to deliver the ultimate protection for the building.
As Erasmo "Mitos" Fuentes — GAF CARE Team Training Lead and highly respected "Maestro" of the roofing world — will warn rookies, errors during installation can have consequences later on in the life of the roofing system. Many are minor, like small leaks. Others, though, can be much more serious, such as major (and potentially catastrophic) cracks.
A harsh storm can cause all kinds of damage to your home, especially its roof. While some roof problems are obviously visible, others aren't as simple to spot. Whether you can see them or not, fixing any issues that pop up in the aftermath of a storm helps keep your home safe from further harm. With strong storms come sharp winds, hail, and heavy rain that can damage shingles, gutters, flashing, and other areas.
About 82% of homes in the United States have outdoor living areas—many with low-slope roofs. That's nearly 6 million homes that could feature a self-adhered roofing system. Are you taking advantage of the opportunities that these porches, sheds, garages, and carports represent?
This blog contains information created by a variety of sources, including internal and third party writers. The opinions and views expressed do not necessarily represent those of GAF. The content is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute financial, accounting, tax or legal advice. GAF does not guarantee the accuracy, reliability, and completeness of the information. In no event shall GAF be held responsible or liable for errors or omissions in the content or for the results, damages or losses caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on the content.

Interested in sharing or republishing our content? We kindly ask you to adhere to our guidelines.