What are Fiberglass Shingles?
Fiberglass shingles are made of a woven fiberglass base mat, covered with a waterproof asphalt coating, and topped with ceramic granules that shield the shingles from harmful UV rays. Because of the composition of the fiberglass mat, less asphalt is needed to give the shingles their durability and strength, making them a lighter and more environmentally friendly option than traditional organic-mat asphalt shingles. Fiberglass roofing is a great option for your roof installation project because it is a tough and very resilient material that is non-porous, does not change shape, and won’t dry out.
Fiberglass Shingles vs. Asphalt Shingles
Fiberglass is a very popular roofing shingle type. They are a type of asphalt shingle, often compared to an organic mat asphalt shingle. Fiberglass shingles are different because they have a fiberglass mat while organic asphalt shingles use paper as the base. This makes them better water resistant, fire resistant, and work well in hot climates and often more expensive. Fiberglass shingles are less durable in extremely cold climates and are prone to damage when exposed to steady low temperatures.
As far as looks go, fiberglass and asphalt shingles are identical. You will see the biggest difference in prices, the cost of fiberglass shingles are more expensive than traditional asphalt shingle roofs. It may be helpful to speak to a roof contractor near you to determine which asphalt shingle is best for your budget.
Fiberglass Roofing Shingle Prices
Although fiberglass shingles tend to be a bit more expensive than basic asphalt shingles, they provide great value for your home. They can be applied directly over old shingles, saving you the expense of removing and hauling away your old roof. It is important to note though, if there are already two or more shingle layers on your existing roof, it is HIGHLY advisable to remove the old layers before applying new shingles.
You can expect new fiberglass roofing shingles installation to cost an average of $14,250 to $25,740 for a standard 3,000 square foot roof. This equals a cost per square foot of $4.75 to $8.60.
Compare this to $1.75 to $3.20 per square foot on average for basic asphalt shingles. However, fiberglass roofing is more weather-resistant and durable, and should have a longer lifespan.
How Long Do Fiberglass Shingle Roofs Last?
Fiberglass shingles can last anywhere from 25 to 50 years, while traditional asphalt shingles usually last a maximum of 15 years. If you install fiberglass roofing and go with a more expensive roofing brand you can expect a longer life expectancy, better durability, and longer warranties for your roof.
Types of Fiberglass Shingles
There are two types of fiberglass shingles as far as style goes that homeowners have installed. There are 3 tab fiberglass shingles which are the more affordable type of asphalt shingle. The more expensive tier fiberglass shingle is an architectural shingle roof which is the standard for high end homes, they create visually pleasing designs and can even be made to look like slate tile roofing or wood shake roofing at a fraction of the cost.
Are Fiberglass Shingles Right for Your Climate?
High Heat Climates
Manufacturer warranties currently guarantee fiberglass shingles for 15-30 years. The large variance in those warranties are typically based on climate, weather, and other environmental factors in your area. Homeowners in areas where their roofs will be enduring long summers with high heat like an asphalt roof in Austin, TX may need to replace roofing sooner than homeowners in cooler regions.
In areas known for severe winters, ice may aggravate tiny cracks and fissures. Algae and fungus growth can also be potentially damaging for roofing in perennially damp or subtropical areas. Algae-resistant shingles are available. The ceramic granules on the shingles are simply coated with leachable copper to prevent discoloration and long-term damage from algae and moss growth. Keep in mind though, this protective treatment can add 10 to 15% installation cost to your roofing materials budget.
Energy Efficient Fiberglass Roofing
Because fiberglass shingles contain less asphalt than organic mat-based shingles, and are easier to transport, they have a lower overall environmental impact. Fiberglass shingle manufacturers are also adopting energy-saving, cool-roof technology to help reduce the amount of heat absorbed by the roof. Look for shingles with Energy Star ratings and you can significantly reduce the cost of cooling your home in the hotter months.