In 1989, when I installed my first asphalt shingle, there were many changes in the roofing industry. The end result was to reduce the weight to accommodate a more flexible shingle. Old shingles in the US were known as asphalt roofing shingles or standard 3-tab shingles. At that time there were other shingles on the market known as standard asphalt composition shingles or architectural shingles called Timberline or heavy shingles known as random tab, and three tabs or standard were becoming composite shingles.
Older organic shingles were simply called number five crude oil asphalt shingles with the advent of the standard fiberglass strip composition shingle. Owens Corning helped innovate this process. Since they are the largest fiberglass manufacture in America today.
Many of the other shingles are made with fiberglass mats from Owens Corning. This was told to me directly by Owens Corning as a result of a factory visit on the anatomy of the shingle required by Owens Corning certification. Most of the old asphalt shingles have been ripped off and are now in landfills in the US.
New fiberglass composition shingles are the norm in today’s society. I know this because I am a professional contractor, not someone who hopes to be right in marketing, although marketing takes higher priority than anything else for any business model.
References are always the best just to let you know my feelings on the subject. I have personally installed many shingles in my life and have always known that the newest shingle should be considered composition due to the composite composition of the materials that have been mixed by the various manufacturers today in the USA.
If you find true asphalt shingles today, they are likely made in a third world country where resources are limited, the standard strip shingle was the first of this innovation followed by a multitude of various shingle brands. Any and all fiberglass shingles are considered composition shingles by most roofing professionals.
These composite asphalt shingles have fire resistance ratings, wind resistance warranties, and failure warranties based on fiberglass mat and asphalt fiberglass thickness, granules, and algae resistance ratios. Asphalt Composition Shingle is made to outlast older asphalt shingles to not support more weight than the asphalt roof structure can support in accordance with the ICC specification on structure weight bearing limitations and sections of the roof. The asphalt composition is lighter, more flexible and durable than the old asphalt shingle from 1989 and prior years.
GAF Elk is the largest asphalt roofing manufacturer in the US and has any brand in the world of asphalt roofing shingles. Owens Corning and CertainTeed carry a multitude of architectural, designer and standard strip roofing products. The same can be true for Atlas and Tamco, all of which make asphalt composition roofing shingles in the United States today.
GAF / Elk has the strongest warranties on its roofing materials for its certified roofing contractors and elite masters. I welcome any and all comments from CARE (Center for Advancement for Roofing Excellence) and the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association of America (ARMA), as well as any National Association of Roofing Contractors of America ( NRCA), Affiliate Members to correct my definition of the difference between Asphalt Roof Shingles and Composite Asphalt Roof Shingles.
There are roofing tiles that I have seen come and go, such as masonite tile, which is a composite material that requires flashing between each joint to seal it. There are also concrete tiles that I would consider composite since it does not have the attributes of slate or clay tile, known as concrete tile. There is also another material called Mira Vista which was a fake slate made by Owens Corning that would fall under the composite material which was made of a plastic or plasticizer type composite material.
In any case, it is up to you to decide what type of roof you would like to put on your home. All of the shingle manufacturers in the US are asphalt composition roofing shingles. All fiberglass asphalt composition shingles come with a 20 year lifetime warranty and anything in between.