Understanding Asphalt Shingles: A Detailed Guide for Florida Homeowners

Asphalt shingles, Brehm Roofing, Reroof, Roof replacement

As a professional roofing contractor doing work under the Florida sun, I’ve seen firsthand the crucial role roofing materials play in protecting your home. Today, I’ll dive deep into one of the most popular choices for residential roofing—asphalt shingles. We’ll explore their composition, origin, and the various types available in the market, particularly focusing on the preferred brands in Florida.

Asphalt Shingles: Composition and Origin

Asphalt shingles have been a staple in American roofing for over a century. They originated in the early 1900s as a cost-effective, durable alternative to other more expensive materials. Their primary components include a base mat, asphalt coating, and a surface layer of granules. The base mat was traditionally made from organic materials like wood fiber and felt but has largely shifted to fiberglass in recent decades due to its superior durability and fire resistance.

The asphalt coating applied over the base mat ensures waterproofing, while the ceramic-coated granules provide UV protection and give the shingles their color and texture. This structure not only offers excellent protection against the elements but also provides a range of aesthetic options for homeowners.

Types of Asphalt Shingles: Exploring Your Options

In the vast sea of asphalt shingles, three types stand out due to their unique characteristics and benefits: three-tab, architectural, and dimensional shingles. Understanding the distinctions between these can help homeowners make informed decisions based on their specific needs and budget constraints.

Three-Tab Shingles: The Economical Choice

Three-tab shingles are recognized for their simplistic and clean appearance. Each shingle strip has three individual tabs of equal size and shape, giving the roof a flat and uniform look. This type is the most economical and offers a straightforward installation process, making it a popular choice for budget-conscious homeowners. However, it generally has a shorter lifespan and lower wind resistance compared to other types.

Architectural Shingles: A Blend of Durability and Aesthetics

Also known as laminated or composite shingles, architectural shingles are characterized by their multi-dimensional texture and depth. They are made by laminating two shingles together, which not only enhances their aesthetic appeal but also increases their durability and lifespan. Architectural shingles are heavier than three-tab shingles, offering better resistance to wind and severe weather, which is a significant advantage in Florida’s often harsh climate.

Dimensional Shingles: The Premium Selection

Dimensional shingles, a subset of architectural shingles, are the top tier in asphalt roofing options. They are designed to mimic the look of natural slate or wooden shakes, providing an elegant appearance without the high cost and maintenance of natural materials. Dimensional shingles are constructed with two or more layers of shingles, creating a robust, thick, and durable roof covering. Their varied shapes and sizes contribute to a highly desirable and dramatic visual effect.

Preferred Asphalt Shingle Brands in Florida

In Florida, where the roofing material must withstand extreme weather conditions, choosing the right brand is as crucial as selecting the type of shingle. Here are some of the top asphalt shingle brands that have proven their worth in the challenging Florida climate:

Atlas Roofing Corporation

Atlas shingles are well-known for their durability and resistance to algae growth, a common problem in Florida’s humid environment. Their products offer advanced technology like the Scotchgard Protector, which helps preserve the roof’s appearance by preventing ugly black streaks caused by algae.


CertainTeed has established itself as a leader in the roofing industry with a wide range of shingle types. Their products are renowned for their superior quality, extensive warranty offerings, and excellent customer satisfaction records. CertainTeed shingles are particularly noted for their enhanced impact resistance, making them a smart choice for hurricane-prone areas.


As one of the largest roofing manufacturers in North America, GAF offers a variety of shingle types that are popular among Florida homeowners. Their Timberline series is particularly noteworthy, known for its superb durability and stunning aesthetic options.


IKO specializes in producing heavy-duty shingles that offer maximum protection against the elements. Their Cambridge and Dynasty lines are especially popular in Florida for its high wind resistance and distinctive shadow band that creates an eye-catching look.

Owens Corning

Owens Corning is celebrated for its innovative shingle technology and vibrant color options. Their Duration series shingles come with patented SureNail Technology, which provides excellent gripping power, crucial for withstanding high winds during storms.


Tamko shingles are admired for their remarkable longevity and robust construction. The Heritage series, in particular, offers varied shading and textures that enhance the aesthetic appeal of any home while providing reliable performance.

Conclusion: Choosing the Right Shingle for Your Florida Home

Selecting the right asphalt shingle type and brand for your Florida home involves balancing aesthetics, durability, budget, and specific local climate challenges. Whether you opt for the economical three-tab, the durable architectural, or the premium dimensional shingles, understanding the unique features and benefits of each will ensure that you make a choice that provides both beauty and long-term protection for your home.

As you consider your options, remember to take into account Florida’s unique environmental conditions. High winds, relentless sun, and heavy rain demand roofing materials that can endure without compromising on performance. Brands like Atlas, CertainTeed, GAF, IKO, Owens Corning, and Tamko have each tailored their products to meet these challenges, offering solutions that cater to a variety of needs and preferences.

When selecting asphalt shingles, consider not only the cost and visual appeal but also the warranty and the track record of the brand in your specific region. A well-chosen asphalt shingle roof can significantly enhance your home’s curb appeal, increase its value, and provide peace of mind through years of turbulent weather.

In closing, whether you are building a new home or replacing an old roof, asphalt shingles remain a compelling choice for homeowners in Florida. With a wide range of styles, from the economical three-tab shingles to high-end dimensional options, and a selection of reputable brands, you can find the perfect roofing solution that aligns with your aesthetic desires and practical requirements. Your roof is not just the crown of your home; it’s a critical investment in your home’s future resilience and aesthetic charm. Choose wisely, and your asphalt shingle roof will protect and beautify your home for many years to come.