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Basic Benefits of Asphalt Shingles

  • Wide array of color options, textures and styles
  • Cost effective – being very affordable; good value
  • Long life expextancy – durable
  • Easy to install; repair and maintain
  • Recyclability is a plus

What is the asphalt on your roof?

In the United States, asphalt shingles are predominately fiberglass-based. Fiberglass-based asphalt shingles are manufactured with mat composed entirely of glass fibers of varying lengths and orientations. This fiberglass base is then surfaced with a specially formulated asphalt coating, followed by weather-resistant mineral granules. Organic-based asphalt shingles are manufactured with a base (also termed mat or substrate) made of various cellulose fibers, such as recycled waste paper and wood fibers. This organic base is then saturated with a specially formulated asphalt coating and surfaced with weather resistant mineral granules. (1)

Types of Asphalt Shingles

Regular (3-tab) asphalt shingles have three regularly spaced asphalt tabs, giving the roofing material a very repetitive pattern. In contrast, dimensional shingles have two layers of shingle material bonded together, giving them a three dimensional appearance. Also known as Architectural or laminated roofing shingles, they are composed of a heavy fiberglass mat base and ceramic-coated mineral granules that are tightly embedded in carefully refined, water-resistant asphalt.

Underlayment (or “felt paper” as it is frequently called) is installed over the roof deck before the application of asphalt shingles. An underlayment performs two primary functions: it provides temporary weather protection until the asphalt shingles are installed, and it provides a secondary weatherproofing barrier if moisture infiltrates the asphalt shingles.

Asphalt shingles should meet standards established by ASTM International. (2)

  • Organic asphalt shingles should meet ASTM D225, “Standard Specification for Asphalt Shingles (Organic Felt) Surfaced With Mineral Granules.”
  • Fiberglass asphalt shingles should meet ASTM D3462, “Standard Specification for Asphalt Shingles Made from Glass Felt and Surfaced with Mineral Granules.”

Roofing Proficiency Sample Program

If you are running a lab for testing roofing asphalt, you may want to consider being a part of the Roofing Proficiency Sample Program.

How does the program work

  • Softening Point
    • Ring and Ball (ASTM D36) or Mettler Cup-and-Ball (ASTM D3461)
  • Cleveland Open Cup (COC) Flash Point (ASTM D92)
  • Penetration (ASTM D5) @ 0, 25, and 46°C
  • Ductility (ASTM D113)
  • Rotational Viscosity (ASTM D4402) @ 204°C
  • Stain Index (ASTM D2746)

After participating labs have submitted their results, the data is compiled and analyzed to determine the average and standard deviation for each sample and test. Based on the statistical analysis, outliers are identified and rankings are calculated.

Why participate in the program?

  • Compare results from your lab to other labs in your field
  • Identify equipment or procedural errors in a particular test
  • Improve precision estimates for standard tests and tighten testing procedures
  • Evaluate repeatability and reproducibility for new tests
  • Track lab performance over time by continued participation in successive programs

What do you receive?

Participants receive a summary report that shows data from their lab side-by-side compared with the average from all participating labs. Calculations using the average value and standard deviation are derived to provide a rating from 0 to 5 indicating how close your lab’s data is to the average value from all labs.

What is the timeline?

April – May

May – June

July – August

August – September

Call for participation in the program

Distribution of the samples

Return of test data

Analysis of data and generation of report(s)

For more information please contact Mike Anderson at manderson@asphaltinstitute.org.

Asphalt Magazine Links

ARMA Video Links


  1. Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association. For more information visit https://www.asphaltroofing.org/roofing-faqs 
  2. https://www.astm.org/catalogsearch/result/?q=roofing+standards