Fiberglass shingles are made from wet bonded fiberglass coated with a layer of asphalt that contains mineral fillers, which enhance the waterproof characteristics of the shingle. Architectural or laminate shingles are formed using two or more layers bonded with sealant and provide an aesthetically pleasing alternative to the traditional 3-tab shingle.
Fiberglass shingles have replaced organic shingles as the shingle of choice. Fiberglass shingles have a stronger fire resistance rating than organic shingles. The Under Writers Laboratories Test for Fire Resistance of Roof Covering Materials has rating classes of either A, B, or C. Fiberglass shingles are rated in category A, the highest rating class. Organic shingles, due to their paper composition, are rated in category C.
It is a common misconception due to the name that organic shingles are more environmentally friendly than fiberglass shingles. In actuality, organic shingles are worse for the environment as they are manufactured with a larger quantity of asphalt.