When deciding to roof your house, there are two types of shingles that you can choose between composite shingles and dimensional shingles. Most people select composite shingles because they are usually cheaper.
Although composite shingles are the most common types of shingles in the market, as of late, dimensional shingles have been starting to grow up in popularity, despite the higher price. This is because of the higher quality and safety that dimensional shingles offer, as well as because of the custom look they give when installed.
There are two types of dimensional shingles. Organic dimensional shingles and fiberglass dimensional shingles. Despite the name, there are not any organic dimensional shingles anymore, because of the fire hazard they represented, as they burned very easily. In fact, most countries legislations forbid the use of wooden singles anymore, although they allow houses of buildings to keep them if they installed them before the law was enacted.
Instead, organic dimensional shingles refer to those manufactured from recycled paper (yet another reason to recycle used paper) and wood fibers made into a cellulose fiber. This base is then saturated with asphalt (and that is why they are sometimes called asphalt shingles as well), and then given a mineral coating. This coating is meant to give the shingle resistance to weather and impacts. The material is also not flammable, so that is another advantage in case of fire.
Fiberglass dimensional shingles are very similar, except that they core materials is fiberglass, instead of cellulose fiber made of recycled materials. This makes them more flexible and resistant, but the price is higher, since it is not made of recycled materials. However, it really makes no difference if you live in a place where the weather is mild or there is not a strong wind.
However, unlike composition shingles, dimensional shingles are much thicker. This makes them even stronger and more resistant. In addition, the extra layers can be sculpted to make them have a customized look, or to resemble classic materials, such a stone or wood. In fact, this is the reason why most dimensional shingles are bought. They are more expensive because of the material involved as well as because they require a more difficult process. However, if you are willing to pay the money in order to have a classical look in your house, there is nothing that can beat them.
It is always better to hire someone to install them, much preferably one of the certified contractors of the brand you are buying, since doing so usually gives you a really long guarantee, in the range of 40 years or so. They are usually more expensive than other contractors but they are worth it in the long run.