In most countries, when it comes to roofing your house, there are only two types of shingles you can choose from, composite shingles and dimentional shingles. Composite shingles are usually cheaper, so most people buy them.
However, in the last years, (and just a little before the recession hit), dimetional shingles have been growing in popularity, despite the higher price. There are a few reasons for this, but mainly it is because they look much better, since their thickness allows manufacturers to give dimentional shingles a customized look or a look that makes them seem like they are made of wood or some other classic material.
Depending on the material that dimentional shingles are built from, there are two types of dimentional shingles: organic and fiberglass. There are still some places that sell wooden dimentional shingles, but they are not really advisable, as they burn much more easily and thus represent a fire hazard.
Organic dimentional shingles refer to shingles made of recycled material, which is paper, wood fibers, or both. These materials are then mixed into a cellulose fiber, which is then saturated with asphalt. After this paste is done, it is coated with minerals, which is meant to give it resistance to fire, weather and impacts.
Fiberglass dimentional shingles are produced in a very similar way, except that the base material that is used is fiberglass. Because fiberglass has to be produced, instead of coming out of recycled material, it makes the dimentional shingle more expensive. However, it has the advantage of making the shingle more resistant and flexible, which is why it is preferred for long term applications.
Regardless of their composition, dimentional shingles are much thicker than composition shingles. Because of this, they are more resistant to impacts and weather. However, the real advantage of dimetional shingles thickness is that it allows them to be carved in several ways. This carving allows designers to give dimentional shingles much more varied looks and colors, as well as to imitate other type of materials, like wood and stone. Of course, because of the more complex process involved and the bigger quantity of material uses, these dimentional shingles are as a result, more expensive than composition shingles.
As a final note, if you buy dimentional shingles, it is better to hire a contractor backed by the brand from which you bought the shingles. This is because in order to give a guarantee, most brands will require you to use their licensed contractors. While this might be more expensive, it will assure you a proper installation of your shingles, and you can forget about paying for any defect for the following 40 years.