The first decision homeowners make is whether to use basic three-tab shingles, or upgrade to an architectural style shingle. There are significant differences between these two types of shingles.
WHAT ARE THREE-TAB SHINGLES?
Basic three-tab asphalt shingles are widely used and provide solid performance at a budget-friendly price point. In this type of asphalt roofing material, each shingle is cut into three equal-sized “tabs”—the exposed portion of the shingle that you can see once it is installed. Every shingle is identical in size, shape and thickness, resulting in a uniform appearance.
WHAT ARE ARCHITECTURAL SHINGLES?
Architectural shingles, sometimes called dimensional shingles or laminate shingles, are visually distinctive and give a more sophisticated appearance to the roof. This shingle is not cut into tabs, but has pieces of additional asphalt in varying widths laminated to the shingle with an asphalt sealant. This creates an intentional variation in thickness and color shading, which mimics the irregular shadows and random sizes that are characteristic of a wood shake or slate roof. Architectural shingles are thicker, and can weigh 50% more than 3-tab shingles.
THE PROS AND CONS OF THREE-TAB AND ARCHITECTURAL SHINGLES
- Both types of shingles are available in an array of colors to complement your home. However, due to the way architectural shingles are manufactured, they come in a wider variety of shading, texture, and shape options.
- A three-tab shingle roof can look flat and featureless due to the uniform nature of the shingles. Most people find architectural shingles more visually appealing than three-tab shingles, which improves a home’s curb appeal.
- Aesthetically, architectural shingles can resemble the appearance of premium materials like cedar or slate, which is appealing when an upscale look is desired.
- Because they are thicker, architectural shingles are less likely to curl than three-tab shingles.
- Most three-tab shingles are only warrantied to handle wind speeds up to 60 miles per hour. In contrast, architectural shingles are often warrantied for winds as high as 110 mph with standard installation; and even as high as 130 mph if special installation procedures and materials are used.
- A standard grade three-tab asphalt shingle roof is likely to need replacement after 15-20 years, but the additional thickness of architectural shingles makes them considerably more durable. An architectural shingled roof can be expected to last about 50% longer than a three-tab shingled roof.
- Most three-tab shingles only carry a 20-25 year limited warranty from the manufacturer, whereas architectural shingles may be warrantied for 40 years, 50 years, or even carry a Lifetime warranty. (Warranty terms vary by manufacturer, product line, and installation procedures followed.)
- Three-tab shingles cost less than architectural shingles, and therefore are often used on lower-value homes, or when budget is a concern.
- In general, architectural shingles may cost about 25% more than 3-tab shingles, but they are considered the standard for higher-end homes.
- Due to their quality, look and desirability, architectural shingles may the best type of shingle to use if you want to increase the resale value of your home.