Residential & Commercial Roofing Articles

Three Tab Shingles vs Architectural Shingles


When it’s time for a new roof, the first thing you’ll want to do research reputable, local roofing contractors. Once you have narrowed your search down and received a few quotes, you’ll notice they usually have a couple of pricing tiers listed, and the higher ones will feature architectural shingles as opposed to standard three tab shingles.  Are architectural shingles worth the higher price?

In most cases, the answer is a yes without a doubt.

What Are Architectural Shingles?

Three tab and architectural shingles are both asphalt shingles. The difference between the two is that architectural shingles are constructed with a thicker layer of a more refined type of asphalt, that provides a number of added benefits, that we will discuss.

Architectural shingles are also known as laminated, composite, or dimensional—the latter being due to the three dimensional appearance they provide.

There are many different manufacturers of architectural shingles, like Atlas, CertainTeed, and GAF. Each company carries different lines of architectural shingles.  It is important to ask your roofer to explain the benefits of the new shingles in your quote.

The Benefits

Architectural shingles look great and while their three-dimensional appearance might emulate the look of slate, architectural shingles weigh less than slate.   Architectural shingles do not require the additional support slate tiles required which means you will obtain great curb appeal for a lot less money.

Architectural shingles are somewhat heavier than three tab shingles and are able to sustain higher wind speeds. We seldom get tornados in Asheville, but we do endure severe storms in the spring and fall that produce very high wind gusts. While it is difficult to protect your home from these types of storms, some architectural shingles can withstand wind speeds up to 130 mph. A three tab has more vulnerability of being blown off the roof off by even straight line winds.

Warranty is also a factor when choosing a new roof shingle.  Architectural shingles generally carry a warranty ranging from 30 to 50 years, sometimes advertised as a lifetime warranty.  While three tab shingles normal warranty is 20 to 30 years.  When considering architectural shingles, look at the warranty length and cost.  In the end, architectural shingles are more economical with regard to your roof life expectancy (with proper maintenance), warranty and re-sale value of your home.

When it comes to choosing architectural shingles or three tab shingles, it boils down to taste and economics. Three tab shingles are less expensive but will cost you more in the end because your roof will need to be replaced much sooner since they are less durable.  Also, let’s not forget to figure in re-sale value.  three tab shingles may make your home look more dated.


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