The Difference Between Architectural Shingles and 3-Tab Shingles

The Difference Between Architectural Shingles and 3-Tab Shingles

The Difference Between Architectural Shingles and 3-Tab Shingles

If you’re looking to replace your roof, you’ve no doubt found dozens of available roof styles and materials. From asphalt and metal to slate and wood, how do you choose the right material for your home?

Architectural shingles and 3-tab shingles are two of the most common asphalt shingles you’ll see. These are both hardy, attractive roofing options for any home, but they have considerable differences. You’ll want to consider costs, look, durability, warranty and more when picking the correct asphalt shingle for your home.

Let’s comparearchitectural vs. 3-tab shingles to help you narrow down your options and find the right roof material to protect your home.

What Is the Difference Between 3-Tab and Architectural Shingles?

One of the core differences between 3-tab and architectural shingles is sturdiness. Architectural shingles are more durable, heavier and thicker than 3-tab shingles. Their construction makes them better able to handle the wear and tear roofs experience. This differing construction affects everything about these shingles — you’ll see considerable differences in their look, durability and life spans.

Let’s comparearchitectural shingles vs. 3-tab shingles and see how they hold up compared to each other.

Architectural Shingles

Architectural shingles are modern shingles designed for durability. As the current industry standard, they provide improved protection, durability and design over other shingle styles.

Architectural Shingles

The name “architectural shingle” refers to the shingle’s multi-layer construction. To make an architectural shingle, two or more shingles are laminated — or bonded — together. Additionally, they have a heavy fiberglass base with a water-resistant asphalt coating. This helps prevent water from penetrating the roof and ensures your home has a sleek, strong roof for year-round protection.

Overall, architectural shingles are better if you’re looking for increased style varieties, durability, weather resistance and life span.

What Do Architectural Shingles Look Like?

Typically, architectural shingles look like flat rectangles. Their thicker appearance might make them look like slate or wood, although this is just their asphalt layer, giving them a bulkier design. While all architectural shingles have asphalt granules on their top layer, they can be designed to mimic wood or slate tiles. This allows homeowners to achieve distinct, stylish roof looks without sacrificing durability.

The multi-layer construction allows architectural shingles to have more depth and dimension — your roof will have a more 3D appearance with these shingles. They elevate the look of any home, especially when designed to mimic wood or slate shingles. Natural-look shingles are only available in natural shades because they’re meant to look as authentic as possible. Otherwise, you can find architectural shingles in various colors to fit your home’s design.

Along with the ability to mimic natural roofing materials, you have greater options for shingle size and shape with architectural shingles. Different shingles sizes can change the look of your roof, while deeper dimensions and enhanced colors can turn your home into a standout structure. The nicer and more elevated your roof looks, the better your home’s curb appeal. A high-quality, attractive architectural roof can increase your home’s value and add to the luxurious feeling of your exterior.

The higher-end experience of architectural shingles doesn’t end with their appearance — they also typically come with a more extended warranty. Because they’re heavier and thicker than 3-tab shingles, you’ll receive a matching extended warranty to cover potential repairs that could come up.

This enhanced thickness, durability, quality and design helps protect your roof better and provides you with more options for roof styles than other roofing materials.

How Long Do Architectural Shingles Last?

The life span of architectural shingles is around 30 years. With quality care, you can even enjoy your shingles for up to 50 years. This is much longer than the life span of 3-tab shingles, mainly due to architectural shingles’ multi-layer construction.

Additionally, the life expectancy of architectural shingles can become ever greater with professional installation and regular maintenance. You’ll get a secure, long-lasting roof with top-of-the-line laminate shingles on your home.

3-Tab Shingles

3-tab shingles have been the traditional favorite roof shingles for years. Their affordability and strength are what make them so popular with homeowners, as they require little maintenance and hold up well to weathering. 3-tab shingles are incredibly light, so they won’t add extra weight to your roof as slate would. With a mineral-granule-covered fiberglass base mat, these shingles are excellent at resisting water and heavy winds.

3 Tab Shingles

What Do 3-Tab Shingles Look Like?

The 3-tab name comes from their unique design — each shingle appears to be three, making your roof look more layered without paying for extra material. These shingles provide a sophisticated exterior without breaking the bank and come in various neutral colors, lending a classic style to any home. 3-tab shingles have fewer color and design options than architectural shingles — you won’t have as many color or natural-look options, but all the available shades are neutral and versatile.

These shingles are thinner and lighter than architectural shingles, making them more manageable and less expensive to repair or replace. The 3-tab design creates visual interest, but they have less dimension than architectural shingles, which have more layers. Your roof will have a flat, single-layer appearance with these asphalt singles.

The 3-tab design lends itself to clean, minimalistic aesthetics, adding sophistication to your roof that elevates the look of your entire home.

How Long Do 3-Tab Shingles Last?

3-tab shingles last around 20 years. This is about 10 years shorter than architectural shingles, but there are ways to extend this life span. Expert installation and regular maintenance can significantly increase your roof’s life. Keeping vegetation and debris off the shingles will help them stay solid and waterproof through years of weather and wear.

3 Tab Shingles

Although good maintenance is essential for increasing shingle life, you’ll still only get 25 to 30 years out of your well-maintained 3-tab shingles. They don’t have as much layering as architectural shingles, and they won’t hold up over time as well as these materials. You have to replace them more frequently than architectural shingles — even sooner if you live in a location that experiences heavy winds.

While these shingles won’t last as long as architectural shingles, their initial installation costs are reasonably affordable. They’re relatively inexpensive to repair or replace, too. Their shorter lives mean you’ll pay to replace the whole roof more often, but that’s the trade-off for lower-priced shingles.

Cost and Warranty Differences

When looking atarchitectural vs. 3-tab asphalt shingles, cost and warranty are two of the most important factors for homeowners. You should consider up-front, maintenance and long-term fees when picking your roof material, as these can vary greatly between roofing materials.

3-Tab vs. Architectural Shingle Cost

3-tab shingles cost less than architectural shingles. The heavier weight and advanced materials of architectural shingles contribute to their higher up-front costs. However, this increased price gets you longer-lasting, stronger and more attractive shingles for your roof. You’ll also enjoy a longer life span from architectural shingles. You’ll pay more for them initially, but you won’t have to replace them as quickly or frequently as you would with 3-tab shingles.

The 3-tab shingle is a more affordable option for most homeowners, but they won’t hold up to wind as well as architectural shingles, and you’ll have to replace them sooner, too. Consider what you can afford initially and compare it to long-term costs — can you afford more frequent replacements or a more expensive initial installation?

Architectural vs. 3-Tab Shingle Warranties

You can get a quality warranty for your shingle roof regardless of the material. However, the longer life span of architectural shingles means you’ll enjoy a longer warranty, an increased life span and a lower replacement rate compared to 3-tab shingles. Many architectural shingle roofs come with standard lifetime warranties, and you can often get wind gust protection in case severe winds take the shingles off your roof.

Durability DifferencesDurability Differences

There are significant differences when comparing the durability of 3-tab asphalt shingles vs. architecturalshingles. The right one for your home will depend on your budget, roof strength and weather conditions. It might be worth upgrading your shingles if your roof deals with rougher weather. Otherwise, many homeowners prefer more cost-effective home materials. Either way, speak to your roofing company about the best options for your unique home.

Wind Resistance

Architectural shingles are heavier, so they’re more resistant to wind. While 3-tab shingles can withstand decently-high winds based on their class rating, they’re more susceptible to wind uplifts. If you live somewhere that experiences lots of high winds, you’ll want to invest in high wind-rated 3-tab shingles or go with architectural shingles.

The heavier weight and advanced composition make architectural shingles better equipped to handle high winds. You’ll pay more for a roof of architectural shingles, but you’ll spend less money replacing fewer shingles when high winds arrive.

Water Resistance

All types of asphalt shingles are designed to be completely waterproof. Both architectural and 3-tab shingles effectively layer over each other and keep water out. As long as you routinely inspect shingles and replace any missing or broken sections, your asphalt shingles should keep water from entering your home.

The wind resistance of your shingles affects their water resistance. If your shingles aren’t rated for high winds, these winds can lift your shingles. Lifted shingles can compromise your roof’s waterproofing since water can creep under the exposed singles and penetrate the underlayment. Getting heavier architectural shingles can help prevent lifting, stopping water in its tracks.

Fire Resistance

The thicker, multi-layer design of architectural shingles makes them more resistant to fire than 3-tab shingles. They withstand fire and heat much better than standard 3-tab shingles. Additionally, you can get shingles rated for improved fire and wind resistance if you want material that will hold up better to the elements.

Total Roofing and Construction Roofing Services

Total Roofing and Construction performs architectural and asphalt shingle repairs and replacements for homeowners in need of professional roofing services. If your roof is nearing its replacement age or has damage that needs repairing, you can trust our experts to elevate the quality and durability of any home.

Avoid handling roof inspections yourself — roofs can be dangerous, especially if hidden damages or aging sections exist. Our team will arrive at your home and perform a free roof inspection. Once we’ve reviewed your roof, we’ll advise you on your next steps. It can be difficult to decide between a roof repair and replacement, so we’ll go over all the pros and cons of each with you to help you find the best solution for your home. If you’re comparing 3-tab roof shingles vs architectural shingles, we’ll help you find the right fit for your roof.

In addition to expert roofing services, we can give you 25-year to lifetime warranties for our residential roofs. We offer GAF Golden Pledge Warranty and Owens Corning Platinum Warranty for homeowners who work with us — two exceptional warranties that help ensure you have a durable, protective roof over your home for years.

You can trust Total Roofing to deliver efficient, lasting roofing services when you need them. A standard project takes two to three days, and we’ll start just two to three weeks after permits and materials arrive. With the best manufacturer warranty in the industry and insurance process assistance, you can be sure you get premium roofing services.

Contact Us Today to Learn More

If you’re interested in durable, quality roofing services, look to Total Roofing and Construction for your next roofing job. As a GAF Master Elite Contractor (Residential) and Owens Corning Platinum Contractor, we’re unmatched in trustworthiness and roofing results.

With over 35 years of roofing experience, you can trust our team to deliver the results you want without any stress or delay. As a family-owned company, we put employee safety first — our safety accountability system keeps our roofers safe on the job and accountable. We’re always working to match and exceed government standards at all levels.

Stop by our showrooms in Schererville, Indiana, and Dolton, Illinois, to see samples of our roofs and ask questions about any of our services. Don’t wait to upgrade your roof — get your free Total Roofing inspection scheduled when you contact us online today.

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