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3 Tab Shingles vs. Architectural Shingles


March 20, 2019

When you’re looking to install or replace a roof with asphalt shingles, it’s important to consider the pros and cons of traditional 3 tab shingles and the growing-in-popularity architectural shingles. Depending on your budget, preferences and design style, you’ll be able to select the ideal roof for your home.

Differences Between 3 Tab and Architectural Shingles

Both types of shingles are made from the same material, but vary in just about every other way: size, thickness, ease of installation, number of color and texture options, warranty lengths, and cost, to name a few important distinctions.

Do Architectural Shingles Look Different?

Architectural shingles (also called laminate shingles or dimensional shingles) create a more involved look than three-tab shingles due to their larger thickness, and varying sizes, which can give the aesthetic of slate or wood shakes. Hence the alias: dimensional shingles.

Three-tab shingles are common to many homes, with the tab size and shape being consistent from shingle to shingle, generating a uniform, even look across the entire roof.

Owens Corning Supreme 3 Tab Shingle Grey

3-Tab Owens Corning Shingle

Owens Corning Architectural Shingles

Owens Corning Architectural Shingle

How Long Do Shingles Last?

In general, architectural shingles will last longer, and just about every type comes with a minimum of a 30-year warranty, with some premium options being guaranteed for as many as 50 years. Most three-tab shingles are warrantied for 20 or 25 years.

Three-Tab & Architectural Shingle Prices

Three-tab shingles are less expensive than architectural shingles. Because architectural shingles are thicker and more substantial, they require more material, and thus, most cost. However, while three-tab shingles cost less up front, many homebuyers like the look of dimensional shingles, which could mean better value long-term if you’re planning to sell your home.

The Colors and Textures

Asphalt shingles have given buyers several color options for decades and continue to do so, both in three-tab and architectural shingles. The latter can also play more with different textures, amplified by the general aesthetic of the way the roof comes together. If you’re looking for options, you can probably find something you like in either category.

Installation of Three Tab & Architectural Shingles

Although neither is difficult to install for a reputable roofer, architectural shingles tend to be a little less complicated than three-tab shingles.

Other Considerations

Neither 3-tab shingles or architectural shingles are better for any one application or pitch of your roof. Today, most homes have architectural shingles installed on them as they provide the most color options and typically a better appearance for your home.

The greater curb appeal often gives architectural shingles the aesthetic edge in the debate, with the longer warranties and higher durability factoring strongly. All that comes at a bit of a higher cost than three-tab shingles, though. When deciding which roof is right for your home, it’s important to consider all these factors to make sure you’re getting the best roof for you and your family.