Asphalt Shingles Comparison

Do you need a re-roofing job done? All over North America, asphalt shingles are the biggest players in the roofing market.

The reason why? Not only are they affordable, but they’re also easier to install. While they aren’t as durable and long-lasting as some of the more expensive roofing materials available including metal, slate, or clay, asphalt shingles can provide effective protection and an attractive look at a fraction of the price.

Asphalt shingles are produced in two different types: architectural shingles and 3 tab shingles.

If you’re set on asphalt shingles but aren’t sure which type to choose, we’re here to help. Here’s our handy guide on architectural shingles vs 3 tab shingles.


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Architectural Shingles

So, what are architectural shingles? Well, they contain no cutouts, but the lower half is laminated with an extra layer of asphalt. This produces a dimensional and sleek look that gives the shingles their name.

The layers are bonded with asphalt sealant, improving the waterproof capabilities of the shingles.

The main reason people decide to choose architectural style shingles is because they provide an attractive three-dimensional look to your roof, imitating the appearance of natural wood or slate shingles well. They’re also longer lasting than 3 tab shingles, with manufacturer ratings varying from 20 to 50 years of limited warranty.

While architectural shingles are long-lasting, they aren’t suggested for low sloping roofs. This is because the design makes the shingles more vulnerable to heavy wind-driven rain. Most architectural shingles can withstand up to 110mph – 130mph wind uplift.

Depending on the manufacturer and the style of architectural shingles, you’ll usually require around three to four bundles to fit an area of 100 sq.ft.


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3 Tab Shingles

In comparison, 3 tab shingles feature cutouts, otherwise known as tabs, that are made along their lower edge. This means that each shingle appears as three different pieces when it’s installed to the roof, yet it’s only one.

As a very affordable roofing option, 3 tab shingles have been around for a long time and are still the most requested shingle used today.

However, while a 3-tab shingle is inexpensive, that means it’s a basic option too. Entry-level 3 tab roof shingles can only stand up to 60mph – 70mph wind lifts, meaning they’re more vulnerable to extreme weather conditions.

Plus, 3-tab shingles come with an average limited warranty of around 10 to 25 years, depending on the manufacturer and the type of shingles.

These shingles are easily recognized due to the 3-tab pattern as mentioned. To cover 100 sq. ft. of a roof surface, you’ll need to purchase around three bundles of shingles.


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3 Tab vs Architectural Shingles: The Differences

As you may have gathered, architectural shingles are a more premium roofing product compared to 3 tab shingles. This is reflected in the price difference between the two shingle types. Architectural shingles are priced between 20% to 40% more than 3 tab shingles, which can mean a huge addition of up to $1,500 for bigger roofs.

As mentioned, the look of each type of shingle is different too. Architectural shingles come in different sizes and shapes, which offer them a more dimensional look that 3 tab shingles lack.

Architectural shingles weigh more than 3 tab shingles too. On average, they weigh around 50 percent more than 3 tab shingles. Because 3 tab shingles are simpler and require less material, that means they weigh a lot less.

As architectural shingles are denser than 3 tab shingles, that means they offer a longer warranty than 3 tab shingles too. As mentioned, most architectural shingles offer a minimum 20-year guarantee and are designed to protect against higher speeds of wind.

On the other hand, 3 tab shingles are thinner than architectural shingles and have a shorter warranty guarantee. That means 3 tab shingle roofs must be replaced sooner than architectural shingle roofs.


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Are Architectural Shingles Worth the Extra Cost?

At this point you may be wondering whether it’s worth shelling out the extra cash for architectural shingles over 3 tab shingles. Well, architectural shingles are becoming more and more popular in the roofing market, while 3 tab shingles are on the decline. Here are the reasons why.

Firstly, architectural shingles are more attractive than 3 tab shingles and can mimic premium roofing options. They also work better to hide imperfections on the roof surface.

Architectural shingles are more durable too, with higher wind resistance.

As you can imagine, architectural shingles can help maintain or even up the value of a house, if they’re installed well. For buyers, they’re the preferred shingle as they help keep the building’s value and don’t need to be replaced as often.


Architectural Shingles vs 3 Tab Shingles: The Verdict

So, are architectural shingles the better option? Or should you opt for the 3 tab shingles?

The answer lies in what you expect from a roofing job and how much you’re willing to invest. While 3 tab shingles are more affordable upfront, remember that in the long run, architectural shingles can cost less. If you don’t have the money to hand though, 3 tab shingles are a great option for those with a smaller budget.

But generally, architectural shingles are of better quality and are more attractive to the eye too.

We hope our comparison guide has helped answer your questions about the differences between architectural and 3 tab shingles.

To learn more about your different roofing choices, get in touch with us here at Signature Roofing. We’re happy to discuss your options so you can make the right roofing choice for your home.