So, you know you’re going to need a full roof replacement soon. Exciting! Well, maybe it doesn’t feel so exciting, but once your brand-new roof is installed, you’ll feel very proud of your home.

There are a lot of considerations that go into getting a new roof, such as:

  • Choosing materials 🧱
  • Budgeting and financing 💸
  • Picking a qualified roofing company 👷

Today, we’re going to be focusing on the material selection process. Most homeowners in the United States have an asphalt shingle roof, but did you know that there are multiple types of asphalt shingle roofs? The two main contenders are architectural shingles and 3-tab shingles.

We’re going to explore the difference between architectural shingles vs. 3-tab shingles, so you can decide which material is the best for your upcoming roof replacement.

Architectural Shingles vs. 3 Tab Shingles: What Are They?

Since 3-tab and architectural shingles both fall under the “asphalt shingle” category, they definitely have some similarities. But they also have distinct differences.

What Are 3-Tab Shingles?

As the original asphalt shingle, 3-tab shingles have been a trusty, reliable roofing material for decades. They’re made from a strong fiberglass base mat that’s coated with mineral granules.

These shingles get their name from their quintessential design. One section looks like three separate tabs, but it’s only one. Their appearance is simple and classic, as most homes had 3-tab shingle roofs at some point.

The material is very light and accessible to install. Some homeowners even find 3-tab shingles to be DIY friendly for minor repairs.

What Are Architectural Shingles?

architectural shingles vs 3 tab laminated shingle

If 3-tab shingles are the oldest sibling, architectural shingles are the youngest sibling that has lived abroad, goes to the gym multiple times a week, and has a really cool fashion sense. They both come from the same family, but architectural shingles take things up a notch.

Architectural shingles are a material of many names. You’ll also see them referred to as laminated or dimensional shingles because of their three-dimensional appearance.

In the 1970s and 80s, new innovations took the standard 3-tab shingle to a new level. Architectural shingles were born out of two or more basic shingles getting laminated together for extra protection.

The design of dimensional shingles mimics more premium materials like cedar shakes or slate tiles, and they’re engineered to be thicker and extra durable.

How They Compare Where It Matters Most

Even though these two products are similar, they don’t have the same performance across different categories. Let’s see how they compare in these four important groupings.

1) Longevity and Weather-Resistance 💪

When you invest in a major component of your home, you want to make sure that investment lasts. No one would buy a new car if it were guaranteed to break down in a couple of years, and the same goes for your roof!

The average lifespan of a 3-tab shingle roof is roughly 10-20 years. However, architectural shingles usually last 15-30+ years with proper maintenance.

Since 3-tab shingles are thinner, they can withstand wind speeds of 60-70 miles per hour. Architectural shingles can withstand winds up to 110-130 mph thanks to their extra thickness and durability.

2) Aesthetics and Color Options 🎨

3-tab shingles offer the classic shingled roof look, but they’re pretty simple in terms of design. There aren’t many color options, and the available colors are all one solid tone. The design is flat, clean, and uniform.

Dimensional shingles are much more, well, dimensional! They have a wide variety of color options. Each style has multiple complimentary tones to offer a three-dimensional look to your roof. Plus, they’re designed to resemble more expensive roofing materials like slate tiles or cedar shakes.

The beautiful aesthetics of architectural shingles are one of their most distinctive features.

3) Weight and Ease of Installation ⚖️

architectural shingles vs 3 tab easy installation

Compared to other roofing materials like clay tiles or even metal panels, both 3-tab and architectural shingles are quite lightweight. Just about every (if not all) professional roofing contractor knows how to install and repair asphalt shingles of any kind. So, both products are simple for the pros to install.

Laminated shingles are heavier than 3-tabs, which helps them stand up to hail, wind, and rain more successfully. However, this extra weight shouldn’t make any significant difference in the installation process or impact your home’s structural support.

4) Overall Cost 💰

The fact of the matter is that most homeowners care deeply about the upfront cost of a new roof. It’s no surprise that a roof replacement is a significant investment, and the sticker shock can sometimes feel overwhelming if you’re not prepared.

Breaking down the cost of each material is tricky. 3-tab shingles cost about 40% less upfront, but architectural shingles save you money in the long run since they don’t need as frequent repairs or replacements.

Which Product Is Best for You?

After breaking down the 3-tab vs. architectural shingles showdown, let’s decipher what’s actually best for you and your home. Decide what’s most important to you and go from there!

For Roofing on a Budget

If saving immediate funds is your main concern, then you’ll be just fine going with a 3-tab shingle roof. Just keep in mind that you’ll need to replace this roof sooner than a dimensional roof. And since 3-tab shingles aren’t as durable, you may find yourself paying for more frequent repairs in the long run.

If you want an architectural shingle roof but are concerned about upfront funds, consider utilizing roofing financing through your roofing company or local bank.

For a Longer-Lasting Investment

If your main concern is durability and longevity, definitely opt for an architectural shingle roof. With regular upkeep and maintenance, you can see a good 25-30 years out of a dimensional roof (sometimes more if you have lucky weather!). Be sure to schedule annual roof inspections, address concerns immediately, and keep your gutters clear to get the most out of your investment.

For Increased Curb Appeal

Are you thinking of selling your home in the next few years? Efforts made to boost your curb appeal and increase your home value will really pay off. A new architectural shingle roof is more attractive to buyers, so that increases your home’s resale value. Plus, you’ll get to showcase your personality with the wide array of color options in the meantime.

Even if you’re not planning on selling your house, architectural shingles make for a fantastic exterior refresh. If you also plan on updating or painting your siding, you can totally makeover your home’s exterior.

We’re Here to Help With Your Decision

Most roofing industry professionals would agree that architectural shingles are the best option if you want an asphalt shingle roof. But that doesn’t mean it’s a one-size-fits-all solution! Here at Gouge Quality Roofing, we’ll walk you through all of your roofing options after performing a detailed inspection, so you can make an informed decision about your home and finances.

Ready to learn more about the roof replacement process and your material options? Reach out to our team today to get started!