3-Tab Shingle VS Architectural


If you're in the process of replacing a roof, or building a new home, and you don't know the differences of roofing types, here is some information to help you make an informed decision.

Two of the most popular types of shingles for residential homeowners are asphalt and laminate. There are differences between them that you will need to know when it comes time to choosing your roof.

Asphalt vs Architectural Shingles -

Regular asphalt shingles are also known as "3-tab" shingles. They are flat, with only one shingle tab shape and size.

Laminate Shingles are also known as "laminated architectural" or just "architectural" shingles. They are a type of asphalt shingle, but are built with heavier a base mat and multiple material layers of a more refined type of asphalt. The shingle tabs have different shapes, giving them a more dimensional appearance.



3-Tab Shingles vs. Architectural Shingles

Short-Term Cost -

3-tab shingles are usually 50% lighter than architectural shingles because they are comprised of less material. Architectural materials are cheaper, but are more time consuming to install. Due to this, my roofing company will charge the same for both options.

Durability -

Because laminated architectural shingles are heavier than 3-tab shingles and have the strength to multiple shingles, they can withstand stronger winds and more intense weather conditions. 3-tabs are much more vulnerable to wind, and can sometimes even be ripped away during stormy conditions. Another reason why we use OC products, Sure Nail will keep shingles together. Architectural shingles typically last and train their appearance longer than 3-tab shingles - extending the life of your roof significantly (up to as much as 20 years!).

Warranty -

Depending on your brand of shingles, its important to know the warranties available to you.

3-tab shingles usually have a warranty of around 20-30 years. You should know that manufacturers massively prorate the warranty for these shingles, leaving you with next to nothing if they don't last.

Due to their greater reliability, Architectural shingles have warranties ranging from 30-50 years, or even a Lifetime Manufacturer's Warranty in many cases.

Long-Term Cost-

Now that you know more about the differences between the durability and warranty, it's time to talk about your long-term costs. Since Architectural shingles are going to last you longer, you will actually save money in the long run. There's an upfront investment for a long term benefit.

Instead of needing a roof replacement after a few decades with 3-tabs, you can keep your roof much longer with properly maintained Architectural shingles. This will save you money over time.


When seen side-by-side, it's easy to tell that the 'dimensional' look of Architectural shingles is more aesthetically pleasing. Architectural shingles can also be styled to imitate slate or cedar roofing, which improves the appearance of your home for much less than it would cost to install these more expensive roofing types.

Resale Value-

Since Architectural shingle are more durable and nice to look at than 3-tab shingles, you can probably guess that they will be the type of shingle to give you the better resale value on your home.

Beyond that, as more homeowners are replacing their 3-tab shingles with architectural shingles, a home with 3-tab may look outdated in comparison.

What's the Best Option for My Roof?

We recommend Architectural shingles in nearly every case. When we lay out exactly why Architectural shingles are superior, it's not hard for our clients to see the benefits.

Of course you will need to consult with a roofing contractor about your specific home and roof before making a final decision, but in 99 times out of 100, unless you have a low slope home, we find that Architectural roofing is the option that makes the most sense for homeowners.