3 Tab Shingles vs. Architectural Shingles Which is Best for Your Home and Budget

Asphalt roofing shingles come in different styles and materials and even how they are constructed. There is one type of shingle that is much simpler, cost less, and provides better protection against wind and water damage than most others. This type of asphalt shingle is called a 3-tab shingle and it’s one of the most popular types of roofing material designs used today.

There are two main types of asphalt shingles: the lower cost option of 3-tab shingles and a more sturdy product known as architectural shingles. Both types of shingles are made using a fiberglass interior with asphalt encapsulating that inner core. They also have granules and sealant applied to the top and bottom of each shingle. The key difference in the construction of three tab shingles vs architectural shingles is the amount of layers that are applied to each shingle.

A three tab shingle is a single layer of material whereas an architectural shingle typically has two. This can add an appearance of depth to the shingle and it also makes the shingle heavier and offer more protection for the roof. We’ve put together a bit more details about each type of shingle below and just what they can mean for your next roofing project.

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What Are 3-Tab Shingles?

A three tab shingle is a shingle which is a single layer of asphalt thick. The size of the shingle is typically 12 inches wide and 36 inches long. There are two cuts each of about 6 inches which are placed 12 inches from each edge. This gives the shingle an appearance of three tabs. Hence the name.

As you can see by the image above of a three tab shingle there appears to be three distinct tabs to each shingle. Once the shingles are installed the only visible part of the shingle is the three tab portion. Everything above the black line which is sealant which sticks each layer of shingles together is not visible.

With the single layer of material used to make the shingle it’s also much lighter than architectural shingles which have multiple layers of materials. While that may not be a problem for some homes it can be a big advantage if you are planning on a roof over existing roofing.

Advantages of 3-Tab Shingles

3-tab shingles are one of the most popular roofing materials today. They offer homeowners many benefits including low maintenance and ease of installation which in turn means a very affordable roofing option. In fact, 3-tab shingles is one of the most economical roofing options available today.

Disadvantages of 3-Tab Shingles

Thin shingles are vulnerable because they are thin and since three tab shingles only have a single layer they may be more prone to damages. They also have a shorter lifespan when compared to dimensional shingles.  They are also susceptible to wind uplift because they are lighter. They simply don’t have the wind resistance because of their weight and construction.  If you live in a high wind area, consider installing a different type of roofing shingles such as architectural or metal roofing. If you do install 3-tab shingles, make sure to use proper anchoring methods.

Appearance of Three Tab Shingle Roofing

Architectural shingles come a wide variety of shapes and designs. Some of these designs allow them to look like other materials such as Cedar shakes. They are typically used for roof coverings because they are durable and long lasting and look amazing. The architectural shingles can have a much more defined look than three tab shingles. Most three tab shingles look flat without much character or depth.

Whereas architectural shingles have shading which give them a more defined look. They are made to mimic wood shakes on the roof and with proper shading and multiple material layers they can look great on the roof especially when compared to three tab shingles.

What Are Architectural Roof Shingles?

Architectural shingles (also known as laminate shingles) are roofing materials that are designed specifically for use on buildings and homes to give them a better overall appearance of the roof while still providing a level of protection of the home that can last for decades. They are made out of fiber glass and asphalt just like three tab shingles. They look just like normal asphalt three tab shingles but they are much stronger and have multiple layers. These shingles are ideal for roofs where there is no significant amount of wind exposure and will be installed without an underlying roofing material already installed.

architectural shingle

Advantages of Architectural Shingles

Architectural shingles are a popular choice among homeowners looking to improve the curb appeal of their homes and it’s overall value. These shingles come in many different styles, colors, shapes, and sizes. If you want to make sure you choose the best architectural shingle for your home, here are some things to consider.

1. Durability

The most important thing to keep in mind when choosing architectural shingles is durability. A good quality product will stand up against the elements for decades. Look for products that are manufactured with durable materials such as steel, aluminum, copper, and zinc.

2. Strength

A good architectural shingle roof should be able to withstand strong winds and heavy snow loads. Most manufacturers offer warranties to ensure that their products perform well under tough weather conditions. Make sure you check out the manufacturer’s warranty information to see what kinds of issues the product might encounter.

3. Style

You don’t always have to go big when it comes to style. There are plenty of options for those looking for something simple and elegant. Some of the most popular styles include split lap, half lap, gable, and hip roofs.

Disadvantages of Architectural Shingles

When it comes to cost for architectural shingles vs 3 tab shingles, there is no comparison. While 3tab shingles cost around 50% less than architectural shingles, the latter are much more expensive both in material costs as well as labor costs for installing the shingles. This is due to the fact that architectural shingles require more effort to install and may require additional roofing components as part of a whole roofing system in order to obtain proper warranties for the new roof.

Architectural Shingles vs. 3-Tab Shingle Warranty Details

3-tab shingles are becoming increasingly popular among homeowners looking to save money while still getting a quality product. However, there are some important differences between architectural shingles and 3-tab shingles and one huge difference is the warranty for each of these roofing materials.

Architectural shingles typically come with at least a 20 year manufacturer’s warranty, whereas 3-tab shingles often have a warranty of about 10 to 15 years. Some three tab shingle manufacturers may not even offer a warranty at all. It’s best to consider the warranty when choosing a roofing material for your home.

So, Which is Best for My Roof?

3 tab shingle roofs are durable, cost effective, and can be installed on most homes. The drawbacks are usually that these roofing installations may not last that long. If you’re planning on living in your home and not worrying about the roof for the next few decades you may want to opt out of getting three tab shingles and instead go with architectural shingles.

Rick Anderson

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