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3-Tab Shingles vs. Architectural Shingles: A Comparison Guide (2024)

Posted on April 18, 2024

Estimated Reading Time : 5 Min.

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3-Tab Shingles vs. Architectural Shingles: A Comparison Guide (2024)

Selecting the appropriate roof shingles is an important choice that can affect your home’s overall value, durability, and appearance. However, the options available among roofing materials can feel overwhelming, especially when the choice is between something like 3-tab shingles vs. architectural shingles. These two varieties of shingles, each with their own advantages and disadvantages, are commonly found on the market today.

In this blog post, we’ll examine the key distinctions between the two to help you select the best option for your roofing needs.

Understanding The Difference:  3-Tab vs. Architectural Shingles 

What Are 3-Tab Shingles?

 3-Tab Shingles

3-Tab shingles, a traditional type of asphalt roofing material, feature three uniform cutouts, or tabs, along the lower edge of each shingle. These shingles are simple and affordable, with tabs fitting together like puzzle pieces during installation, resulting in a uniform, rectangular pattern on the roof. 

While they are budget-friendly and easy to install and repair, they are less durable, offer limited color and style options, and are more prone to wind damage compared to heavier architectural shingles. Typically boasting warranties lasting around 15 to 25 years, they remain a popular choice for homeowners seeking cost-effective roofing solutions, despite their basic nature and shorter lifespan in comparison to premium options.

What Are Architectural Shingles?

Architectural Shingles

Often called dimensional or laminate shingles, architectural shingles improve the strength and appearance of a roof. Architectural shingles are built differently and have a different look than standard 3-tab asphalt shingles. The textured, multi-dimensional appearance of these surfaces is achieved through the combination of layers of asphalt, fiberglass mat, and mineral granules coated in ceramic. 

With the freedom to match their roof to their home’s architecture and personal style preferences, homeowners can choose from an array of styles, colors, and designs offered by architectural shingles.

A Comparison: 3-Tab vs. Architectural Shingles

#1. Composition

Standard 3-tab shingles are composed of asphalt and either natural or fiberglass reinforcement. They are put together and have UV protective granules added. Architectural shingles are thicker and more intricate than laminated shingles. Because of their superior durability and aesthetic appeal, they are constructed from multiple layers of asphalt reinforced with organic materials or fiberglass.

#2. Appearance

In terms of appearance, 3-tab shingles have a consistent, flat look with a simple design that repeats every 12 inches. Their limited color choices and traditional, clean aesthetic make them suitable for various architectural styles. 

However, architectural shingles provide a more striking and versatile option. With their multi-dimensional design and wide range of colors, they can mimic pricier roofing materials such as slate or cedar shakes. This versatility allows homeowners to give their roofs a more upscale and customized look.

#3. Durability

When it comes to durability, 3-tab shingles are typically thought to be less resilient than architectural shingles. They are more susceptible to damage from wind, impact, and other outside factors because of their thinner build. Architectural shingles, on the other hand, are made to be thicker and more resilient. This is due to their increased granule content, stronger adhesives, and multiple layers of refined asphalt, providing resistance to adverse weather.

#4. Longevity

3-Tab shingles typically last 15 to 25  years, while architectural shingles often last 30 years or more. With proper maintenance, architectural shingles can even exceed 30 to 50 years. This longer lifespan makes them more cost-effective over time compared to 3-tab shingles, as they require less frequent replacement or repairs.

#5. Weight

When it comes to weight 3-tab shingles are lighter and easier to install, putting less stress on the roof. Architectural shingles, heavier due to multiple layers, may need extra support during installation. Yet, this weight contributes to their durability and wind resistance, making them more stable in severe weather, so the additional cost for extra support is worth it.

#6. Wind Resistance

For areas with moderate wind gusts, 3-tab shingles are appropriate, as they’re usually rated for winds up to 60 mph. Architectural shingles, with ratings up to 80 to 120 mph or more, provide excellent wind resistance. 

Compared to 3-tab shingles, architectural shingles are more resilient to severe weather conditions and strong winds because of their thicker construction and higher-quality materials. With more protection against wind-related roof damage, this enhanced wind resistance can give homeowners more peace of mind.

#7. Aesthetics

3-Tab shingles provide a consistent and straightforward appearance that makes them visually appealing. Many different architectural styles go well with the simple, timeless appearance that these shingles are intended to provide. Architectural shingles, however, give off a more eye-catching appearance. 

Architectural shingles offer a textured surface and dimensional design that mimics the appearance of high-end roofing materials like slate or wood shakes. This extra depth and detail improves a property’s curb appeal and gives it a more upscale, contemporary look.

#8. Water Resistance

Both 3-tab and architectural shingles offer standard water resistance to prevent moisture from penetrating the underlying roofing structure. However, because they are constructed in layers, architectural shingles offer better waterproofing qualities. Given this, they are more water resistant and a better option for regions that frequently experience high humidity or heavy rainfall.

#9. Warranty

The warranty offered is a crucial factor to take into account when deciding between architectural and 3-tab shingles. The warranties for 3-tab shingles are usually shorter, ranging from 15 to 25 years, which corresponds to their predicted durability and lifespan. 

Architectural shingles, on the other hand, typically have longer warranties, typically up to 50 years. These extended warranties offer homeowners additional security and peace of mind and are a testament to the superior quality and longevity of architectural shingles. 

When analyzing warranty options, it is crucial to consider the anticipated lifespan of the shingles and the extent of coverage to guarantee complete protection against future roofing problems.

3-Tab Shingles vs. Architectural Shingles: A Cost Comparison 

There’s a noticeable difference in price between 3-tab and architectural shingles. 3-Tab shingles cost around $4.00 per square foot, while architectural shingles are about $5.86 per square foot, resulting in nearly a $2.00 difference in cost. However, since architectural shingles are generally of higher quality, offer a longer lifespan, increased durability, and better warranties compared to 3-tab shingles, homeowners find that they’re typically worth the price. 

Keep in mind that prices may be different depending on your region and the current economic climate. 

Final Verdict: What Are Better, 3-Tab or Architectural Shingles?

Overall, architectural shingles have better long-term value, durability, and aesthetics than 3-tab shingles, even though they are initially less expensive. But your budget, personal taste, and long-term objectives will ultimately determine which type of shingle you’ll choose. 

Analyze the benefits and drawbacks of each choice and consider your unique requirements and situation. Ultimately, your choice will be lean towards preserving and improving the aesthetic appeal and functionality of your roof for many years to come

Get A Professional Shingle Roof Installation With The Team At Miller Roofing and Renovations

Deciding between 3-tab and architectural shingles requires careful consideration of factors like cost, durability, appearance, and lifespan. By grasping the distinctions and advantages of each shingle type, you can confidently choose the option that aligns with your budget and aesthetic desires. 

When it’s time to install your new roof, or if you still need help deciding, trust Miller Roofing and Renovations to deliver exceptional quality and expertise to protect your home and enhance its beauty. For years, our roofing company has been dedicated to serving Memphis homeowners with top-quality roofing services. Whether it’s a total roof replacement or a small repair, we’re here to help you maintain your home with asphalt shingle roofing services. Give us a call at (901) 457-9405 to learn how we can help you. 

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