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Which Roof Material Should You Choose?

3-Tab Asphalt Shingles versus Architectural Shingles

Thinking about repairing or replacing a new roof can be confusing, especially when it comes to deciding what kinds of materials to use in the process. Most homeowners want to know the choices available to them. Shingles will likely be part of that choice and, there are numerous options with shingles. There are colors, shapes and overall installation techniques that most people are not aware of. Most homeowners should get a basic idea of the different types of shingles before they dive into the roofing process.

Roof Shingle Categories

Shingles are basically categorized as architectural shingles and 3-tab shingles. Here is a rundown on both of them:

Architectural Shingles

Architectural shingles have different names. They can be called laminate shingles or dimensional shingles. In contrast to more traditional 3-tab regular shingles, architectural shingles are available in varying sizes and shapes. They also have an appearance that suggests proportion, volume, depth and dimension. With an architectural shingle, you can derive the features of an asphalt shingled roof plus acquire added dimension.

3-tab Shingles

This type of shingle is what is associated with traditional asphalt shingles that are commonly used in roofing projects. A single tab with a non-dimensional shape is placed flat to a roof's decking, providing a clean and neat appearance to the roof line. Available in various colors, these tabs offer versatility.

Differences of Roofing Materials Explained:


Both architectural and 3-tab shingles are composed of asphalt as well as fiberglass with a mat type backing, a top layer of granules and adhesives for adherence. The differences between the two have to do with the overall quality and materials. Architectural shingles contain a higher caliber of asphalt in contrast to 3-tab shingles. They also contain an increased number of granules on their surface, plus stronger adhesives and a base that is thicker and tougher. Architectural shingles are also infused with color distinctions that greatly intensify the look of the shingles. Added surface granules increase the chances of preserving this type of shingle for a longer period of time.

In contrast, 3-tab shingles are very flat in appearance, which is due to the fact that the tabs are of the same size and shape and are evenly placed in rows. As with architectural shingles, 3-tabs are available in multiple colors though the colors are less intense in their coloration and texture.


Thickness of the architectural shingles are other factors that differentiate architectural shingles from 3-tab shingles. They are quite a bit heavier and thicker than 3-tabs. A thicker shingle allows for greater endurance and strength and when it comes to wind and other extreme weather conditions, architectural shingles are considerably more durable. Three-tab shingles are weaker, less durable and not as long lasting. They can be subject to damage in of reoccurring bad weather such as hail, and strong winds.

Pros and Cons of Architectural and 3-Tab Shingles

Architectural Shingles Pros:

  • More popular choice of roofing material
  • 50-year manufacturer guarantee
  • Resistance to increased wind speeds (up to 130 mph wind protection)
  • Twice as thick as 3-Tab Shingles, therefore, are more durable and less vulnerable to curling
  • Increased value to a home

Architectural Shingles Cons:

  • More costly (about 20 to 40% more than 3-Tab shingles)
  • Heavier than traditional asphalt shingles which may make them unsuitable for certain structures.

3- Tab Shingles Pros:

  • Lighter and consist of less material
  • Less expensive
  • Used throughout most residential communities because of affordability

3-Tab Shingles Cons:

  • Less thick and often require replacement sooner than expected
  • Flat in appearance rather than dimensional
  • Not quite as popular in use

Whether you choose architectural shingles or 3-tab shingles, there are going to be advantages and disadvantages with each. If you’re not sure what type of shingle best fits your current or future roofing needs, give us a call at 678-723-9995 or complete the online contact form at our website; www.georgiaroofadvisors.com , and a roofing expert will get back to you with the information you need to make an informed decision.

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