What Makes Architectural Shingles Better Than 3-Tab?

Posted on: 28 November 2022


If you're installing a new roof on your home, there's a good chance you're going with some form of asphalt shingles. Asphalt shingles are more common than other roofing types in the United States, but this category isn't monolithic. Instead, asphalt shingles come in two broad categories: 3-tab and architectural.

You've probably heard that 3-tab shingles are a more luxurious and higher-end product, but what makes them so good? Is the extra cost worth the benefits you'll see from installing architectural shingles over lower-cost 3-tab options? This guide will help explain some differences so you can decide what's best for your home and budget.

Understanding the Benefits of Architectural Shingles

It's important to understand that architectural and 3-tab shingles are fundamentally the same product. Both options use similar materials, although their appearance can differ substantially. In most cases, 3-tab shingles will look relatively flat, lifeless, and uniform. On the other hand, architectural shingles offer more styles with greater dimensionality and texture.

However, the differences between these two types of shingles are more than just skin deep. While a cosmetic appearance draws many homeowners to architectural shingles, they are also typically thicker and use stronger materials. These benefits mean architectural shingles may last longer and often come with higher wind ratings.

Still, it's important to recognize that products vary between manufacturers. Don't assume that shingles are better just because they use the term "architectural." Instead, ask your installer for specific information, such as the wind rating or warranty on the shingles. You can then use this information to compare specific shingles against other options.

Choosing Between Architectural and 3-Tab Shingles

Despite the advantages of architectural shingles, 3-tab shingles can still be a good option if you're working on a lower budget or don't mind their appearance. As with architectural shingles, 3-tab shingles can vary significantly between manufacturers, with some brands offering better warranties or a more reliable product.

Note that 3-tab shingles typically come in fewer color varieties, so you'll have fewer options for customizing your home's look. While this may not be an issue for you, it's worth keeping in mind. You may also need to accept a shorter warranty and lifespan with 3-tab shingles, reducing their overall value compared to architectural options.

Your installer will be your best resource when choosing between these options. Qualified installers will have plenty of experience working with different products, and they can help you understand the trade-offs between them. If you still can't decide between 3-tab and architectural shingles, your roof can help you understand which is likely to best suit your requirements. 

To read more, look into the services of roofing companies near you.