Two roofers installing architectural shingles on a brick home in the fall

Architectural Shingles vs. 3-tab Shingles: Which is Best?

Two of the most common types of asphalt shingles are three-tab and architectural shingles. For those who are building a new home or who want to get a roof replacement that is cost-efficient, these two options are worth your consideration, depending on the style of your roof and your budget. So we’re offering this information on both types of shingles.

What are 3-tab shingles?

Close-up swatch of 3 tab shinglesThree-tab shingles have a basic rectangle brick look to them. The name 3-tab stems from the style. One shingle is slit to make it look like 3 separate rectangles per shingle. 

This type of shingle was the most used type of roofing in the U.S. before the 1970s. In the past, these were the most used, and common shingles. Due to advances in the roofing world and better technologies and design, they are rapidly becoming less available and are no longer the most common.

Since they are becoming less common, they are also no longer the cheapest option. They are still occasionally used though, due to being lighter than the leading (most common) architectural shingle. The bit of weight difference does make a difference in style, durability, and reliability. 

So, if you want a simple, lightweight shingle where durability and more effective protection aren’t large deciding factors for you, this is the shingle to use.

What are architectural shingles?

Architectural shingles on a dutch hip style roofArchitectural shingles are layered, aesthetically pleasing roofing shingles. From around 1970 to the present, they have flooded the market and continue to be the most popular shingle used today. 

Architectural shingles are heavier than their 3-tab counterparts due to the improvement in durability and protection. These are the asphalt shingles most typically seen on most modern roofs. They are comparatively more expensive than the 3-tab, but still relatively less expensive than some of the designer options on the market. 

They offer a “middle ground” price range when choosing between architectural shingles vs. metal roofing, lightweight asphalt shingles, slate, tile roofing, wood shingles, and other options. However, their middle ground price does not mean they are a middle ground quality. 

There are many options and brands. So quality, style, and durability are the main differences, which is why these are so common.

The difference?

When it comes down to it, all that 3-tab shingles have to offer over an architectural shingle is weight. Three-tab shingles can be up to 50% lighter than architectural. With that being said, there are many heavier options to choose from when considering your roof construction and design.

Surprisingly, architectural shingles increasingly cost less than asphalt 3-tabs. This is due to the simple fact that 3-tabs are becoming less common based on demand. Architectural styles are thicker (more durable), better quality, and better looking. 

So when looking at homes, architectural shingles are what you are usually seeing, and will continue to see more often as they grow in popularity. 

Just remember that all options have negatives and positives that a roofing contractor can help you navigate when making a choice. It all depends on your wants, needs, and budget.

Decision Time

When making your decision, one major factor to keep in mind is that the shingle type can only dictate so much. There are numerous brands to choose from. Some are better quality and may provide different aspects when compared to others. 

Another important factor in your decision is to determine the quality of work that will be done by your contractor. Hiring a good contractor is paramount to ensure that whatever brand or type of shingle you choose is installed correctly. 

Asphalt shingles, though the biggest market, are still only a small sliver of the options available to homeowners nowadays. Again, just to stress the importance, there are so many factors and options involved, that you want to choose a knowledgeable and honest contractor to help guide you. By doing so, they can help you determine the best options for what you need and want while staying within your budget.

If you want to learn more about shingle roof options, contact us today to find out how Roof Lux can help you.

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