Many homeowners are unsure whether they should choose laminated architectural shingles or 3-tab composition asphalt shingles when they go for a roof replacement or build a new roof. The truth is that there are a number of advantages to both. Different roofing professionals may have a preference for working with one over the other. There are a number of differences between the two types, including differences in performance and appearance.
shingles are also sometimes referred to as laminated architectural shingles, or as dimensional or composite shingles. This type of shingle is constructed with a heavy base mat affixed to multiple material layers of asphalt to create a layered, three-dimensional look. Three-tab shingles are usually constructed to be flat without any dimensional thickness. In fact, architectural shingles generally outweigh 3-tab shingles by 50 percent.
Developed in the 1970s for use on high-end homes, dimensional shingles are offered for homeowners who want a shingle that retains the architectural appearance of a cedar shingle with the high performance of asphalt. Layered construction lends an appearance that is a lot like cedar shakes, although the laminated shingle will do a more optimal job of hiding any imperfections in the roof.
Traditionally, dimensional shingles were made from a heavy fiberglass mat base and ceramic-coated granules. Recently, a new method of making synthetic slate has hit the market. Certainteed markets this product under the name “Symphony,” for example. This new base material lets the shingles take on even more the appearance of a traditional slate tile.
Additional innovations in materials and design have brought back very realistic shingles that look like cedar shake, but provide superior protection from the elements, particularly, fire.
These new innovations are lighter than traditional materials, so there isn’t the weight concern and no need to reinforce a roof for the new shingles.
When comparing the two shingle types, it is important to note that architectural shingles tend to have a warranty of 25 to 30 years. Since they are heavier, they are less likely to undergo warping and provide great resistance to the wind. Standard 3-tab shingles are usually rated for normal wind speeds, while most architectural shingles can withstand winds of up to 120 mph.
Warranties can vary among brands. For example, many shingles from GAF and other leading brands have long warranties that make them a better buy than those that don’t come with a strong warranty.
Cost also separates architectural and 3-tab shingles. Usually, you can expect to pay at least 20 percent more for architectural shingles than for standard three-tab shingles. This is true across nearly any brand, including popular brands like Owens Corning and Malarkey. In fact, some of the higher end architectural laminate shingles can cost twice as much as 3-tab varieties.
Nonetheless, many people consider a shingle upgrade as an investment that can increase their home’s value and curb appeal. Architectural shingles are preferred enough in some communities that homeowners associations will require them.
Most roofing supply brands, including top brands like IKO and CertainTeed, offer a range of different architectural and 3-tab shingles. Homeowners and builders are often surprised to find they can choose between multiple colors and textures for a shingle to match nearly any exterior finish.
Reply! is a great source for finding a qualified roofer to install roofing for your next project or to provide a roofing estimate. Most roofing professionals prefer one or the other when it comes to 3-tab composition asphalt shingles and laminated architectural shingles. Whichever you choose should be based on the roofer’s recommendations and your specific preferences.