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Organic and 3-tab composition asphalt shingles: a brief primer

Definitions and a brief overview of performance comparisons between organic and 3-tab composition asphalt shingles

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Organic asphalt shingles and 3-tab composition asphalt shingles are two common options for roofing materials. Comparing organic and 3-tab asphalt shingle roofing will give you an idea of which option to select when the time comes to replace your roof or select a roofing material for a new home.

Organic, in this context, refers to the composition of the core underneath the asphalt shingle's exterior; organic cores are often longer lasting than fiberglass cores. 3-tab refers to the shape of the shingle itself, and is used in comparison with more expensive architectural shingles.

3-tab asphalt shingesOrganic asphalt and 3-tab asphalt shingles do not necessarily fall into separate categories; a 3-tab asphalt shingle can also be an organic asphalt shingle. The choice of shingle comes down to your budget, your building's location, and how long you would like the roof to last.

Advantages of organic shingles

  • Longer lifetime
  • Resists cracking
  • Easy installation

Disadvantages of organic shingles

  • Paper core increases flammability
  • Asphalt content makes them less environmentally friendly
  • Some varieties are less resistant to wind

Advantages of 3-tab shingles

  • Lower roofing cost than architectural shingles
  • Create a more sophisticated look with fewer shingles
  • More design options
  • Longevity (some come with warranties of up to fifty years)

(If you are building in an area with high wind, 3-tab shingles may not be the best choice, as they are less resistant to strong gusts. Also, because each shingle contains three individual tabs, careful during installation is required to create a seamless look.)

Disadvantages of 3-tab shingles

  • Generally, shorter lifespan than architectural shingles
  • Higher installation costs
  • Often have low wind ratings
  • Tend to show roof defects
  • More of a challenge for do-it-yourselfers

Companies who manufacture both organic and 3-tab asphalt shingles include:

If you want the look of a 3-tab shingle roof with the extended lifetime of the organic shingle core, look for a manufacturer that offers a 3-tab, organic asphalt shingle option.

Reply! can put you in contact with local roofing professionals who can offer you the choice between organic and 3-tab composition asphalt roofing shingles.

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