3-Tab Shingles vs Architectural Shingles

Every building needs a roof. That much is obvious, but as soon as you get into choosing the roofing materials, things can get complicated. There are more roofing materials than you want to count, and each offers unique pros and cons. Even when you try to simplify and just look at one type of roofing material, there are plenty of options.

Take asphalt shingles for example. You might think that once you choose shingles for your roof, you’re done. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. There are several kinds of asphalt shingles, and two designs in particular are very popular in a wide range of cases. If you want a shingled roof, you’ll have to choose between 3-tab shingles and architectural shingles. Fortunately, you don’t need an advanced degree to make this selection. You can learn all of the essentials in just a few minutes, and they’re all laid out for you below.

What Are 3-Tab Shingles?

Three-tab shingles are a type of asphalt shingle. They are designed to use less material in production than other shingles. As a result, they are thinner and lighter than architectural shingles, and this has important consequences for their design and use.

In general, 3-tab shingles are cheaper than architectural shingles. They cost less money per square foot of roofing. Because they are light, they also take less labor to install on a roof, and they can save you money on that front as well.

But, as you might have guessed, the lighter, cheaper shingles are not as tough as their competition. Three-tab shingles are not rated for severe weather like architectural shingles are, and they don’t last as long. Three-tabs are typically rated for winds up to around 60 mph, and they usually have a 20-to-30-year warranty. In good conditions, they can outlast their warranty, but in really bad storms, they might perish before they’ve been around for 20 years.

The design of 3-tab shingles impacts more than their functionality. It also dictates the aesthetics of these shingles. In general, these very standardized shingles only come in one shape and complexion. That makes them popular in a number of commercial roofing applications. They’re also popular in cookie-cutter neighborhoods where the goal is to minimize construction costs. Whenever less is more, 3-tabs tend to be favored.

Architectural Shingles

Another type of asphalt shingle, architectural shingles are designed to be the hefty, heavy-duty shingles for roofing. They are about 50% heavier than their 3-tab counterparts, and that accounts for most of the differences. You already know that architectural shingles are tougher, but we can put some numbers on it to clarify the differences.

Architectural shingles cost about 50% more per square foot of roofing. For that extra price, you get a substantial upgrade in toughness. These shingles are typically rated for winds from 80 to 120 mph, and high-end architectural shingles can withstand winds in excess of 130 mph. Because they’re so much tougher, they typically have a minimum warranty of 30 years, and some manufacturers will warranty them for a full 50 years.

Architectural shingles also offer some major benefits for aesthetics. The thicker design allows them to be cut in a wider variety of shapes and sizes without losing structural integrity. This allows them to support more interesting roofing designs that add a lot of dimension to a look. They can also hold different colors and textures. All in all, they are vastly more appealing in terms of look, and they are heavily favored for high-end residential construction.

Which Is Better?

Both of these types of shingles exist because there is consistent demand for both. Some situations prefer the cheaper, simpler shingles, and others demand higher quality. In general, the best shingle is the one that satisfies your needs while being cost-effective, and in residential roofing, architectural shingles are almost always better. That said, saving money now with 3-tab shingles is sometimes a better route than going with the more expensive, longer-lasting option. Regardless of the shingles you select, they need to be installed. For that part of the equation, Alpine Roofing Construction is the easy choice. We’ve been taking care of commercial and residential roofs in the DFW area since 1999. In that time, we’ve mastered all kinds of roofs, including shingles. If you need roofing, we can help you weigh your options. Then, we’ll install the roof professionally and ensure that you have quality work to match your quality materials. Contact us today so we can get started as soon as possible.

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