Architectural Shingles vs. 3-Tab Shingles: What You Need To Know

Architectural Shingles vs. 3-Tab Shingles: What You Need To Know

If you’re in the process of replacing your roof or building a new home, you may be wondering which type of asphalt shingle is the best choice. Some years earlier, 3-tab shingles were very dominant on the residential roofing market. But asphalt shingles have undergone various developments, and manufacturers are trying to improve this simple shingle. These developments have given rise to another quality roofing shingle, known as architectural shingles.

In this post, we’ll compare the two main types of asphalt roofing shingles: architectural shingles and 3-tab shingles. We’ll cover the differences between the two and the pros and cons of each option. By the end of this post, you should understand which type of shingle will be the right choice for your roofing needs.

Also Read: Home Maintenance Checklist 2023

What Are 3-Tab Shingles?

3-tab shingles are one of the oldest and simplest types of asphalt shingles that you can get on the roofing market. 3-tab shingles, also known as three-tab or strip shingles, are a type of roofing shingle made up of a flat, rectangular shape with two cutouts or “tabs” on the lower end of the shingle.

3-Tab Shingles

Why Are These Shingles Called ‘Tab Shingles’?

These cutouts create a pattern of three separate sections on each shingle, giving the shingles a distinctive appearance. “3-tab” refers to the three sections or tabs on each shingle. These asphalt shingles are the most affordable among the three major categories of shingles. They are manufactured with a single layer of asphalt backed by fiberglass.

3-tab shingles were once the most popular type of roofing shingle, but they have primarily been replaced by other types of shingles, such as architectural shingles, which offer greater durability and a more attractive appearance.

What Is An Architectural Shingle?

Architectural shingles are becoming quite popular in New Jersey. Most homeowners prefer these modern shingles. Their composition is similar to that of the traditional 3-tab shingle, but there is a difference in the quality and quantity of the materials used.

Architectural shingles are also known as dimensional shingles or laminate shingles, as they have a layered appearance when installed correctly. These are a type of roofing shingle that is made up of multiple layers of asphalt and fiberglass reinforcement. Usually, two layers of asphalt are laminated together to create a single architectural shingle. These shingles are designed to have a more textured, dimensional look, with various shapes, sizes, and colors available.

However, architectural shingles do have some drawbacks. They are generally more expensive than 3-tab shingles in terms of material and labor costs.

Architectural Shingles Vs 3-Tab Shingles Architectural Shingles Vs 3-Tab Shingles

Image Source:

Architectural Shingles Vs. 3 Tab: A Comparison

Now that we have discussed both types of asphalt shingles and their composition, let us compare the architectural and 3-tab asphalt shingles to better understand which one will be better for your roof.

Below we will differentiate between the shingles on the following parameters:

  • Composition
  • Lifespan
  • Appearance
  • Durability
  • Cost
  • Warranty
  • Installation Process

Let us discuss a bit more about these parameters.


The first thing we will consider in this comparison of the composition of both these shingles. As discussed in the above section, classic 3-tab shingles use asphalt, fiberglass, and other minerals.

However, the architectural shingles are thicker. They have a dual-layer composition, which means more layers of material are added, they are heavier, and use stronger adhesives and materials. They will not blow away as easily due to strong winds.


Lifespan is also a crucial factor to consider while deciding between architectural vs 3-tab shingles. Overall, the main difference in lifespan between architectural shingles and 3-tab shingles is that architectural shingles tend to last longer. These shingles can easily last for more than 30-35 years.

3-tab shingles, on the other hand, are made of a single layer of asphalt and have a flat, uniform appearance. They are thinner and less durable than architectural shingles and therefore have a shorter lifespan of around 15-25 years.


One of the significant advantages of asphalt shingles is their appearance. Both shingles can improve your home’s curb appeal, and both these shingles are available in a variety of color options. Additionally, architectural shingles tend to have a more attractive aesthetic appeal than 3-tab shingles, with a wide range of colors and styles available to suit different architectural styles and personal preferences.

Architectural shingles are not only aesthetically pleasing, but they are also more versatile. You will not only find a wider variety of color options, but you also get the chance to experiment with different styles. Architectural shingles have a dimensional appearance and are available in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Architectural Shingles Are Great Imitators 

These shingles are available in different textures and can imitate other popular roofing materials. They can resemble the look of cedar shakes (natural wood) and slate roofing materials. So choose architectural shingles if you want the look of premium roofing materials at a much lower cost than the original materials.


Durability in asphalt shingles is the measure of how well the shingles can withstand harsh weather conditions and other miscellaneous factors on your roof.

Generally, architectural shingles are much more durable than 3-tab shingles. There are several reasons for the increased durability. First, the architectural shingles are thicker since they involve two layers of asphalt material joined together with stronger adhesives.

Also, an architectural shingle roof can withstand severe weather. They are more resistant to weathering and wear and tear and may last longer before you need to replace your roof. They also offer better protection against extreme weather conditions, such as strong winds and hail.


Cost is crucial when choosing a roofing material for your roofing system. Replacement cost is the first thing you need to consider before making a decision.

Architectural shingles cost more than traditional asphalt shingles in terms of materials and labor costs. The added strength and attractiveness of architectural shingle roofs may be worth the higher cost for some homeowners, but for others, the lower cost of 3-tab shingles may be more appealing.

3-tab shingles are the most affordable option. You can consider this asphalt shingle even on a tight budget.


Warranties are important regardless of the roofing material you install on your roof. The warranty that comes with the shingles can help provide you with peace of mind. This factor is often the difference between mediocre, and world-class shingle manufacturers.

The top manufacturers of architectural shingle roofs offer an excellent limited lifetime warranty, which is better than the traditional 3-tab shingle variants. Many new types of shingles also come with warranties against black streaks on the roof and strong winds.

Installation process

3-tab shingles are generally easier to install than architectural shingles, as they are lighter and simpler in design. They may require less labor and time to install, which can reduce the project’s overall cost. On the other hand, an architectural shingled roof may have a longer installation process, which is due to the heavier nature of this material.

However, it is essential to note that proper installation is crucial for the performance and longevity of any type of roofing shingle. Therefore, hiring a qualified, experienced professional for your roofing project is important.

Which Asphalt Shingle Should You Choose?

When deciding between architectural shingles and 3-tab shingles, it’s important to consider various factors. Some of the factors are given below:

  • Your budget: If you are on a tight budget, then you can consider the 3-tab shingle. However, if you can spend a little more, you can find a much better roofing shingle in terms of performance.
  • The style of your home: If you have a modern-styled home, then architectural shingles are a better choice. Three-tab shingles fit more traditional homes.
  • The Climate in your area: 3-tab roof shingles are suitable for mild weather conditions, while architectural shingles are able to withstand harsher weather conditions.

Architectural shingles are generally the more expensive roofing shingle, but they also offer better performance and a longer lifespan. 3-tab shingles are more affordable, but they may not hold up well over time.

Ultimately, your best choice will depend on your specific needs and circumstances. It’s always a good idea to do your own research and consult with a professional before making a decision.

Architectural Shingle

Best Architectural Shingle Manufacturers

There are several reputable manufacturers of architectural shingles, which are also known as laminate or dimensional shingles. Some of the top architectural shingle manufacturers include the following:


GAF is a leading manufacturer of roofing products, including a wide range of architectural shingles. They offer a variety of styles, colors, and sizes to choose from, as well as a range of warranties to suit different needs. Timberline HDZ is one of the most architectural shingle ranges that are highly resistant, and available in various colors.

Owens Corning:

Owens Corning is another well-known manufacturer of roofing products, including architectural shingles. They offer a range of styles, colors, and sizes. Their shingles come with high wind protection and algae resistance.

Also Read: Best Owens Corning Shingles Of 2022


CertainTeed is a leading manufacturer of high-quality building products; the company is a subsidiary of Saint Gobain. They offer architectural shingles in a range of styles and colors. The shingles also come with a lifetime limited warranty. Their best shingles include Landmark and Presidential Shake.

Get The Best Asphalt Shingles Installation Services In New Jersey

If you have decided to install or replace an asphalt shingle roof, then all you need to do is contact the team of Champion Exteriors. We have more than 85 years of experience in the roofing industry. Our team of skilled professionals is experienced in asphalt shingle installation, and we take great care to ensure that each job is done to the highest standards.

Our team has the expertise to install the best quality roof shingles manufactured by some of the best companies in the world, such as GAF, Owens Corning, and CertainTeed.

So what are you waiting for? Get ahead with your new roof installation or replacement process now. Contact us today at, (609) 845-3576.