3-Tab vs Architectural Shingles - What's Best for Your Home?

Written by Posted On Tuesday, 25 April 2017 10:57

The roof is one of the most important features of a safe, comfortable house. A bad roof is a common reason prospective homeowners will pass on a house as an old or leaking roof isn't an easy problem to fix. Not to mention a roof that is already leaking has already suffered moisture damage that can't simply just be patched up.

The choice of roofing shingle is very important when considering a new roof. Many older homes may still have traditional 3-tab shingles, but just some preliminary research on roofing will show you that architectural shingles are quickly growing in popularity for a residential roof material. Before you simply replace your old roof with new 3-tab shingles you should consider architectural shingles.

What Are 3-Tab Shingles?

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The classic 3-tab roof shingles are the uniform, rectangular shingles seen on many homes. They come in varying colors but are characterized by all shingles being the same size and shape. 3-tab shingles have no dimension to them and are thinner than most other types of shingles. Most homeowners that opt for 3-tab shingles are those that are re-roofing a rental property or, perhaps, some type of less expensive house that they plan to sell soon.

Overall 3-tab shingles are a more budget-friendly option and work well for residential roofs. It is easy to find contractors that will properly install 3-tab shingles, regardless of where you live. While 3-tab shingles are declining slightly in favor they will remain a good choice as a basic laminated roofing material.

What Are Architectural Shingles?

Architectural shingled roofs are characterized by having dimensional shingles that vary in size and thickness. In a way these types of shingles replicate the look of shake-style wood roofs, but with the added color choices and more durable material associated with asphalt shingles. These laminated shingles last far longer and, even if made from the same material as 3-tab, will last longer than other types of shingles.

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Architectural shingles are tougher, can handle windstorms and harsh downpour better, and also increase the value of your home. The reason for this is a combination of how long these shingles last as well as simple curb appeal. A properly installed architectural shingle roof won't need to be replaced as quickly and it gives the house a more upscale, custom feel.

Which Should You Choose?

The choice between 3-tab or architectural shingles comes down to four factors:

1. Cost

3-tab shingles are a popular choice for homeowners that need a new roof but also have a strict budget to maintain. 3-tab shingles are less expensive overall, with architectural shingles costing about 20% to 30% more on average. The higher quality of shingle, and the longer the warranty, the more expensive. Some architectural shingles could be twice as much as run-of-the-mill 3-tabs. Installation of architectural shingles also tends to be a little more expensive.

2. Appearance

Aesthetics, or what is more visually attractive, is very much an individual opinion, but it is safe to say that based on appearance alone architectural shingles look better. The varying sizes of the shingles and the varying thickness really makes the roof stand out, without detracting from the rest of the home exterior. These shingles were introduced in the '70s as a roofing material for more expensive homes, yet they are widely available now. If you plan on eventually selling your home you can expect that the look of architectural shingles (especially if professionally installed by a trusted contractor) to help boost value.

3. Durability

One of the most important factors of a residential roofing material is the durability of it. Durability is made up of various factors but typically resistance to weather is the main one to consider. Architectural shingles can be twice as thick as regular 3-tab shingles, and this added thickness means it can handle more of what Mother Nature decides to throw at it. The added durability also makes it less likely to curl up at the edges or crack from fallen tree limbs. Architectural shingles are a particularly good choice for those that live in regions prone to storms as they are roughly twice as heavy and able to handle wind speeds twice as fast as 3-tab shingles.

4. Lifespan

Similar to durability, another thing that makes architectural shingles a good choice for either a residential roof or a commercial one is the lifespan. The better durability of architectural shingles means the roof will last longer. Warranties will vary between manufacturers but the average professionally installed 3-tab residential roof will have a 20-25 years warranty. An architectural shingle residential roof could a 40+ year warranty.

With all things considered, architectural shingles are a much better roofing material in majority of circumstances. While 3-tab shingles are still being utilized, it is recommended for homeowners to opt for architectural shingles if at all possible. While they are more expensive the combination of improved weather-resistance and longevity mean the added initial cost is well worth it in the long run.

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Matt Lee

Matt Lee is an SEO and content marketing specialist serving building material manufacturers. He’s the founder of digital marketing agency, Lead Generation Experts, and Local SEO Course, Rise Up Local, that teaches business owners how to rank higher and get more leads through search engines.

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