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3-Tab Shingles vs Architectural Shingles 

5 minutes

These two types of roofing shingles have many similarities, but they also have distinct differences. 3-tab shingles are rectangular and are the most basic type of shingles that you can purchase. They come in a range of colors and are relatively inexpensive, making them a popular choice for homeowners. Architectural shingles, on the other hand, have a more textured and dimensional look. They are both asphalt shingles, but architectural shingles have a heavier and thicker base layer that gives them a more durable and long-lasting quality. 

Asphalt Shingles 101 

Asphalt shingles have become one of the most popular roofing materials for homes due to their affordability, durability, and relatively easy installation. 3-tab and architectural shingles are both asphalt shingles, but they have distinct differences that could make one a better choice for your roofing project than the other. 

We have made a comparison of several different roofing materials to consider for your home and found that asphalt roofing is the best for its affordability, durability, and longevity. Asphalt shingles are the most popular type of roofing materials as more than 80% of homes in the United States have an asphalt roof. Asphalt shingles are durable, easy to install, and come in a range of colors and styles to choose from. If you are looking for a more budget-friendly option, 3-tab shingles might be the right choice for you. If you want a more durable and long-lasting roof, architectural shingles might be a better investment.  

The Difference Between 3-tab Shingles and Architectural Shingles 

3-Tab Asphalt Shingles

The difference between 3-tab shingles and architectural shingles is the shape and appearance, the lifespan of the shingles, their durability and how they are installed, colors and styles, as well as the price. Below we’ll break down each of these differences and explain why you should choose one over the other.  

Shape & Appearance 

3-tab shingles are long rectangular pieces of asphalt shingles, that may look like individual shingles, but they are actually three pieces of shingles that are connected. They are the most basic looking shingle compared to others. Architectural shingles on the other hand require 2 layers of asphalt which makes them thicker, bulkier and better durability than 3-tab shingles. 

Lifespan & Durability 

Architectural asphalt roof

The lifespan of 3-tab shingles is 10-20 years, while architectural shingles can last up to 30 years. 3-tab shingles are not as durable as architectural shingles, as they are more prone to wind and hail damage. They are also more likely to curl and crack over time. Architectural shingles are a better choice if you want a roof that will last longer and a more reliable and durable option. 

Since architectural shingles are thicker, they are much more durable against wind and hail damage, and they are also less likely to curl and crack over time. 3-tab shingles are much thinner and do well with sunlight, wind, and snow they are less superior to their asphalt counterpart. If you want a roof that will last longer and be more reliable and durable, architectural shingles are the better choice. 

Colors & Styles 

Both of these types of asphalt shingles come in a variety of colors and styles to choose from. While 3-tab shingles have a more limited selection of styles as they usually only come in one size, shape and have a flat look. 3-tab shingles come in a wide range of colors and can come in with just about any color that architectural shingles also come in. Architectural shingles come in a more dimensional look and comes in a wide range of colors. As a GAF Master Elite contractor, DaBella is able to offer our roof replacements with exclusive colors for our homeowners to really set their homes apart from the rest If you want more options for the look of your roof, architectural shingles are the better choice.

Cost differences between 3-Tab vs Architectural shingles  

The cost difference between 3-tab and architectural shingles is not an enormous difference but their architectural shingles tend to be more expensive. This is because they are thicker and more durable and do take more time to install. The higher cost may be worth it in the long run because architectural shingles do tend to last longer and are less prone to maintenance problems in the future with their durable qualities. If you were looking to sell your home in the future the return on investment for architectural shingles is much higher. It could be a selling point for a new home buyer wanting to do little work for their newly purchased home in the future.

Which is the Best Asphalt Shingle for Your Home?  

So, now that you know the differences, which is the best asphalt shingle for your home? Here are a few things to consider. If you want a roof that is going to last a long time, is durable and has a unique look , then architectural shingles are the way to go. They are thicker and can withstand more wear and tear than 3-tab shingles. Also, architectural shingles give an updated and unique style to your home that 3-tab shingles cannot. Modernize your home with DaBella’s fantastic roof replacements and GAF materials that will make a dramatic difference to your home’s appearance as well as the performance and protection of your home. 

Contact DaBella today to Learn more About our Roof Replacements 

Now that you know more about the differences between 3-tab shingles and architectural shingles, you can make a more informed decision about which is the best type of shingle for your home. If you are interested in seeing what DaBella and GAF materials can do for your home, contact DaBella at 844-DaBella today to learn more about our products and installation. See the transformation of your home with DaBella. 


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Steven Shortridge

District Manager

Portland, OR

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