Architectural Vs 3-Tab Shingles: A Comparison Of Three Major Issues

Composition shingles are usually manufactured with a fiberglass base followed by different layers of other materials. Architectural shingles have a heavier fiberglass mat base, as well as more layers of materials, than 3-tab shingles. Apart from the difference in their composition, they also have other dissimilarities in other areas such as:


Most manufacturers offer their architectural shingles with 30 -, 40, or 50-year warranties, and you know a warranty is a reflection of how much a manufacturer expects a product to last. On the other hand, 3-tab shingles have an average lifespan of 15-20 years.

Architectural shingles can last that long because they are heavier and thicker than their 3-tab counterparts. This means they do not break easily when acted upon by wind forces, hail, snow or even foot traffic. Also, they take a long time to deteriorate due to weather elements such as snowfall, rain and temperature fluctuations.

Curb Appeal

Curb appeal may be subjective because people have different tastes when it comes to roof appearance. However, it seems that many homeowners agree that architectural shingles are more appealing than their 3-tab counterparts.

This is probably because of their appearance, which is often described as "dimensional" because the actual shingles are of different shapes and sizes. Once they are installed on the roof, their look resembles that of wood shakes. This contrasts with 3-tab shingles, which come in a single shape and size.

Therefore, if you are planning to sell your house in the near future, then you should consider the architectural shingles. Their attractiveness may help to attract more buyers to your property.


An architectural shingle is more expensive, at an approximate cost of $97.5 a square, than 3-tab shingles that may go for $88.5. This is understandable given that given that the more expensive material:

  • Is more durable,
  • Offers better resistance to wind,
  • And is considered by many to offer superior curb appeal.

The above figures are approximate quotes, but you should expect the actual prices to vary depending on:

  • Location,
  • Brand,
  • Warranty,
  • Color,
  • And quantity. (buying in bulk is cheaper)

Therefore, you must consider all these variables when you want to know the actual price you will pay for the shingles.

Most homeowners consider the three issues above as some of the most important when analyzing composition roofing. Obviously, other factors (other than these three) come into play when choosing a roofing material. In addition, some specific characteristics of a material may differ depending on the manufacturer.