Posted on: May 4, 2022

What Are Architectural Shingles? What Are 3-Tab Shingles?

Architectural shingles are high-quality dimensional or laminated shingles with a fiberglass mat base and give the roof a “shake” look.

Three-tab shingles are also an asphalt-based product. They are called three-tabs because one shingle is made up of three individual tabs that are roughly 12” wide. Older versions may have an organic mat base but for the most part, a fiberglass mat base is also common with three-tab shingles.

How Do They Compare?


Architectural shingles have various sizes and shape to give them a dimensional shake look while three-tab shingles have one consistent size and shape


Architectural shingles are usually at least 40% if not heavier than a standard three-tab shingle. Three-tab shingles are flat, simple, made up of less material, and thus not as heavy.


Since architectural shingles weigh more they come with a longer manufacturer warranty. They are typically at least 30+ years whereas three-tab usually varies between 15-25 years.


Architectural shingles are more durable than three-tab. They come with a higher wind warranty if installed properly. Since they are thicker, they are more resilient to hail but are not considered hail-proof shingles by any means.


This is where it gets a bit tricky, yes architectural shingles are more expensive but not by much, depending on what you pick. That is why many roofing companies will have specials such as “free upgrade to architectural shingles” on the other hand many other roofing companies will have a big upcharge for architectural shingles even though the cost difference to them isn’t much. To give you an idea, they cost about $25 more per square (100 sq. ft) than 3 tab shingles. The average roof size in Northern Virginia is 25 squares so roughly $625 more (numbers can vary depending on your situation) which is worth the extra investment if you look at the bigger picture.


Architectural shingles definitely win here. They provide better curb appeal which can increase the resale value of your home.