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3-tab Shingles Vs Architectural Shingles Depiction

3-Tab Shingles vs. Architectural Shingles: The Main Differences

When it comes to getting a new roof, homeowners have a variety of materials to choose from. They can either go for the more durable yet expensive metal or stick to the reliable tiles.

Even so, most homeowners in the US choose asphalt shingles for their durability, versatility, and price. However, while most people can agree that asphalt shingles are a great choice, there is still an ongoing debate about which is better — 3-tab shingles or architectural shingles.

Fortunately, we are here to take a look at both materials and figure out which one is more suitable for your home.

The Basics of Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles are a type of roofing material that uses asphalt to provide water protection for your home. However, these shingles are not made out of asphalt entirely. In fact, they consist of a base, usually fiberglass, which is then coated with a layer of asphalt and ceramic granules. The result is a durable yet lightweight material that is much more affordable than other alternatives.

While there are many types of asphalt shingles, two of the most common are 3-tab shingles and architectural shingles. Both share the basic durability of asphalt shingles, making them an excellent choice for any home. Additionally, they are available in a variety of colors, giving homeowners the ability to customize their roofs.

The Differences Between 3-Tab Shingles and Architectural Shingles

Even though 3-tab and architectural shingles are related, they are vastly different from one another.

From their appearance to their versatility and cost, let’s see what makes those two types of shaped shingles unique.


medium brown 3 tab shingle
Medium brown 3 tab shingle

At first glance, you might not notice the difference between architectural and 3-tab shingles. However, if you take a closer look, you’ll see just how different they are. On the one hand, 3-tab shingles are designed to look like three individual shingles but are, in fact, all one piece. On the other hand, architectural shingles have an additional layer of asphalt, making them look bulkier, similar to wood or slate.

But just like we previously mentioned, both types of shingles are available in a variety of colors, so you can easily design a roof that fits your style.


Generally speaking, most asphalt shingles have a pretty impressive lifespan. However, due to their high-quality composition, architectural shingles have a longer lifespan, ranging anywhere between 15 and 25 years. And, under optimal conditions, they may even last up to 30 years.

In contrast, 3-tab shingles can last anywhere from 10 to 20 years, depending on the weather conditions. And, in areas with mild climates, they have a lifespan of up to 25 years.


architectural shingle style
Architectural shingle style

As previously mentioned, architectural shingles have an additional layer of asphalt, which drastically increases their durability. For instance, they can withstand winds of up to 110 miles per hour and are more resilient to snow and hail.

However, 3-tab shingles are much thinner as they only feature a single layer of material. Therefore, while they can still protect your home from rain, sun exposure, and snow, they aren’t as durable as architectural shingles.


When getting a new roof, homeowners want to add their personal touch to it. Luckily, the layered effect of architectural shingles leaves room for diverse shapes and sizes. So you can choose from different textures, dimensional looks, and colors.

Unfortunately, 3-tab shingles are much more rigid when it comes to their looks. They have a flat complexity and are only available in one shape and size. As a result, you’ll have a harder time putting your personal touch on the roof.


When it comes to price, it’s no mystery that architectural shingles are usually more expensive than their counterparts. Why? Because they are more durable, feature an additional layer of asphalt, and have a longer lifespan. Usually, they cost anywhere between $35 and $45 per bundle.

However, if you don’t want to invest that much in your roof, you can always go for the reliable yet cheaper 3-tab shingles. Due to their simplistic design, 3-tab shingles usually cost an average of $25 per bundle. Just keep in mind that 3-tab shingles are less durable, and you might have to replace and repair them in the future.

The Bottom Line

All in all, each type of asphalt shingle has its pros and cons. For instance, architectural shingles are very durable, yet they are harder to install and require a hefty investment. And while 3-tab shingles are cheaper, they have a shorter lifespan and require more maintenance.

In the end, it all boils down to your personal preferences. However, no matter which type of shingle you want to go for, you need to hire a reliable roofing contractor like Prime Roofing. We specialize in a variety of roofing materials, such as shingles and metal. As a result, we are able to handle any roofing project, regardless of its scale and scope.

So if you want to give your roof a makeover or simply have it checked, don’t waste any time and give us a call at (904) 530-1446.

Company Name: Prime Roofing
Address: 3500 Beachwood Ct #207, Jacksonville, FL 32224
Phone: (904) 530-1446
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