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Architectural Shingles vs 3 Tab (Installation, Cost …)

Posted By: Matt Watson

When it comes to roofing materials, two options that often come up in discussions are architectural shingles and 3-tab shingles. If you are looking at replacing your roof in the near future, it might be challenging to pick which one is right for you!

Both have their own set of characteristics, advantages, and drawbacks. In this blog post, we’ll delve into:

  • The differences between these two types of shingles
  • What they are
  • Their pros and cons
  • The cost associated with installation
  • Their longevity

Keep reading to discover who wins, in the battle of architectural shingles vs. 3 tab shingles!

What are Architectural Shingles?

architectural shingles

Architectural shingles, also known as laminated or dimensional shingles, are a premium roofing option known for their durability and aesthetic appeal. These shingles are constructed from multiple layers of asphalt material, with each layer having a different texture and color. This layered design gives architectural shingles a three-dimensional appearance, mimicking the look of natural materials like slate or cedar wood.

One of the key features of architectural shingles is their thickness and weight, which makes them more resistant to wind uplift and impact damage compared to 3-tab shingles. They typically have a longer lifespan as well, often lasting up to 30 years or more depending on the quality of the materials and the installation.

What are 3-Tab Shingles?

3 tab shingles

3-tab shingles are a more traditional and budget-friendly option for roofing. These shingles are made from a single layer of asphalt material and have a flat, uniform appearance. They are called “3-tab” because each shingle has three tabs, which are the sections that create the illusion of individual shingles when installed.

While 3-tab shingles are less expensive than architectural shingles, they are also thinner and lighter, making them more susceptible to damage from strong winds and hail. Additionally, 3-tab shingles have a shorter lifespan, typically lasting around 15-20 years.

Pros and Cons of Architectural Shingles

Architectural shingles may be the industry standard, but that doesn’t mean that they come without drawbacks. Here are some factors to consider:

✅ Pros:

  • Enhanced aesthetic appeal due to the three-dimensional texture and varied color options.
  • Superior durability and resistance to wind uplift, impact damage, and weathering.
  • Longer lifespan, often lasting 30 years or more.
  • Higher resale value, as architectural shingles are considered a premium roofing option.


  • Higher initial cost compared to 3-tab shingles.
  • More complex installation process due to the thicker and heavier nature of architectural shingles.

Pros and Cons of 3-Tab Shingles

Just like architectural shingles, 3 tab asphalt shingles have a lot of pros and cons that you should reasearch, as homeowners. Here are just a few:

✅ Pros:

  • Lower initial cost, making them a budget-friendly roofing option.
  • Simpler installation process due to the lighter weight and uniform design of 3-tab shingles.


  • Limited aesthetic options, as 3-tab shingles have a flat, uniform appearance.
  • Less durable and more prone to damage from wind, hail, and other weather elements.
  • Shorter lifespan, typically lasting 15-20 years.

Cost to Install New Shingles

The cost of installing new shingles can vary depending on various factors such as the type of shingles chosen, the size and complexity of the roof, the location, and the contractor’s labor rates. On average, homeowners can expect to pay between $3.50 to $5.00 per square foot for architectural shingles installation, while 3-tab shingles typically cost between $2.50 to $4.00 per square foot.

How Much Does a New Shingle Roof Cost?

For a standard 1,500 square foot roof, the total cost of installing architectural shingles can range from $5,250 to $7,500, while the cost for 3-tab shingles would be between $3,750 to $6,000. Keep in mind that these are rough estimates, and actual costs may vary based on the factors mentioned earlier.

How Long Do Shingle Roofs Last?

The longevity of a shingle roof depends on various factors such as the quality of the materials, the installation technique, climate conditions, and maintenance. Again, architectural shingles typically last around 30 years or more, while 3-tab shingles have a shorter lifespan of 15-20 years.

Get The Right Roofing Material for Your Home

Both architectural shingles and 3-tab shingles have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. While architectural shingles offer superior durability, aesthetic appeal, and longevity, they come with a higher initial cost. On the other hand, 3-tab shingles are more budget-friendly but have a shorter lifespan and limited aesthetic options.

Ultimately, the choice between these two types of shingles depends on factors such as budget, aesthetic preferences, and long-term investment goals. Consulting with a professional roofing contractor can help homeowners make an informed decision based on their specific needs and circumstances.

Ready to get started on your roofing project? Springfield Roofing can help! Contact us today to learn all about asphalt shingles and the different benefits of the various styles.

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