The St. Charles Guide To 3-Tab Shingles Vs. Architectural Shingles…
What’s The Difference?
Looks, Durability, Value… Everything!
BY JASON QUILLMAN, OWNER
Not all roofing shingles are created equal–not by a long shot. So today, I want to dive into a common question St. Charles homeowners like you have when they need a new roof…
“Do I choose 3-tab shingles or architectural shingles?”
I’ll share with you the pros and cons of each type of shingle, but you’ll see there isn’t much of a contest. We’re basically comparing frozen $2 microwaveable steak to 5-star-restaurant filet mignon.
Let’s get started, and you’ll find out why.
What Are 3-Tab Roofing Shingles?
Three-tab shingles (also called strip shingles) are the old standard of asphalt roofing. They consist of three tabs that are 12 inches wide.
Three-tab shingles are as basic as basic gets. They provide bare-minimum protection, bare-minimum aesthetics, and bare-minimum durability. As such, they cost a bare-minimum price… and deliver even lessvalue.
Three-Tab Roofing Shingles: Pros
- Cheap: 3-tab roofing shingles cost about 25-35% less than architectural shingles. This makes them a solid option for rental properties and homeowners on tight budgets.
Three-Tab Roofing Shingles: Cons
- Cheap! 3-tab shingles are a cheaper price because they’re cheaper quality. While architectural shingles can last 30 years, 3-tab shingles typically last 12-15 years.
- Poor Wind Resistance: 3-tab shingles can resist winds up to 60-70mph—less than HALF of what even low-end architectural shingles can withstand.
- Bland: 3-tab shingles are, well… boring. They lack dimension. They’re flat. They come in literally one shape and one size. They’re not the shingle you want on your home to wow guests and make neighbors jealous.
- Lackluster Value: Low lifespan, subpar performance, and “blah” curb appeal mean a poor return on investment for your dollars.
Three-Tab Shingles: Final Verdict
If you’re on an ultra-tight budget, 3-tab shingles aren’t your worst option. But set your expectations low—that rock-bottom price is because 3-tab shingles provide rock-bottom value.
Think frozen $2 microwavable steak. It works if you’re starving and only have a couple bucks in your pocket.
What Are Architectural Roofing Shingles?
Architectural shingles (also called laminate shingles and dimensional shingles) provide premium curb appeal, durability, and performance. Their secret to powerhouse performance? They’re made with a fiberglass mat base and water-resistant asphalt embedded with ceramic-coated minerals.
Architectural shingles are contoured to provide depth and dimension to your roof. They can cast striking shadow lines and accurately mimic styles like cedar shake, clay, and slate.
Architectural shingles are a higher up-front investment than 3-tab shingles, but they are a MUCH stronger long-term value.
Architectural Roofing Shingles: Pros
- Durable: Architectural shingles are about 50% heavier than 3-tab shingles and can easily last 30 years (2 to 3 times longer than 3-tab!).
- Max Wind Resistance: The average architectural shingle can withstand 130mph winds; the best ones have unlimited wind resistance.
- Max Fire Resistance: Great architectural shingles (such as GAF’s Timberline shingles) have Class A fire resistance—the highest possible flame-resistance rating.
- Versatile Beauty: The depth, dimension, and variety of architectural shingles can help transform your home into the neighborhood’s showpiece.
- Beefy Warranties: While 3-tab shingles often carry a warranty of 20 or 30 years (maximum), most architectural shingles come with a LIFETIME warranty.
- Premium Value: Because of the benefits above, architectural shingles provide sky-high return on investment compared to 3-tab shingles.
Architectural Roofing Shingles: Cons
- More Expensive: Architectural shingles cost about 25-35% more than 3-tab shingles.
- Harder Installation: Due to vastly superior quality, architectural shingles require installation from a skilled PROFESSIONAL (“Chuck-In-Trucks” and Craigslist contractors need not apply).
Architectural Roofing Shingles: Final Verdict
When it comes to roof replacement in the St. Louis metro area, you get what you pay for. And when you invest in architectural roofing shingles, you pay for EXCELLENCE. Period.
Think filet mignon. Architectural shingles aren’t the cheapest; they’re simply the best quality.
Want Architectural Shingles? Consider Financing
Think you lack the budget for architectural shingles? Think again.
At XteriorPRO, we offer excellent financing on our architectural-shingle GAF roof replacement system. Our financing can break down your roof-replacement costs into comfortable, budget-friendly monthly installments.
It’s win-win. You get the best possible roof for your home… at payments that work for YOU.
Visit our Shingles Options page to explore GAF’s architectural shingle collections. Then get in touch if you’d like to know more about our company, products, or financing. It would be an honor to hear from you.