Your Local Charlottesville Roofing Contractor

Pros and Cons of Architectural Shingles vs. 3-Tab Shingles

Architectural shingles are composed of a fiberglass mat base, layered with ceramic coated minerals that are embedded in water-resistant asphalt. 3-Tab shingles are uniformly shaped and sized and require less material. Odds are that when you are looking at roofing materials these will be among your first options. Here is a list of the pros and cons of each so that you can make an informed purchase for your home.


Your home is a long-term investment, which is why the build materials you choose should be durable. 3-Tab shingles come in 20, 25, and 30-year warranties. Generally, its life expectancy is 12 to 15 years.

Architectural shingles come with a minimum 30-year warranty, though many are now coming with lifetime warranties. Because they are two strips laminated together, they form a thicker and more robust structure. When it comes to durability, the unmistakable winner is the architectural shingle.


Depending on the brand, 3-Tab shingles typically cost $0.72 to $0.89 per square foot. By comparison, the architectural shingle retails anywhere from $0.84 to $1.55. That means the average architectural shingle costs about 20 to 35 percent more.

This price difference is mainly due to the additional costs associated with the composition. Architectural shingles have higher-quality materials that boost longevity and weather-resistance. But, if you are on a budget, the more appealing option is the 3-Tab shingle. 


Your home is ground zero when it comes to adding your personal touch. This isn’t just restricted to interior decoration; your exterior and your roof are further avenues to express your aesthetic vision. Certainly, roofs provide a crucial function as your home’s first line of defense from weather conditions. However, tailoring it to fit your preferences might be something that interests you. 

With regards to customization, the 3-Tab shingle does not have much to offer. It comes in just one shape and size. The architectural shingle, however, provides you with a plethora of options. Homeowners can create a variety of looks and dimensions, depending on their preferences. Therefore, the clear winner in the diversity category is the architectural shingle.


This side-by-side comparison is not meant to be a popularity contest, though it is worth noting what is trending among homeowners. Decades ago, the 3-Tab shingle was the most popular style in roofing, but that enthusiasm has since waned. Part of that is because the shingles lie so flat on the roof that it exposes any inconsistencies it might have.

On the other hand, architectural shingles are soaring in demand. It has higher wind and hail resistance, better curb appeal, and more extended manufacturer warranties. That’s why more people than ever are opting for architectural shingles.

Final Thoughts

Picking out roof shingles can be a daunting task. Your roof is one of the first things people notice about a home, plus it’s the first line of defense against the elements. The architectural shingle is the stronger all-around product, though homeowners on tight budgets may want to consider the 3-Tab shingle. If you have any questions about roofing materials, don’t hesitate to contact Superior Roofing in Charlottesville, VA at (434) 215-0661.