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

Your roof is one of the most durable parts of your house. Most people who own homes live there for about 13 years. Your roof is liable to last for at least 15 years without significant structural damage or decay. 

Part of what makes roofing so strong is its shingles. In this case, we’re referring to asphalt shingles. This article will be comparing two kinds of asphalt shingles; 3-tab shingles and architectural shingles.

“Well, what’s the difference between the two?” you might ask. As it turns out, there are vital distinctions between both types of shingles. We’re going to discuss those distinctions below. 

We’ll talk about how long each shingle lasts and which one is better for commercial and residential roofing. We’ll also discuss when you should consider a roof replacement and how to maintain your roof correctly. 

Do Architectural or 3-Tab Shingles Last Longer?

The shortest amount of time an asphalt roof lasts is 15 years. An asphalt roof’s longest average life expectancy is up to 30 years. Asphalt is generally cheap, hardy, and can withstand various weather conditions. 

There are differences between each type of shingle’s longevity, though. 3-tab shingles may last from 15 to 20 years. Architectural (or laminate) shingles are more durable and last from 20 to 30 years.

Architectural shingles are thicker than their 3-tab counterparts. The former is approximately 50% heavier than the latter, and they have a more substantial base mat underneath the layered asphalt.

Shingle Construction

While we’re on the subject of shingle construction, let’s talk about how manufacturers make both shingles. Of course, both shingles are made of asphalt and have granules on their top layers. 

Both 3-tab and architectural shingles have fiberglass underlayers also. 3-tap shingles differ because of the edge notches on the bottom of each one. These edge notches make them easy to install. 

Architectural shingles have a thicker fiberglass base and are dipped into water-resistant asphalt so manufacturers can mold them into the desired shape. Laminate shingles can take any form, so they’re harder to install. 

Shingle Wind Resistance

3-tab shingles are thinner, so they have lower wind resistance. 3-tabs are rated for winds up to around 60 miles per hour. Laminate shingles are hardier and heavier, so it’s harder for the wind to lift them off your roof. 

Architectural shingles can withstand 80 miles per hour of wind speeds. The maximum wind speed your architectural shingles could take before blowing away is up to 120 miles per hour. 

Shingle Cost

3-tab shingles are the cheapest kind of asphalt shingles you can buy. You can expect to pay $25 to $30 per bundle of 3-tab shingles. Meanwhile, architectural shingles can run $35 to $45 for every bundle. 

The cost differential is a definite “You get what you buy” situation. 3-tabs aren’t as durable, so it makes sense that you’d pay less for them. We want to mention that the lower cost doesn’t make them a terrible choice for roofs.

Shingle Warranty

The average length of an asphalt roof warranty is 25 years. 3-tab shingles aren’t liable to last as long as architectural ones, so they have a shorter 25 to 30 years warranty. Laminate shingles have 50-year warranties. 

Shingle Aesthetics

Whichever kind of shingle you pick is ultimately your choice, but there are apparent differences between the two. 3-tab shingles are flatter and have a uniform appearance. Architectural shingles can come in various colors. 

Architectural shingles also go by “dimensional shingles” because they have a more three-dimensional look. You can buy architectural shingles that look like slate and cedar as well. 

Signs You May Need a Roof Replacement

There are various tells that your roof is beyond what a roofing contractor can do to repair it. Certain signs are strong indications that you need to look into getting a roof replacement. Here’s a quick list of what to look out for:

  • Neighbors are getting new roofs
  • Moss is growing on the roof surface and between shingles
  • Your shingles are curling around the edges
  • Granules are missing, and there are bald patches on your shingles
  • Your roof looks old and worn out
  • You have cracked shingles
  • Your roof is at least 20 years old

You can probably fix some of these issues with some roof maintenance. Curling shingles and cracked shingles can probably be replaced, for example. You can clean the moss from your roof also. 

You should know that moss can grow and ruin your roof to a “point of no return.” Once the plant starts moving shingles and rotting wood, you need a roof replacement. 

Regardless of what may be going on, you should contact a roofing contractor if you see these problems on your roof. While these problems may not be a big deal, they can also be signs of critical damage. 

What Are Commercial Roofing Shingles? 

If you have a commercial building, you might be wondering if there’s a specific kind of shingle you should use for the roof. Honestly, there is no particular kind of commercial roofing shingle. Use what you want. 

Provided your roof slopes, you can use 3-tab or architectural shingles. Neither one is better than the other for commercial buildings. However, there are some things you have to consider before choosing shingles. 

Unlike residential buildings, commercial buildings have specific purposes to fulfill for long durations. Let’s say your commercial building is a bakery or restaurant. These buildings put off a lot of heat from the kitchens. 

Buildings used for cooking have to vent oils, fats, and grease through the roof, and eventually, the accumulation will degrade your asphalt roof. Contact a roofing contractor if you’re unsure what kind of shingles to use. 

In Need of Roofing Services?

There are considerable differences between the 3-tab and architectural shingles. 3-tab shingles are more uniform, cheaper, less durable, and last 20 years. Architectural shingles cost more, are hardy, and last up to 30 years.

Be on the lookout for curling or cracked shingles. Either one may indicate that you need a roof replacement. Neither type of shingle is better for commercial roofing. 

MidState Roofing can handle all your commercial or residential roofing needs in the Effingham, IL area. If you’ve got any questions or concerns, you can contact us here for more information. 

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