3-Tab vs. Architectural c: Which Is Right for You?

As a homeowner, you’re always looking for the best products and services that will add value to your home. When it comes time to replace or upgrade your roofing system, there are some major decisions that need to be made—and nothing’s more important than picking out the right type of shingle. 

Should you stick with basic 3-tab roofing shingles or go all in with premium architectural ones? Whether you’re replacing an existing roof or working on a new construction project, this decision can make a huge difference in your property’s look and long-term performance. Let’s get into knowing what are 3-Tab shingles and architectural Shingles and discuss what exactly makes these two types of shingles unique so you can figure out exactly which one is best suited for your next roof installation.

 What Are 3-Tab And Architectural Roof Shingles

3-tab and architectural roof shingles are popular options for homeowners looking to update the look of their homes. 3-tab shingles provide a classic, traditional look that is often seen in older homes. Architectural shingles offer more of a modern, contemporary look with an array of colors and styles available. Both types of roof shingles are made from asphalt and come with various warranties depending on the manufacturer. 

Difference Between 3-Tab And Architectural Roof Shingles (Which One Is A Better Option)


3-tab shingles are thinner and feature a flat appearance with an even look after the installation is complete. These are the most affordable options and provide decent protection, but they offer a more limited range of colors and patterns than architectural shingles. On the other hand, architectural shingles provide greater visual flair with overlapping tabs that give texture to a roofline. They come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, colors, and textures for enhanced curb appeal that would make any house look amazing.


From the standpoint of homeowners, it’s important to obtain a roof that will not need repair or replacement for years to come. Architectural shingles are a more substantial material than 3-tab models and thus provide higher resistance to weather conditions – from UV damage to wind and rain intrusion. The individual units in an architectural roof system are thicker and heavier than 3-tab style models, allowing them to retain adhesion better over time despite exposure to harsh elements outside. So if you’re looking for durable protection for your home against the elements, you’ll want to consider upgrading from 3-tab shingles and investing in an architecturally styled roofing system.


When it comes to cost, 3-Tab Shingles tend to be cheaper upfront due to their thinner build, but those savings don’t come without risks; expect to put on a new coat of shingles every 10-15 years for this option as it isn’t quite as durable as its architectural sibling. On the other hand, Architectural Shingles have greater long-term value; they cost more upfront but will last 20-30 years before needing a replacement. With higher quality materials and impressive lifespan, Architectural Shingles tend to make more sense financially in the end.


3-tab shingles are traditional and one of the earliest forms of asphalt roofing. They consist of three separate units with no curve or additional design elements. Your typical square of 3- Tab shingles covers up to 33 feet – making for a quick and easy installation requiring minimal tools and nails. Architectural roof shingles, also known as dimensional ones, give an eye-catching blistered look with higher ridges, curves, and additional dapples. These require special tools for installation since they feature heavier-weight material that is thicker for stability against strong weather conditions.

Now that you know a little more about 3-Tab and architectural roofing shingles, you can make a more informed decision when it comes time to re-roof your home. 

If you’re unsure whether to go with 3-tab or architectural roof shingles, be sure to consult a professional. They will be able to help you weigh the pros and cons of each type of shingle in relation to your specific home and needs. For example, if you live in an area with severe weather conditions, they may recommend one type over the other. Ultimately, the decision comes down to personal preference and budget. Architectural roof shingles are more expensive than 3-tab but offer higher protection and curb appeal. No matter which type of shingle you choose, make sure you do your research and select a quality product from a trusted manufacturer.

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