3-Tab vs Architectural: Comparing Shingles and Why Architectural Work Better

Building on Quality & Trust

Your new roof should last for many years, so choosing the right materials is essential. The materials you purchase should meet your needs and expectations in terms of durability, warranty, cost, and aesthetics. Asphalt shingles have much to offer. They come in an array of colors, textures, and styles. They are also affordable, making them a cost-effective solution for countless homeowners across northeast Ohio.

Before you make a buying choice, you may find it helpful to compare the advantages of 3-tab shingles versus architectural asphalt shingles. Both are varieties of asphalt shingles, and each type provides different benefits.


These two types of asphalt shingles also differ in their appearance. 3-tab shingles are flat, and they have a single tab shape and size. They are uniform, which gives them a flat look.

Architectural shingles are also referred to as dimensional shingles. This is because they provide a more dimensional look to the roof. Each shingle appears more dimensional because it is; multiple layers of materials adhere to the base. These shingles can be made to resemble cedar shakes, which may add much to a home’s curb appeal. They can also be constructed to simulate the look of slate, but without the added weight that slate would bring to a roof.


The overall cost of both types of shingles is relative. Although 3-tab shingles may be less expensive to install, they usually need to be repaired and replaced sooner than architectural shingles.


Because of their durability and high-quality composition, architectural shingles generally have a longer lifespan than the 3-tab variety. They stand up better to weather conditions such as heat, snow, ice, rain, and strong winds. Their average lifespan is about 18 to 20 years. However, they may last up to 30 years under optimal conditions. When 3-tab shingles are exposed regularly to severe weather, they may last about 7 to 10 years. In areas with mild climates, they may last as long as 12 to 15 years.

Physical Composition

Because 3-tab shingles and architectural shingles are both asphalt shingles, they are similar in composition. They are both made with asphalt and adhesives, as well as granules for the outermost layer and fiberglass for the backing.

The primary differences between the two are the amount of material used, as well as the overall quality of each product. Architectural shingles are about 50 percent heavier and more substantial than 3-tab shingles. The base mat on an architectural shingle is thicker than that on a 3-tab shingle, making the architectural shingle a sturdier roofing material. Architectural shingles also comprise stronger adhesives, and they have more granules on their top surface. They are also made from the asphalt of a finer quality than 3-tab shingles.


The warranties that come with these shingles are reflective of their overall value. Since 3-tab shingles have a shorter lifespan, they have shorter warranties. 3-tab shingles generally have warranties of 25 to 30 years. Architectural shingles typically come with warranties of 50 years, and some of them may even have lifetime warranties.

Wind Ratings

The two shingle types yield different wind resistance ratings. While there may be some subtle variations, 3-tab shingles are generally rated for winds of up to approximately 60 miles per hour (mph). Since architectural shingles are thicker and of higher quality, it makes sense that they have higher wind ratings than 3-tab shingles. They typically are rated for winds of between 80 mph and 120 mph.

Finding the Right Match for Your Home

The suitability of each of these shingle varieties is also relative. 3-tab shingles are more economical in the short term, so they may be ideal for rental properties and budget homes. Architectural shingles may be a better choice for high-end homes, as well as for homeowners who value aesthetics and longevity over lower initial costs.

The team at Topline Roofing LLC can help you determine which asphalt shingles might work best for you. Don’t hesitate to contact or call us today for more information. You’re also welcome to contact us online for further details. Proudly serving Akron, Ashland, Barberton, Canton, Dover, Green, Mansfield, Massillon, Medina, Millersburg, Mogadore, Mount Vernon, New Franklin, New Philadelphia, North Canton, Norton, Wadsworth, Wooster and the surrounding Northeastern Ohio communities.

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