March 12, 2024

3 Tab Shingles: What You Need to Know

Here is all you need to know about 3-tab shingles. Learn about the unique properties of this shingle style and the pros and cons associated.

Time to read:
5 Minutes
Written by
Nicholas Capobianco

In the ever-changing world of roofing shingle types, 3 tab shingles stand as a testament to timeless elegance and reliability. While newer roofing options have emerged in recent years, these shingles continue to hold their own, offering homeowners a classic and cost-effective solution for their roofing needs.

In this blog we'll explore some common questions about this specific type of roof shingle, their availability, benefits, installation process, and lifespan.

What are 3 tab shingles?

3-tab shingles are a type of asphalt shingle.

Each shingle consists of a single layer of material with tabs cut into the bottom edge to create the appearance of three separate shingles when installed. That's where the name "3 tab" comes from.

They are used primarily on residential roofing, and were first released in 1935.

Are 3 tab shingles still made?

First, let's address the burning question: are 3 tab shingles still manufactured? Despite the rise of newer roofing materials like architectural shingles and metal roofing, many manufacturers still produce this type of shingle due to their enduring popularity and affordability.

While the market share may have diminished somewhat, they remain a staple in the roofing industry, offering homeowners a budget-friendly option for roof replacement and repair projects.

Color matching these shingles

Although they are still manufactured, they aren’t nearly as popular. Because of this, manufacturers don’t produce the same colors  or variety that they used to. This can make it harder to find matching shingle color for repairs or partial replacement jobs.

Why would homeowners choose 3 tab shingles?

So, why would you opt for 3 tab shingles over other roofing materials? There are several compelling reasons.

First, they are renowned for their simplicity and versatility. Their consistent size and shape make them easy to install. This applies to both experienced individuals and DIY enthusiasts. It is especially helpful for those working on home projects.

Second, these shingles are among the most affordable roofing options available, making them an attractive choice for budget-conscious homeowners seeking quality and durability without breaking the bank.

If you're looking for a popular roof shingle for curb appeal or a more dimensional shingle, then architectural shingle may be a better fit.

Dispelling the myth: Are 3 tab shingles bad?

Despite their widespread use and popularity, 3 tab shingles have garnered a reputation in some circles as being inferior to newer roofing materials. However, it’s not necessarily true.

It's true, they do lack some of the aesthetic appeal and dimensional texture of architectural shingles. But they are far from "bad." In fact, when properly installed and maintained, they can provide decades of reliable home protection.

3 tab shingles aren’t as thick as architectural shingles, so they may not withstand harsher weather conditions or hail as well.

So, it’s not about whether these shingles are good or bad. Instead, it's about what is the best roofing material for an area, based on weather, climate, and geography.

Manufacturers of 3 tab shingles

These are the top 5 manufacturers of 3-tab asphalt shingles that you should know about.

1. GAF (General Aniline & Film):

As one of the largest and most trusted manufacturers of roofing materials in North America, GAF has a long-standing reputation for quality and innovation. The company offers a wide range of 3-tab asphalt shingles, including their popular Royal Sovereign series. GAF's 3-tab shingles are backed by comprehensive warranties, providing homeowners with peace of mind and confidence in their investment.

2. Owens Corning:

Owens Corning is another leading manufacturer of roofing materials, offering a diverse selection of 3-tab asphalt shingles for residential applications. Owens Corning's 3-tab shingles are strong and eco-friendly, made to last and protect against the weather while being environmentally friendly.

3. CertainTeed:

CertainTeed is known for its commitment to quality and craftsmanship, making it a trusted choice for homeowners and contractors alike. The XT™ 25 series of asphalt shingles from the company are very durable and weather-resistant. They have a Class A fire rating and great warranties.

4. Atlas Roofing Corporation:

Atlas Roofing Corporation is recognized for its dedication to innovation and customer satisfaction, producing a range of high-quality roofing products, including 3-tab asphalt shingles. The company's GlassMaster® series combines traditional design with advanced technology, delivering superior strength and performance in harsh weather conditions.

5. IKO:

IKO is a global leader in the roofing industry, offering a comprehensive selection of 3-tab asphalt shingles designed to enhance the beauty and performance of any home. The company's Marathon series is renowned for its durability and affordability, providing homeowners with reliable protection against wind, rain, and other elements.

How to install 3 tab shingles: A step-by-step guide

Installing 3 tab shingles is a pretty straightforward process. It's much the same as installing any roof shingle. Here's a basic overview of the installation process:

Prepare the roof: Start by preparing the roof surface. Remove old shingles, make sure it’s clean, dry, and free of debris. Repair any damaged or rotted areas and install underlayment as needed to provide an additional layer of protection.

Layout the shingles: Begin at the bottom edge of the roof and work your way up, laying out the first row of shingles along the eaves. Use chalk lines to ensure straight, uniform rows, and stagger the shingles to prevent water infiltration.

Nail the shingles: Secure each shingle in place with roofing nails, driving them flush with the surface of the shingle. Follow the manufacturer's recommendations for nail placement and spacing to ensure a secure installation.

Trim and finish: Once the first row is complete, continue installing subsequent rows of shingles, overlapping each row to provide proper water drainage. Use a utility knife to trim shingles as needed to fit around vents, chimneys, and other protrusions.

Finish the ridge: Finally, install ridge caps along the peak of the roof to provide a finished look and seal off any gaps or exposed edges. Secure the ridge caps in place with roofing nails and seal the edges with roofing cement for added protection against leaks.

Lifespan of a 3 tab shingle roof

3 tab shingles may not last as long as premium roofing. However, with good installation and upkeep, they can still last for many years.

On average, a well-maintained 3 tab shingle roof can last 20 to 30 years or more, depending on factors such as climate, exposure to harsh weather conditions, and regular maintenance.

3 tab shingles: An oldie, but a goodie in roofing

3 tab shingles remain a viable and cost-effective roofing option for homeowners seeking durability, simplicity, and affordability. Newer roofing materials have benefits, but 3 tab shingles are still popular. They have a classic look and dependable performance. They can last for many years.

Whether you're building a new home or replacing an existing roof, consider the enduring appeal of 3 tab shingles for your next roofing project.

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