March 15, 2024

Architectural vs 3 Tab Shingles

How do 3 tab and architectural shingles compare to each other? Let's talk about it!

Time to read:
3 Minutes
Written by
Nicholas Capobianco

When it comes to types of asphalt shingles for residential roofs there are two choices homeowners look at: architectural vs 3 tab shingles. In order to talk to homeowners about these options, you need to have a clear understanding of both.

Each shingle has its own pros and cons. Homeowners may be drawn to one of the other for a variety of reasons. When speaking to homeowners and helping them decide what shingle type is best for their home, be sure to listen to their main concerns.

In this guide, we're exploring both the pros and cons of 3 tab and architectural shingles. We'll talk about the similarities and differences between them.

Difference between architectural and 3 tab shingles

Pros and cons of architectural shingles:

Architectural shingles, also known as laminated or dimensional shingles, offer several advantages over their traditional counterparts. 


One of the main benefits is their enhanced aesthetic appeal. Architectural shingles are designed to mimic the look of natural materials such as slate or wood shakes. So, an architectural shingle roof will have a more textured and dimensional appearance.

Architectural shingles also tend to be more durable and longer-lasting than 3 tab shingles, thanks to their thicker construction and multiple layers of material. This increased durability makes architectural shingles less prone to damage from wind, hail, and other environmental factors. 

Because they are more popular, there are also a wider range of colors and designs for homeowners to choose from.


Architectural shingles cost more than 3 tab shingles, which may deter some budget-conscious homeowners.

Pros and cons of 3 tab shingles:

3 tab shingles are a popular and affordable option for many homeowners. 


One of the main advantages of 3 tab shingles is their lower cost compared to architectural shingles. 3 tab shingles are typically less expensive to purchase and install, making them a budget-friendly choice for homeowners on a tight budget. Additionally, 3 tab shingles are relatively easy to install, making them a popular choice for DIY projects. 


3 tab shingles tend to be less durable and have a shorter lifespan than architectural shingles. They are also less visually appealing, lacking the dimensional texture and depth of architectural shingles.

Differences between 3 tab shingles vs architectural shingles:

The primary difference between 3 tab and architectural shingles lies in their construction. 

3 tab shingles are made from a single layer of material, while architectural shingles consist of multiple layers bonded together. This difference in construction gives architectural shingles their distinctive dimensional appearance and enhanced durability compared to 3 tab shingles. 

Additionally, architectural shingles are typically thicker and heavier than 3 tab shingles, further contributing to their durability and longevity. 

Similarities of architectural shingles vs 3 tab

Both types of shingles are made from asphalt and fiberglass, making them waterproof and resistant to moisture. They also come in a variety of colors and styles to suit different architectural preferences. 

Additionally, both 3 tab and architectural shingles are installed using similar techniques, making them accessible options for roofing projects of all sizes. 

Choosing 3 tab shingles

Although architectural shingles are more popular and common, there are reasons that homeowners may ask you about 3 tab shingles. 

Homeowners with a limited budget and need an affordable roofing option will look at 3 tab shingles as an excellent value for money. 3 tab shingles can provide a cost-effective roofing solution that still involves a roof replacement. 

Remember that not all homeowners are looking for the long-term or highest quality roof material. As a roofer, you can educate them about the difference, but make sure to listen and respect the decision of a homeowner who goes with the 3 tab shingle instead.

Choosing architectural shingles

Homeowners looking to enhance the curb appeal and resale value of their home will view architectural shingles as a more upscale and visually appealing option compared to 3 tab shingles. 

If you’re working in an area prone to severe weather conditions such as high winds or hail, architectural shingles provide superior durability and resistance to damage, making them a wise investment in the long run. 

If a homeowner is settling into their home for many years and wants a roofing material that will stand the test of time, architectural shingles offer unmatched durability and longevity that can protect their home for decades to come.

3 tab vs architectural shingles

It’s easy to automatically go to the more expensive and higher quality choice, but both 3 tab and architectural shingles have their own unique advantages and drawbacks. The key is to carefully consider your homeowner, their budget, aesthetic preferences, and long-term goals when helping them choose the right roofing material for their home. 

Whatever material they go with, your expert installation will help keep their home protected. 

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