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3-Tab vs Architectural Shingles, which one is better? 

Architectural shingles are also called dimensional or laminate shingles. They have a different look from the traditional 3-tab shingles in that they come in various shapes and sizes. 

They are best recognized for having a multi-dimensional design. Instead of identical flat shingles, architectural shingles are different sizes and depths. They are also 50% thicker and heavier than standard 3-tab shingles.

A few other benefits of architectural shingles include:

  • The dimensional design adds more visual appeal

  • Designed with a thicker, sturdier mat, finer quality asphalt, and stronger adhesive

  • Extra weight provides more strength against wind lift

  • Rated to resist higher wind speeds — up 130 mph

  • More color options available

  • Carry a longer warranty — 20 – 50 years

Additionally, they have a more dimensional look to them much like a wooden shake or a tile has dimension. You could conceivably get the benefits of an asphalt shingle roof, which is fairly low-maintenance, with the look of a cedar shake roof with an architectural shingle.


  • Architectural shingles have longer warranties because they are thicker than most 3-tab shingles.

  • They have a minimum 30-year guarantee.

  • They are rated to resist higher wind speeds than 3-tab shingles.

  • If they are correctly installed and maintained, they can raise a home’s value because they are preferred over 3-tab.

  • Architectural shingles more popular in the roofing market.


  • Architectural shingles weigh up to 50% more than 3-tab shingles, which are already heavy. This could pose a problem if your house is not structurally ready for that load.

  • They cost more than 3-tab shingles.

3-tab Shingles

3-tab shingles

Traditional shingles are the 3-tab variety. They are the shingles people most often associate with asphalt roofing. They come in a single tab shape, even though they are available in a variety of colors. In addition, 3-tab shingles lie flat to the roof decking and create a clean shape with neat-looking lines on your roof.


  • 3-tab shingles weigh less than architectural shingles because they are composed of less material.

  • They are less expensive than architectural shingles.

  • They are still used in many residential properties for their affordable price. The higher initial price of architectural shingles can be prohibitive for some builders.


  • 3-tab shingles are less thick than architectural shingles, so they need to be replaced sooner.

  • They have a flat appearance which can be less preferable than dimensional shingles.

  • They are on the decline in popularity.

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