Asphalt shingle roofs have undoubtedly taken the lead over other roofing materials. From metal to rubber slates, no roofing material is as popular as the ones by asphalt.

According to a statistic, more than 70% of US homeowners prefer asphalt shingle roofs for their homes. Affordability and easy installation are two significant factors that make them very feasible for homeowners.

Considering the upsides, it’s obvious to conclude that you want an asphalt shingle roof, but that’s not it does not end here. You still have to decide whether to get a 3-Tab or an architectural shingle roof.

Roof shingles

This article will provide all the critical differences between 3-tab and architectural shingles covering all aspects, from aesthetics to durability. Read till the end to make a well-informed decision when it comes to choosing between asphalt roofing.

Complete Guide to 3 Tab Shingles Vs Architectural Shingles


The most apparent differentiating feature between the 3-tab and architectural shingles is the design and appearance.

3-Tab shingles

3-Tab shingles have an invariable size and a plain design. The uniform design makes 3-Tab shingles look flat.

Aesthetics were never really a strong point for 3-Tab shingles. The roofing has been known for its affordability and feasible installation instead of the appearance.

However, the 3-Tab shingle is still one of the most widely used roofing materials that manage to provide a conventional yet minimal design to your rooftop.

To sum up, it would be fair to say that 3-Tab shingles, with their flat and straightforward design, do not offer the most impressive aesthetics.

Architectural shingles

On the other hand, unlike their counterparts, architectural shingles ace the aspect of aesthetics. With dimensional designs providing a 3-D effect to your roof, architectural shingles have a prominent edge over 3-Tab shingles.

Architectural shingles get their unique dimensional design thanks to the multi-layered build. They come in various designs, which means homeowners can choose a roof design per their liking, unlike settling for a basic design.

Their multi-layered and 3-D designs are all about providing a captivating look to your roof, all while offering the functionality of an asphalt shingle roof.


Durability and sturdiness towards strong winds are uncompromisable features for any decent roofing material. Asphalt shingles are known for their strength and high wind ratings, but not all asphalt shingles are created equal.

3-Tab shingles

3-tab shingles being lightweight and more superficial, having a wind rating of approximately 55 miles per hour (mph). A wind rating of 55mph might not be sufficient to sustain through the strong winds of certain North American regions.

As we stressed earlier, a high wind rating is of the utmost importance; with a relatively lower rating, the 3-Tab asphalt shingles are a letdown in this regard.

Consisting of a durable fiberglass base and coated with mineral granules, 3-Tab shingles are a pretty durable roofing option for your house. When properly installed, they have proved to be quite effective even under harsh weather conditions.

Architectural shingles

Architectural shingles are rated for winds up to 120 mph, and they are undoubtedly the rational choice if strong winds concern you. Additionally, they are built with two or more layers of shingles glued to each other.

The dual-layer structure makes architectural shingles extra solid and wind-resistant. The higher wind ratings are understandable considering the high-quality material used.

Moreover, architectural shingles are generally heavier than 3-Tab shingles due to the extra material required to provide dimensional aesthetics.


Installing a shingle roof is way more demanding than one might imagine. From capital to the labor required, everything seems like an inconvenience. Thus it is best to choose the most durable roof shingle for your house to avoid regular maintenance and repairs.

3-Tab shingles

The 3-Tab asphalt shingles have an estimated lifespan of 15-20 years under ideal conditions, with most companies providing a warranty up to this period.

However, when exposed to extreme weather conditions, the lifespan of these roofing shingles tends to drop. Especially in regions prone to harsh weather conditions like; Florida, on average 3-Tab shingles live up to 7-10 years.

The lightweight design and cheaper overall cost explain the short lifespan of 3-Tab shingles.

Architectural shingles

Architectural shingles provide a much longer lifespan, going up to 30 years in mild weather conditions. However, this number is still hypothetical and would be lower in regions with testing weather conditions.

With architectural shingles, even companies are more confident providing prolonged warranties, with some also giving a lifetime guarantee. Therefore, architectural shingles are the preferred ones by those who are willing to make a long-term investment in their house.


Coming down to the last straw, to put all the features mentioned above into context, we must compare the overall cost of installing and maintaining both the asphalt roof shingles.

3-Tab shingles

With a lower upfront and installation cost, the 3-Tab shingle is the more cost-effective candidate of the two. The low cost of the 3-Tab shingle makes it a highly affordable roofing option for homeowners willing to compromise on lifespan and design aesthetics.

However, it is worth mentioning that the 3-Tab shingle requires frequent maintenance and repairs compared to other asphalt roofs.

Architectural shingles

Architectural roof shingles are on an average 15% more costly than 3-Tab shingles. The high price point of architectural shingle roofing is well justified considering the longer lifespan and versatility.

On the contrary, they require less frequent maintenance, making them a profitable investment in the long run.


Both the asphalt shingles discussed in this article provide massive utility in their respective contexts. In the end, it is for you to decide which one’s the best for you.

If you are looking for a more affordable and temporary roof for your house, then the 3-Tab asphalt shingle seems the optimum choice.

On the other hand, if you desire a long-lasting and high-quality rooftop for your house, then we suggest you go with the architectural shingle roof.

Hopefully, this article will aid you in making a more rational decision.

Call ProTek Roofing, Heating & Air for a variety of professional HVAC and roofing services

Protek Roofing, Heating & Air

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