A majority of homes and houses in the US use asphalt shingling, and within that camp most shingles fall into two categories: the standard 3-tab shingles, and newer architectural shingles. Many older houses and mass housing use the 3-tab types, while many newer homes have made the change to architectural shingles, also known as dimensional or laminate shingles. Below are comparisons between the two types of product, so that you can figure out which type of shingles will be better for your project.

Comparing Architectural and 3-Tab Shingles

Below are both types of shingles, and their compared and contrasted values, including appearance, weight and installation, lifetime and warranty, cost, and the largest market for the tiles.

Architectural Shingles

GAF architectural shingles


  • Architectural shingles vary in appearance, with difference sizes, shapes, and coloration. This varied appearance gives the roof depth, hence why the shingles are sometimes called dimensional.
  • An average architectural shingle weights approximately 50% more than its three tab counterpart due to extra thickness. These shingles come in sections, but care must be taken to alternate patterns.
  • Due to their thickness and laminated composition, architectural shingles last longer, and therefore tend have a longer warranty of 40-50 years.
  • The appearance and lifespan of architectural shingles comes at the price of cost. They tend to be 20% to 40% more expensive.

Architectural shingles are often used to raise the equity of a home. Replacing the roof with architectural shingles increases the home’s value, and are often used by homeowners who are planning ahead.

3-Tab Shingles

GAF 3 Tab Shingles

  • 3-tab shingles are of uniform appearance. They are called 3-tab due to each shingle being notched three times to give the appearance of being three shingles when installed.
  • 3-tab shingles are thinner than architectural shingles, being of a simpler composition and less types of materials. Installation is simple due to the cutout and uniform look.
  • Of a simpler composition and unable to weather the elements due to being thinner, 3-tabs tend to have shorter warranties of 25 to 30 years.
  • 3-tab shingles cost less than architectural shingles due to their uniform appearance and coloration.

While one-family homes are seeing a decline in 3-tab shingle use, they are still used widely in rental properties and low-cost housing where the focus is on the initial cost of the roofing and house in general.

If you’re interested in a roof for a new home or a replacement roof, whether you plan to use 3-tab or architectural shingles, contact All Weather Tite first. With our GAF Roofing System we’ve got the best 3-tab and architectural shingles around, backed with the best warranties. Contact us to learn more about which type of shingles are right for you and your home.