Complete Comparison of 3-Tab vs Architectural Shingles

Complete Comparison of 3-Tab vs Architectural Shingles. Affordability is the first factor that comes into evaluation when homeowners are selecting a roofing material. Asphalt shingles are one of the top priorities of people when it comes to affordable roofing. But there are different types of asphalt shingles available, such as 3-tab and architecture shingles. So, before you decide on anything or any roofing material, it is always best to go through all the available options. The article will list down all the options available to you for roofing and something useful on architectural shingles vs 3-tab shingles.

Complete Comparison of 3-Tab vs Architectural Shingles

3-Tab Shingles?

3-tab shingles are easily identifiable because of their design. They have three notches at the lower edge of the shingles, making them easy to install. It is composed of thin, lightweight material, and it does not take much effort in the installation process. Moreover, it is durable and does not require much maintenance. However, you can keep inspecting it regularly just to be on the safe side, and it requires normal roof cleanings.

Architectural Shingles

Architectural roofing is the demand of the time and is growing as one of the highest quality roofing materials available in the market. The roofing material is versatile, durable and can copy the appearance of many other different roofing styles. However, it got many names because of its various functionalities, such as composite shingles, laminate shingles, or dimensional shingles. They are composed of durable fiberglass with a ceramic-coating of mineral granules which are tightly held together. Apart from just roofing, these shingles can offer aesthetics, high performance, and you would be spending less amount on their maintenance.

Difference between Architectural Shingles and 3-Tab

Both roofing materials and styles fall under the category of asphalt shingles and share many similarities, but they are different. Firstly they vary in their performance across different important categories from aesthetic appeal to longevity to water and wind resistance. Both the roofing materials have their characteristics and their style, which makes them unique.

Let’s see the difference which they have against one another:


Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so it cannot be said which one of them is the more aesthetic and how it is. It all depends on you what you like because technically, it is really hard to choose a clear winner between the two regarding aesthetics.

The 3-Tab shingles offer some texture in the roofing, but it is usually laid flat on the roof while installing and results in a clean finish. The 3-tab shingles come in different colors, and they can match the look of any home easily.

However, the architectural shingles offer versatility in their size and shape, and they can give your roof a luxurious look. It is because it is made in such a way so that it can copy expensive roofing styles, such as slate and cedar shakes.

It offers a unique appearance to the home, and the architectural roofing may boost the home’s curb appeal, and it can even make your home different from all the others in the area. But it all comes down to the person’s choice of which kind of roofing he/she wants for their home.


First, let’s have a look at the composition of 3-tab shingles. It is composed of asphalt, adhesive, and external granules for the outside layer while it is backed with fiberglass. However, when it comes to architectural shingles, they make up higher quality material which gives them a thicker look than the 3-tab shingles.

Moreover, architectural shingles are stronger adhesives and have a larger quantity of finer granules in them. These granules are tightly packed with one another, which increases their longevity and durability.


As the architectural shingles are made up of multiple layers, they are thicker and heavier than the 3-tab shingles. The 3-tab shingles are almost 50 percent lighter than the architectural shingles. The heavyweight thing makes the architectural shingles more durable and longer-lasting than the 3-tab shingles, but it is always easier and faster to install the 3-tab shingles.


The architectural shingles are composed of heavy material, different layers, and are more durable. This makes them better weather-resistant of all kinds, such as wind, ice, and heat. So when it comes to the life span of both materials, the 3-tab shingles last for 10 to 25 years while the architectural shingles last for around 50 years.


As the 3-tab shingles come with a shorter life span, they also offer short-term warranties. For example, the 3-tab shingles offer a 20-25 years warranty, while the architectural shingles provide 40 years-long warranty.

Wind and Water Resistance

The t3-tab shingles are lightweight, so they tend to get roughed by strong winds, and if you are living in an area with strong winds, these are not for you.

However, the thickness and heaviness of architectural shingles make them the perfect option for heavy winds areas. Architectural shingles can resist winds up to 120 miles per hour, while 3-tab shingles can only do half of it. Moreover, during the installation work, architectural shingles use stronger adhesives for better hold.

Like in wind resistance, architectural shingles come above in the list to 3-tab shingles when it comes to water resistance. The architectural shingles are laminated and coated with tightly packed granules which are incredibly water-resistant.

Price of Both Shingles

Architectural shingles are more expensive compared to the 3-tab shingles and more expensive to install. But if compared with the lifespan and the quality they provide, sometimes, it is best to spend once than to spend again and again. And the choice of premium roofing always gives your various benefits, and most of them are long-term.

Which roofing style is right for you?

If cost is your top concern, then you can choose 3-tab shingles as they are a less expensive roofing option. However, if quality, durability, and long-term usage are your concern, then architectural shingles are your answer. 3-tab shingles are more affordable and better for normal homes, while architectural shingles are a better option for high-end homes.  So, choose wisely how your home look and how much you can spend on it.

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