Dimensional Shingles vs. 3-Tab Shingles

Physical Difference Between Dimensional Shingles and 3-Tab

Dimensional (also known as architectural, laminated or composite shingles) shingles are constructed with a heavier base mat which multiple layers of material are adhered to. This gives the “dimensional” shingles a layered or three dimensional look. Whereas the standard three tab shingle contains a flat layer with no dimensional “thickness” to it. Typically architectural shingles weight almost 50% more than the standard 3 tab shingles.

Aesthetic Difference

Dimensional shingles were developed in the 70′s for the high end home market. Homeowner’s were looking for an asphalt shingle product that had the architectural appearance of cedar shingles while providing the performance of asphalt. By using the layered construction of the dimensional shingle it appears to have texture similar to cedar shakes. Dimensional shingles do a much better job hiding imperfections in the roofing structure as well. Another option is to use synthetic roofing shingles which look similar to laminated shingles.

Performance Difference

Architectural shingles typically have a minimum of 25 to 30 year warranties. Because of the heavier construction they are less likely to warp and they provide much better wind resistance. Standard three tab shingles are typically rated for 60 mph winds while most architectural shingles are rated for 80 mph up to 120 mph.

Cost Difference

Dimensional shingles are available in many different warranty lengths from 25 to 50 years. Typically, the cost of architectural shingles is only about 20% more than the traditional 3 tab shingles. Some of the higher end 50 year products can be as much as twice as expensive to buy. One thing to consider though is the increased value of your home. laminated shingles help raise the curb appeal of a home and make it more valuable in an appraisal.

Shingle Type Summary

Dimensional shingles are preferred by most contractors because of all of the reasons listed above. Most new home developments also require them as part of the architectural covenants. It’s likely that in the coming years standard three tab shingles will begin to fade away in the market as demand for dimensional shingles increases.