3-tab shingles vs. dimensional shingles

Roofing materials are like any other building materials. They will slowly break down over time. Many types of asphalt shingles last several decades, but if you live in your home more than 30 years, chances are you will have to replace your roof at least once. Several years ago, you only had one choice in asphalt roofing, and that was with 3-tab shingles.

Though 3-tab shingling was once the king of residential roofing, it now has a competitor in dimensional shingles, also known as architectural shingles. Let’s match these two popular shingle types side-by-side to help you get a feel on what you should be installed on your roof.

3-Tab Shingles vs. Dimensional Shingles: You Decide

Longevity and Durability

Dimensional shingles tend to have longer useful lives than 3-tab shingles. Most 3-tab shingles come with 15 to 25-year warranties while dimensional styles can hit upwards of 50-year useful life warranties. Dimensional shingles are essentially two 3-tab shingles sandwiched together, so naturally, the thicker, stronger shingle will give you more life than one 3-tab shingle.

Variety and Color

3-tabs are traditionally only available in one style while dimensional shingles can have several types of depths and cuts to match the home they’re being installed on. 3-tab will always be uniform, but dimensional shingles can have their corners trimmed in an apron cut, can imitate slate or concrete tiles, and have different depths for different shadows on the roof. Color options in both 3-tab and dimensional shingles are plentiful – you’re likely to find what you want.

Appearance

Since beauty is in the eye of the beholder, appearance and aesthetics are a personal judgment when it comes to your home. If you like orderly, organized appearances you might like the direct lines of a 3-tab shingle. Unlike 3-tab, dimensional shingles are not cut uniformly and give a staggered appearance on the roof which many homeowners like. You can also upgrade dimensional to luxury shingles for high amounts of dimension and depth on the roof.

Cost

3-tab shingles are more affordable than dimensional shingles. However, they aren’t always the most economical option. If you plan to live in your home for several years, you want to replace your roof the least amount possible. Two 3-tab roof replacements will be much more expensive than one-dimensional replacement.

Though they are still frequently used, 3-tab shingles are no longer the best shingling option – that honor belongs to dimensional shingles. Dimensional shingles last longer, come in greater variety, look better on most homes, and while they’re more expensive than 3-tabs, their longevity often makes them a more economical option. During your next roof replacement talk to a local roofing company about the unique benefits and drawbacks of 3-tabs or dimensional shingles on your roof.