What are “Architectural” Shingles?

If it is time for a new roof you’re likely considering a variety of options. One of those possibilities should be architectural shingles. But what are they exactly?  These are a premium grade of asphalt shingles that are thicker than standard shingles. They also stand out from traditional shingles due to their more distinctive, textured appearance.

You may also have heard them referred to as laminate or dimensional shingles. Architectural shingles first made their appearance in the roofing industry back in the 1970s by manufacturers who wanted to craft a higher-end product for their residential and commercial consumers. Let’s go over some differences between regular roof shingles and architectural shingles.

Differences Between Shingle Types

Regular roof shingles are also referred to as 3-tab because, like their name implies, they have three tabs/flaps with a ¼-inch groove between each one. They are installed in flat, even rows, which you don’t get with the layered, textured appearance of architectural shingles.

Regular asphalt shingles last about two decades, while by contrast architectural shingles last between 30 and 40 years.

Architectural shingles offer more variety in colors and patterns, resisting the wind and other extreme weather better than their standard counterparts. Why? They have a heavier granule covering and fare better in the extreme weather.

Architectural shingles will cost you about 25 percent more than standard shingles; however, that investment will take you far because they have a 50 percent longer lifespan with stronger warranties.

Standard 3-tab asphalt shingles have just one layer of material that is adhered to a cloth or fiberglass mat. As a result, they are more prone to deterioration and damage from wind and hail.

Architectural shingles, by contrast, have multiple layers of refined asphalt and granules, all laminated together. This more durable composition helps them resist wind better than standard shingles. In fact, some can withstand up to 120 mph winds, as opposed to standard shingles that only resist 60 to 80 mph winds.

By shelling out the extra money in the beginning for architectural shingles, you will actually save cash on repairs and replacement over your roof’s lifespan. For this reason, many home insurance companies offer discounts on premiums if your home sports architectural shingles.

Advantages of Architectural Shingles

  • Wide array of color, pattern and texture choices
  • Mimic the look of more expensive cedar shake, slate or tile roofs, thanks to their three-dimensional pattern
  • Depth and texture that provide a high-quality appearance
  • Customizable to fit your unique tastes
  • No maintenance hassles
  • Distinctive look that enhances your home’s beauty and curb appeal
  • Exude a sense of age and character with timeless appeal
  • Pay for themselves over time thanks due to durability and longevity
  • Deflect heat and provide added insulation
  • Sturdier and heavier than 3-tab shingles
  • Withstand up to 120 mph winds
  • Better resist fire than standard composition shingles
  • Easy to cut and fit into crevices and corners
  • High performing

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