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How Are Architectural Asphalt Shingles Different From Regular Shingles?

Posted on April 9, 2024

How Are Architectural Asphalt Shingles Different From Regular Shingles?

When it comes to roofing materials, asphalt shingles are among the most popular choices for homeowners. But within the realm of asphalt shingles, there exists a new variant that may not be as well known to everyone: architectural asphalt shingles. These shingles offer a unique set of advantages and characteristics that set them apart from regular 3-tab asphalt shingles. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the differences between architectural asphalt shingles and regular shingles, helping you make an informed decision for your roofing needs.

What Are Architectural Asphalt Shingles?

Architectural Asphalt Shingles

Architectural asphalt shingles stand out as a top choice for roofing materials due to their unique construction. Also referred to as dimensional or laminate shingles, these shingles offer a more refined and eye-catching appearance, setting them apart from standard shingles. 

The differentiating feature of architectural shingles is their multidimensional structure, which gives them a textured and high-end look. Moreover, they are the most cost-effective roofing material for homeowners seeking a more textured look, like that of wood shakes or slate tiles. These shingles generally present shadow lines and varying widths, resulting in a dynamic and visually appealing roof surface.

Architectural asphalt shingles are not only visually appealing with their textured, multidimensional look, but they also offer several practical benefits that distinguish them from their standard counterparts. They are more resilient, wind and impact-resistant, and have a longer lifespan due to their multi-layered construction.

Related: Top 5 Roof Replacement Options For Buffalo Homeowners

Architectural Asphalt Shingles vs. Regular Shingles 

1. Material Composition

While 3-tab shingles are primarily made of a fiberglass base topped with asphalt granules, architectural shingles are made differently from their 3-tab countertype. Architectural asphalt shingles are formed with multiple layers of fiberglass mat, generally ranging from two to four layers, depending on the manufacturer and specific product. 

These fiberglass layers are laminated together (hence their other name, laminated shingles) with high-quality adhesive to create a sturdy and resilient roofing material.

Regular shingles are simpler in construction, consisting of a single layer of fiberglass and asphalt. While this single-layer design may suffice for basic roofing needs, it needs more structural complexity and reinforcement found in architectural shingles. As a result, regular shingles may be more prone to damage from environmental factors such as wind, rain, and UV exposure.

2. Appearance & Texture

As described above, architectural shingles boast a more textured and dimensional look with a depth created by multi-layered formation. These shingles are loved because they can mimic the look of expensive roofing materials, including wood shakes and slate tiles. Moreover, architectural shingles come in a wide array of styles, patterns, and colors, allowing homeowners to achieve their desired look while enhancing the curb appeal of their property. 

On the other hand, regular shingles have a flatter and more uniform appearance. While they may come in a variety of colors, their texture is often less pronounced compared to architectural shingles. This simpler design may be suitable for homeowners seeking a more affordable roofing option but may lack the aesthetic impact of architectural shingles.

3. Durability Level

Architectural shingles were developed to increase durability which 3-tab shingles lacked. Due to this, they were manufactured with multiple layers of fiberglass, which gave them added strength, resilience, and impact resistance. With this enhanced durability, architectural shingles are known for their wind and hail resistance,  along with their resistance to UV damage. 

While regular shingles are able to enhance the aesthetic appeal of homes, they may not offer the same level of durability as architectural shingles. The single-layer construction makes them more susceptible to damage, such as cracking, warping, and tear-off, which significantly reduces their lifespan. 

4. Lifespan

The enhanced durability of architectural asphalt shingles translates to a longer lifespan compared to their 3-tab counterpart. While the exact lifespan of architectural shingles is dependent on many factors, when maintained properly, you can expect them to last somewhere around 25 to 30 years. This longevity makes architectural shingles a cost-effective investment for homeowners looking for a roofing material that will stand the test of time.

In contrast, regular shingles may have a shorter lifespan due to their simpler construction and lower durability. While some regular shingles may still offer respectable longevity, they may require more frequent repairs or replacements over time. Ultimately, the longer lifespan of architectural shingles will result in savings in the form of reduced maintenance and replacement costs over the years.

5. Wind Resistance

With their material composition and multiple-layer construction, architectural asphalt shingles are thicker and heavier, which provides them with considerable wind resistance compared to regular shingles. Their interlocking design also adds to their wind resistance and prevents the shingles from blowing off. You’ll find that architectural shingles are often rated for wind speeds ranging from 110 to 130 miles per hour, depending on the specific product and installation method.

Regular shingles, in contrast, may offer adequate wind resistance for moderate conditions, but they are more susceptible to damage in severe weather. Their simpler construction and lack of reinforcement can make them more prone to lifting and tearing during high winds. For homeowners living in areas prone to hurricanes, tornadoes, or strong storms, architectural shingles provide added protection and peace of mind.

6. Installation Cost

Though architectural shingles are more expensive upfront, they prove to be the most affordable roofing material in the long run. The reasons include their increased durability, wind and impact resistance, and long lifespan. However, the installation cost of architectural shingles can vary depending on factors such as roof size, complexity, and geographic location. On average, the cost of installing architectural shingles ranges from $4.50 to $7 per square foot, including materials and labor.

Regular shingles, by comparison, may have a lower upfront cost but may result in higher long-term expenses due to their shorter lifespan and increased maintenance requirements. The installation cost of regular shingles is generally lower, ranging from $1.50 to $3 per square foot, but homeowners may incur additional costs for repairs or replacements over time. 

Architectural Asphalt Shingles vs. Regular Shingles 

Wrap-Up: Which One Is Better For You?

Though architectural asphalt shingles have dominated the market for past years, 3-tab shingles can still be used on roofs under certain circumstances. It all depends on factors like regional weather and climate conditions throughout the year, your budget, and the surroundings. Whether you want to install architectural shingles or regular shingles on your roof, consider all the factors required to make an informed decision. 

However, remember, architectural asphalt shingles offer a winning combination of durability, aesthetics, and longevity that make them a top choice for residential roofing projects. Their multi-layered construction, distinctive appearance, and superior performance make them an attractive option for homeowners seeking a high-quality roofing solution.

Contact Our Trusted Roofing Company In Buffalo, NY, For Your Roof Replacement 

If you are considering installing a new roof or replacing the existing shingles, contact the professional roofers at Buffalo’s Best Roofing Company in Buffalo, NY. The roofers at our company are proficient at handling any roofing project, be it a new roof installation, a complete replacement, repair, or any home exterior renovation project, our roofers have got you covered. 
With expertise in all the domains of home renovation, we understand how having the right roofing contractor matters. Contact us today at (716) 276-3673 to consult with one of our experts and learn what we can do for you.