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Architectural Shingles vs. Three Tab Shingles

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An example of three tab shingles.

Three Tab Shingles

Three tab shingles, also known as strip shingles, or simply three tabs, are flat, asphalt shingles that have three regularly spaced tabs, giving the roof a repetitive pattern. Normally they measure 12 by 36 inches, with an exposure of approximately 5 inches.

This type of shingle was the most popular for many years, but are now starting to be outshined by architectural, or dimensional shingles. Although three tab shingles are lighter, have lower wind ratings, and a shorter year

warranty than architectural shingles, they are cheaper.

Despite the lower weight, life warranty, and weight of three tab shingles, they are still a durable option for your roof. This is particularly true if you do not have the money for more expensive architectural shingles or have invested in rental property that you don’t want to throw a bunch of money into.

All in all, three tab shingles are still a good type of shingle for a home or business. The questions you must ask when deciding whether to use three tab shingles or not, is cost, the typical weather, wind, rain, etc., your area gets, and if you like the look.


Architectural Shingles, also known as Dimensional Shingles

Architectural Shingles, also known as Dimensional Shingles

Architectural Shingles

Architectural, dimensional, or laminated shingles are asphalt shingles that have an additional laminated layer, giving the roof a raised, three dimensional look. There are no cutouts or tabs in this type of shingle, adding to the three dimensional, non-repetitive look of the roof.

This type of shingle is beginning to grow in popularity, and will probably all but replace three tab shingles in the future. Architectural shingles are thicker, heavier, have a higher wind rating, and longer life warranty than three tab shingles, even though they are a little more expensive.

For many, architectural shingles are worth the extra cost over three tab shingles because of their superior durability, and to many, they are more aesthetically pleasing. Because architectural shingles weigh up to 50% more than three tab shingles, the wind rating is typically higher, and the life warranty is also higher because architectural shingles are thicker.


Architectural shingles Versus Three tab shingles

All asphalt shingles have similarities, such as having an asphalt saturated organic or fibrous mat with colored granules embedded on the surface and an adhesive strip to allow each shingle to stick to one below. The difference between three tab shingles and architectural shingles comes down to the amount of asphalt, which impacts the weight and thickness, as well as the wind rating and life warranty.

Architectural Shingles Three Tab Shingles
Look Raised, three dimensional look Flat, repetitive look
Limited warranty 25-30 years-lifetime, 15-25 years, 30 higher end
Wind Rating 80-110 mph, 130 mph higher end shingles 60 mph, 90 mph higher end shingles
Fire rating
Cost 20-40% higher than three tab shingles 20-40% lower than architectural shingles


No matter the style of shingles you choose, Pro Systems, Inc. can install them in a timely, affordable manner with the highest quality. Call us today at (757)508-9299 or email us at  We offer 24 hour emergency roof leak repair, as well as roof maintenance and regular roof repairs. Contact us today!


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