Differences Between 3 Tab and Architectural Shingles

There are many different types of roofing materials used today, but one of the most common ones is asphalt. Asphalt shingles are widely used in the U.S., given the fact that they’re fairly inexpensive and quite easy to install.

While there are a few different types of asphalt shingles, there are only two types that are the most common: 3-tab and architectural. There are three main differences between these types of asphalt shingles, and these differences should help you decide what kind is best for your home or building.  To learn more about these differences you can call our professional Raleigh roofing contractors at any time.


The most distinguishable feature of each type of asphalt shingle is the design. 3-tab shingles are particularly easy to spot, because there’s only one description in mind: flat. 3-tab shingles are basically 3 shingle tabs that are placed one right after the other, to cover the entire roof area. The end result looks something like flat tiling.

Architectural asphalt shingles, on the other hand, have a three-dimensional look to it that does not look like tiled roofs. An architectural shingle is basically one tab laminated on top of the other to produce a staggered effect. When put next to each other, the architectural shingles do not form a flat surface.

Life Expectancy

This feature is one of the most important aspects of your roof that you should be paying attention to. Different materials will obviously produce different life expectancy intervals, but in this case, it’s the design that actually makes the difference.

Since both 3-tab and architectural shingles are both made with asphalt, what sets them apart is the way the shingles are put together. 3-tab shingles will give you a life expectancy of 12 to 15 years. This can obviously be prolonged with proper maintenance and routine care.

Architectural shingles, on the other hand, are generally manufactured today to produce a 25 year, or lifetime warranty.

Wind Resistance

Because of the nature of its layout, architectural asphalt shingles have better wind resistance than 3-tab shingles do. While architectural shingles, that are properly installed, could offer up to 130 mph of wind resistance, the 3-tab shingles can only produce about 60 mph of wind resistance in comparison.

This is obviously one of the reasons why architectural asphalt shingles typically last longer than 3-tab shingles do. If you live in an area where strong winds could be a real factor in your homes safety, then the roofing should reflect the proper roof type appropriately.


Architectural shingles obviously will cost more money in the end, when compared to 3-tab shingles, but it doesn’t mean that they’re automatically better. Depending on what type of roofing you might need, a 3-tab design might work better for you than an architectural one.

They both have their strengths and purposes. In general terms, the architectural asphalt shingles will offer more protection, durability, and warranty, so it’s only natural that more people gravitate towards using these for their roofs, instead of the 3-tab shingles.