It’s important that homeowners consider their options as shingles can significantly impact the appearance, durability, and longevity of their roofs. Two popular options that frequently dominate the market are 3-tab shingles and architectural shingles. While both serve the purpose of protecting your home from the elements, they differ in design, performance, and cost. Understanding the distinctions between these two types of shingles is essential for making an informed decision that aligns with your aesthetic preferences, budget, and long-term goals.

In this article, we will delve into the differences between 3-tab and architectural shingles, exploring their unique characteristics, pros and cons, longevity, pricing, and potential impact on insurance premiums. By examining these key factors, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of each shingle type and be equipped to make the right choice for your roof replacement.

Comparing 3-tab and Architectural Shingles

We want to help you make informed decisions for your roof. To help you decide the best shingles for your roof, we’ll compare 3-tab and architectural shingles across five factors: design, durability, price, longevity, and their impact on insurance premiums.

·       Design: 3-tab shingles have a traditional flat design with three evenly spaced tabs, resulting in a uniform appearance on the roof. On the other hand, architectural shingles have a more dimensional and textured look, often mimicking the appearance of slate or cedar shakes. Architectural shingles offer a more visually appealing option, while 3-tab shingles provide a simpler look for your home. It’s important to ask your roofing contractor to see finished projects with the type of shingle and color you’re interested in.

·       Durability: Architectural shingles are much more durable and resistant to various weather conditions compared to 3-tab shingles. They are constructed with multiple layers of material, making them thicker and better equipped to withstand wind, impact, and hail damage. 3-tab shingles are thinner and less robust, making them more susceptible to damage under severe weather conditions. Most 3-tab shingles have a manufacturer note that they are only graded for wind speeds up to 50 miles per hour.

·       Price: 3-tab shingles are typically more affordable than architectural shingles. The simpler design and lower material costs contribute to their lower price point. If budget is a primary concern, or you do not plan to live in your home very long, 3-tab shingles may be a suitable option. However, it’s important to consider the long-term cost-effectiveness, as architectural shingles generally offer superior durability and longevity.

·       Longevity: Architectural shingles tend to have a longer lifespan than 3-tab shingles. While 3-tab shingles typically last around 15-20 years, architectural shingles can last 20-30 years or more. The increased durability and thicker construction of architectural shingles contribute to their extended lifespan, making them a more durable and long-lasting roofing option. If you plan to live in your home for a long time, and want to take advantage of a long lasting roof, architectural shingles may be the right choice for your home.

·       Insurance Premiums: Insurance premiums can be influenced by the type of roofing material used. Generally, architectural shingles may have a positive impact on insurance premiums due to their enhanced durability and resistance to damage. Insurance companies often offer discounts for roofs that are less likely to be damaged in severe weather events. While the exact impact on premiums may vary depending on the insurance provider and other factors, architectural shingles’ durability can potentially lower insurance costs over time.

In summary, the main differences between 3-tab and architectural roofing shingles lie in their design, durability, price, longevity, and potential impact on insurance premiums. Architectural shingles offer a more visually appealing appearance, increased durability, longer lifespan, and potential insurance benefits. However, they come at a higher price compared to 3-tab shingles, which have a simpler design, lower cost, but shorter lifespan and reduced durability. The choice between the two ultimately depends on budget, aesthetic preferences, and long-term goals for your roofing investment.

How to Accurately Compare Roofing Bids

Once you’ve received a few bids on your roofing project, it’s time to select a contractor. Roofing bids are not created equal, and it can be difficult to make an apples-to-apples comparison. Keep in mind, expensive does not mean quality and cheap does not mean value. To ensure you’re getting the best deal for your home, compare your roofing bids across these four criteria:

1.     Materials: You’ll want to make sure you compare the brand and grade of shingles being used for your roof replacement. 3-tab shingles are cheaper than mid or high grade architectural shingles, but have their downsides as well. You’ll also want to examine the type of deck protection being used. There are notable longevity (and price) differences in felt and synthetic underlayment. You’ll want to make sure your bids are quoting the same quality of material so you are able to make a true apples to apples comparison.

2.     Warranty: There are two types of warranties when it comes to your roof. Manufacturer warranties (the warranty provided by the manufacturer of the roofing materials) and craftsmanship (this is provided by the company installing your new roof). Robust craftsmanship warranties show the roofer is confident in their work, and give you peace of mind in the long term. If one of your cheaper bids does not spell out a comprehensive manufacturer or craftsmanship warranty, you’ll want to take note of that when making your final decision.

3.     Installation Specifics: It’s important to examine each bid and inquire with the roofing contractor about what exactly is getting replaced. Some good questions to ask your roofing contractor include:

·   Does your bid include a replacement for your flashing and pipe boots?

·   Will someone be supervising the jobsite?

·   How will you protect my landscape?

·   What insurance policies do you carry?

·   How many nails per shingle?

·   Are you tearing off my old roof or is this an overlay?

4.     Reviews & Reputation: Lastly, make sure you do your homework on your roofing contractor. Peruse their website, social media channels and reviews (Google and the Better Business Bureau are great places to check!). A company who takes reviews and social media presence seriously will resolve any customer complaints to prevent bad reviews.

We hope these tips will help you make a true apples to apples comparison across roofing bids. Comparing these factors will help you feel confident you’re selecting a Louisville roofing company that best fits your roof replacement project.

Next Steps – Contacting a Trustworthy Roofer

Roof issues are stressful. Whether you have a roof leak, hail damage to your roof or are in need of a roof replacement, let us take the stress out of the process. After reading this article, we hope you feel more confident tackling your issue.  

Whether your roof issue can be fixed with a simple repair or you’re in need of a full replacement, be sure to check out our Learning Center and YouTube Channel to find answers to all your roofing questions.

AIC Roofing and Construction has served homeowners in Louisville, Lexington and Richmond since 2003. We are in the top 2% of roofing contractors in North America to obtain the GAF MasterElite certification – a certification we renew every year as part of our commitment to excellence.

We would love to see if we would be a good fit for your project. If you’re ready to get a free estimate on your roof repair or replacement, contact us today!