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3-tab shingles in Florida

3-Tab Shingles: Finding the Best Shingles for a Roof Replacement

If you’re looking at getting your roof replaced in Florida, then you’re probably at least considering asphalt shingles. Asphalt shingles are the most popular roofing material in North America, and specifically, 3-tab shingles sound very appealing to homeowners who want to save money on their roof replacement. But are 3-tab shingles the right choice for your Florida home?

We’re Classic Roofing and Construction, and we’ve been completing shingle roof replacements across the state of Florida for over two decades. And today, we’re putting that experience to use to explain everything you need to know about 3-tab shingles. But let’s start with the basics: What are they, exactly?

What Are 3-Tab Shingles?

What Are 3-Tab Shingles

3-tab shingles are a type of asphalt roofing shingle. So like all types of asphalt shingles, they’re made from a base mat (often fiberglass) that is then saturated in asphalt. The mat is then coated in granules to provide improved impact resistance.

3-tab shingles are unique for being a single layer of protection, whereas other types of asphalt shingles are thicker and have at least two layers. This means reduced protection, but also lower material costs.


In terms of aesthetics, 3-tab shingles are named for the three asphalt tabs on the shingle. They come in a variety of colors, and when a 3-tab shingle roofing system is installed, it creates a pattern of perfect, uniform rectangles across your roof.

Now that you have a clear understanding of what these are, let’s talk about the good and the bad.

3-Tab Shingles Pros and Cons

If you’re considering a 3-tab shingle roof replacement, then you need to know the pros and cons. Keep these factors in mind as you plan both your budget and the kind of roof that you want your home to have.

Con: Low Durability and Longevity

If you want a robust, protective roofing system, then 3-tab shingles may not be what you’re looking for. Of all the types of asphalt shingles, 3-tab shingles are the most vulnerable to wind uplift, water damage, and damage from storm debris. So in a major storm, when you most need your roof to hold up, a 3-tab shingle roof could fail you.

All of these vulnerabilities translate to lower lifespans on average. 3-tab shingles are often marketed as lasting for up to 25 years, but we rarely find this to be true. More often, they might last about 15 years before you start dealing with persistent issues that require another roof replacement.

Pro: Affordability

3-tab shingles are the most affordable roofing material on the market. Because of their thin composition, they have very low manufacturing costs. Prices are always changing in the roofing industry, but generally, these shingles can be found with costs as low as three dollars per square foot. This makes them a very tempting option if budget is your primary concern with your new roof.

Con: Poor Aesthetics

In general, 3-tab shingles are not considered the most beautiful kind of asphalt shingle. While they do create a perfect, uniform pattern, they don’t create much visual interest on the roof because they add no dimension. In this way, they can make a roof look flat and uninteresting.

Pro: Easy Installation

In terms of the difficulty of installation, 3-tab shingles are the easiest option. These shingles have been around for a long time, so most roofers are very familiar with them. And proper installation doesn’t require much more than knowing how to nail them onto a roof’s decking, so getting qualified crews for this kind of work is not difficult. This can lower total roof replacement costs, which further reinforces how affordable these shingles are.

Con: Lack of Availability

In many cases, 3-tab shingles may not even be available through your chosen roofer. This is because many roofers are phasing 3-tab asphalt shingles out of residential roofing. With better, more durable shingles on the market for only a bit more money, many homeowners find it hard to justify going with 3-tab shingles. As a result, some roofers have stopped offering this option altogether. If you’re committed to going with 3-tab shingles, this can make it challenging to find a local roofing contractor who still uses these shingles.

Alternatives to 3-Tab Shingles

Alternatives to 3-Tab Shingles

At Classic, we don’t generally recommend that homeowners use 3-tab shingles. They’re a fine roofing material, but as you can see, the cons tend to outweigh the pros. Luckily, we know some great alternatives that Florida homeowners should consider.

Specifically, we tend to recommend an architectural shingle option. These have a similar composition to 3-tab shingles, but they’re twice as thick, which makes them much more resistant to wind, rain, and impact from storm debris or hail. As a result, they can last substantially longer, usually 25-30 years.

Architectural shingles also have a leg up when it comes to looks. Their thicker design creates more visual interest on a roof and less of a flat, stagnant aesthetic. This is especially true for GAF products, which have Dual Shadow Line features that create an all-day shadow line across your roof. This creates a more textured, eye-grabbing appearance.

And yes, architectural shingles are more expensive. But when you consider the huge increase in quality, the uptick in price is worth it. Architectural shingles prices range from four to seven dollars per square foot. But when you consider the increased durability and longevity, architectural shingles can easily save you money in roof repair and replacement costs over the lifetime of your roof.

3-tab Shingles Pros and Cons Video

Choose Trustworthy Florida Roofers

At Classic, we are never going to install a roof that we don’t think can protect your home. Because, unlike some other roofers, we always look out for our customers. That’s why we’ve earned hundreds of five-star reviews from local homeowners and business owners.

Whether 3-tab shingles are right for you or not, reach out to Classic for help. We’ll work with you to find a shingle roofing option that perfectly suits your home’s needs and your aesthetic preferences. And once you’re armed with your free roofing estimate, you’ll be able to make an informed choice about what kind of new roof will work best for your home.

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