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3-tab vs architectural shingles in Florida

3-Tab vs. Architectural Shingles: Roof Replacement Guide

If you’re in need of a roof replacement in Florida, there’s a good chance you’ll pick a shingle option. In fact, shingle roofs cover 80% of homes in North America. And that’s not just because asphalt shingles are durable roofing materials with a lot of different colors and styles—it’s also because shingles have a lot of variety depending on which type you have installed on your home. This makes them perfect for a variety of homeowners. But this leaves many people wondering: What’s the difference between 3-tab vs. architectural shingles?

As your local shingle roofing experts, Classic Roofing and Construction has all the information you need about 3-tab vs. architectural shingles. We’ve been installing shingle roofs all over the Tampa Bay area for 20 years, and today we’re using that experience to help you make the perfect choice for your new roof.

3-Tab vs. Architectural Shingles Introduction Video

3-Tab vs. Architectural Shingles in Florida

In general, shingles stand up fairly well to the Florida weather. While they’re not the most wind-resistant roofing material, quality shingles can withstand winds of up to 110mph without losing any of their strength, and they also stand up well against Florida’s extreme heat and heavy showers. But because of their differences, 3-tab and architectural shingles have a lot of differences in their performance. Let’s start with the most crucial difference: their composition.

3-Tab vs. Architectural Shingles in Florida

3-Tab vs. Architectural Shingle Composition

Both 3-tab and architectural shingles are asphalt roofing materials, and both are made with adhesive, asphalt, an outer coating of protective granules, and a reinforcing layer of fiberglass. But this is where the similarities end in their composition.


3-tab shingles usually only have one layer of this protection, made from less expensive materials. This results in a shingle that is thinner and more lightweight.

Architectural shingles, on the other hand, usually either have multiple layers of protection or are made with thicker, more expensive materials. This creates a thicker shingle that better resists Florida’s extreme weather patterns. Additionally, the added granules to architectural shingles are usually more densely packed, meaning that they offer more protection. So when it comes to composition, architectural shingles are clearly the winner.

Roof Shingle Aesthetics

In addition to differences in their composition, there is also a big difference in aesthetics when it comes to 3-tab vs. architectural shingles. While both types of shingles come in different colors, they create very different visual effects.

3-tab shingles get their name from the fact that they’re designed to look like three separate shingles. But because they’re all uniform, this creates a flat, static look that doesn’t add much visual interest to a home. But if you like a one-dimensional look and have a specific color in mind, 3-tab shingles could be a good fit.

Architectural shingles, on the other hand, are thicker and less flat. This means that they create a more dimensional look—in fact, they’re sometimes called dimensional shingles. They also typically have more color options than 3-tab shingles, making more room for customization of your home. And as a bonus, architectural shingles are able to replicate the look of wood or shake. For all of these reasons, architectural shingles provide much higher curb appeal.

Asphalt Shingle Lifespans

As you can imagine, the thinner build of 3-tab shingles makes them less long-lasting than architectural shingles. But how much of a difference is there in the lifespan of 3-tab vs. architectural shingles?

Although 3-tab shingles are light, they can still last for a while—usually 15-20 years. However, because they’re less durable than asphalt shingles, 3-tab shingles face a higher risk of being removed or damaged in one of Florida’s tropical storms. And although 15-20 years doesn’t sound like a short time, this is among the shortest lifespans of any sloped roofing material.

Architectural shingles, as you might imagine, can stay secure on your roof for even longer. With an average lifespan of 20-25 years, architectural shingles can sometimes last even longer with proper maintenance, up to about 30 years or so.

Cost of Roofing Shingles

Cost of Roofing Shingles

Similar to other areas, there is a big gap in the price of 3-tab vs. architectural shingles. Because of their lighter construction using more affordable materials, 3-tab shingles are definitely cheaper than architectural shingles.

The numbers can vary depending on the current economic factors and the brand. However, in general, 3-tab shingles cost somewhere between $2 and $4 per square foot. This is appreciably less than architectural shingles, which might cost $5 to $7 per square foot. As you can see, the price difference is not night and day. But when you’re installing a roof, particularly a large one, this small difference can have a big impact on your final bill.

However, we don’t encourage customers to only consider the cost of their new roof. You also need to consider other factors, like the longevity and durability of your new roofing system, in order to determine which option can give you the most value. And one often-overlooked aspect of choosing an asphalt shingle is considering what kind of warranties you can get.

3-Tab vs. Architectural Shingle Warranties

Because they’re heavier and sturdier, architectural shingles often come with stronger warranties. And that’s important, because your warranty could save you a lot of money if there’s an issue with your roof. So although 3-tab shingles are a cheaper option up-front, they could cost you a lot more due to their weak warranties.

At Classic, we often encourage homeowners to go with a GAF dimensional shingle option because of their strong warranties. Not only do they cover things like wind and water damage, but they’re backed by the manufacturer. This means that even if your Classic crew wasn’t here anymore, GAF would handle your warranty claims. And since the company has been in business since 1886, you can feel confident that they’re not going anywhere!

But GAF warranties are only available with top-quality roofing experts. That’s why, in addition to knowing the differences between 3-tab vs. architectural shingles, you also need to carefully choose your local roofing company.

Picking Your Shingle Roof Installer

However you end up choosing between 3-tab vs. architectural shingles, you’ll need an experienced crew to get the job done. And at Classic, experience is something that we’ve got in spades.

But don’t just take our word for it—check out our hundreds of reviews from real people living in Florida. In our 20 years of service, we’ve helped a lot of people across Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco, and Lee Counties, and they all say the same thing: that our crews do great work and always live up to our 100% happiness guarantee.

And it’s not just your friends and neighbors who love our work—experts do too. That’s why we’re GAF Master Elite certified, something that only the top two percent of roofers in North America can say. This allows us to offer the best warranties to go alongside the highest-quality GAF shingle products.

To top it all off, we make the shingle roof replacement process quick and easy. You can get started by scheduling your free estimate online! This free, no-obligation roof replacement estimate will tell you everything you need to know about the cost of your new roof and the replacement process. So why wait? Give us a chance, and find out why Florida can’t get enough of our Classic approach to roofing.

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Call Now 727-329-8023 | Schedule a Free Estimate Online

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