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What Are Architectural Shingles?

What Are Architectural Shingles?

As a homeowner, you want to get the most value out of your roof replacement without spending a ton of money. And the good news is that there are great residential roofing materials that don’t break the bank. Today, we want to talk to you about architectural shingles and what they can do for your roof.

We’re Classic Roofing and Construction, your local shingle roof replacement experts. Today, we’re diving into the world of roofing shingles to tell you about this great, affordable roofing material!

What Are Architectural Shingles?

What Are Architectural Shingles

Architectural shingles are also known as dimensional or laminate shingles. They consist of a heavy fiberglass mat base laminated with multiple layers of water-resistant asphalt. Ceramic-coated mineral granules are then ingrained in the top layer of the shingle to help protect the home from storm debris and hail.

The mat base of an architectural shingle is much denser than a traditional three-tab asphalt shingle. Unlike these older shingles, laminate shingles are thicker, heavier, and sturdier. In fact, they’re usually 50% heavier than their three-tab counterparts. This greatly increases their durability, especially when it comes to resisting Florida’s hurricane-force winds.


And architectural shingles don’t slack when it comes to aesthetics, either. When they are properly installed on a roof, they create a staggered, three-dimensional roofing pattern that can dramatically increase visual interest and curb appeal. This and their protective qualities make them great both for long-term owners and people looking to sell after putting on a new roof.

Architectural shingles were introduced in the 1970s and 80s, emerging as a higher quality, sturdier option for asphalt roofing, typically with longer warranties. This allowed homeowners to add architectural interest and curb appeal and recreate the higher-end look of natural cedar shakes or slate without the added weight, costs, and maintenance needs. Because architectural shingles are more durable than three-tab asphalt shingles, homeowners can expect long-term protection from rain, wind, and other weather events, as well as less unsightly peeling and cracking over time.

Why Architectural Shingles Beat Three-Tab Shingles

In Florida, one of the biggest issues for shingle roofs is wind uplift. And architectural shingles have proven much more effective than three-tab shingles when it comes to wind resistance. In fact, architectural shingles routinely withstand wind gusts of up to 120 miles per hour. Conversely, three-tab shingles may only withstand winds of up to 80 miles per hour. For context, that’s only a Category 1 hurricane!

That’s a big part of the reason why architectural shingles last much longer than three-tab. In fact, three-tab shingles last on average for about 15 years, with a maximum lifespan of 20 years. Architectural shingles, on the other hand, can last 25 to 30 years.

Because architectural shingles perform better across the board, they come with much stronger warranties than three-tab shingles. For example, at Classic Roofing & Construction, we often use GAF Timberline HDZ and UHDZ shingles for roof replacement. These are both architectural shingles that, when installed with the required GAF accessories, are eligible for the material WindProven Limited Wind Warranty, with no maximum wind speed limitations.

GAF also offers warranties on algae, water penetration, and other common roofing issues. But these types of warranties are much rarer for three-tab shingles since they’re much more vulnerable to damage, especially in Florida where the local weather patterns are anything but easy on roofs.

Asphalt Shingle Costs

Asphalt Shingle Costs

In terms of costs, architectural asphalt shingles offer a middle-of-the-road option. They are less expensive than slate or cedar shake, but they are more expensive than conventional three-tab asphalt shingles that have a single layer of asphalt-coated fiberglass.

Specifically, dimensional shingles tend to cost between four and six dollars per square foot. Three-tab shingles, on the other hand, cost around two dollars per square foot, making them about half the price.

Still though, we don’t recommend choosing your roofing material solely by going with the cheapest option. As we’ve established, three-tab shingles cannot protect your home nearly as well as laminate shingles can. So while three-tab could save you money up-front, it will likely end up costing you more in the long run with damaged and missing shingles.

If you are concerned about budget, don’t save money by compromising on protection. Instead, look into your benefits with your homeowners insurance and, if that doesn’t work, explore your options when it comes to roof financing.

Get a Perfect Shingle Roof Replacement

If you want an affordable roof replacement that won’t sacrifice protection, architectural shingles are one of the best things you could put on your home. But just as important as what you put on your roof is who puts it there. And at Classic, we have the know-how and expertise to make sure that your roof replacement happens seamlessly and without issues.

We’ve been based in Pinellas County for more than 20 years, and in that time we’ve earned hundreds of rave reviews. This shows both our experience and our commitment to customer satisfaction. At Classic, we understand that replacing your roof is a major investment in your home. Let us help you make sure you’re getting the best performance out of your roof.

If you want to see how Classic can help, all you have to do is schedule your free roofing estimate. We’ll discuss your options with you, conduct a quick inspection of your roof, and use that information to get you an estimate that’s thorough and explains every part of what you’re paying for.

The roofing industry is competitive, and nobody makes it to 20 years in the business without caring about their customers. Reach out for your free roofing estimate and see why after more than 20 years, we’re still doing things the Classic way!

Architectural Shingles Video

Architectural Shingle FAQs

1. Q: What are architectural shingles?

A: Architectural shingles, also known as laminated or dimensional shingles, are a type of roofing material composed of multiple layers of asphalt and fiberglass. They are designed to create a three-dimensional appearance, resembling the texture of wood shakes or slate.

2. Q: How are architectural shingles different from three-tab shingles?

A: Architectural shingles are thicker and have a more complex design compared to traditional three-tab shingles. They provide a more textured and aesthetically pleasing look, and they have a longer lifespan and better durability.

3. Q: What is the lifespan of architectural shingles?

A: The lifespan of architectural shingles typically ranges from 25 to 30 years, although it can vary based on factors such as climate, installation quality, and maintenance. Some high-quality architectural shingles may even have a longer lifespan.

4. Q: Do architectural shingles have style and color options?

Yes, architectural shingles come in a variety of styles and colors to suit different preferences and home designs. Homeowners can choose from a range of options to complement the overall aesthetic of their homes. In fact, GAF offers a free tool to see how different shingles will look on your home!

5. Q: Are architectural shingles expensive?

A: Architectural shingles are notably more expensive than three-tab shingles. However, these are still an affordable option for many homeowners, and they’re almost always cheaper than metal and tile roofing options.


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