Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles are a type of roofing material made from asphalt-saturated fibers, typically fiberglass or organic materials, that are embedded in asphalt. They are often used for residential roofing because of their affordability, ease of installation, and durability. Asphalt shingles come in various colors and patterns, and can be designed to imitate other roofing materials, such as slate or wood shake. They are typically installed in a series of overlapping rows, starting at the bottom of the roof and working up, and are held in place by nails driven into the decking. They are resistant to wind and water damage, and can last for 20-30 years if maintained properly.

Residential Roofing Companies

The two standard design options for asphalt shingles are 3-tab and architectural shingles.

3-Tab Shingles

These are the most basic type of asphalt shingles and are characterized by a flat, uniform appearance. They have three tabs, or cutouts, that give the roof a distinct, stepped pattern. They are typically the most affordable option and are suitable for most residential roofing applications.

Architectural Shingles

Also known as dimensional or laminated shingles, these have a more textured, dimensional appearance and can imitate the look of other roofing materials, such as slate or wood shake. They have multiple layers of material, providing a more rugged, dimensional look and added durability compared to 3-tab shingles. They are more expensive than 3-tab shingles but offer a more visually appealing option for homeowners looking for a unique roofing solution.

Asphalt Shingles for Resididential Roof
residential roofer

The choice between 3-tab and architectural shingles ultimately depends on the customer’s individual needs and preferences. Here are some factors to consider:


3-tab shingles are typically more affordable than architectural shingles, making them a good option for homeowners on a tight budget.


Architectural shingles are generally more durable and longer-lasting than 3-tab shingles, but they are also more expensive.


If the customer is looking for a more distinctive, visually appealing roof, architectural shingles may be the better choice. 3-tab shingles are more straightforward and offer a more uniform, traditional appearance.


In areas with harsh weather conditions, such as high winds or heavy rain, architectural shingles may be the better choice because of their added durability.

Ultimately, the customer should carefully consider their needs, budget, and personal preferences when choosing between the two options. A roofing contractor or home improvement expert can also provide guidance and recommendations based on the customer’s specific situation.

Asphalt shingles come in two standard design options: architectural (also known as dimensional) shingles, and three-tab shingles. 

 Three-tab are essentially flat simple shingles with a uniform shape and size. They use less material and are thinner than architectural shingles, and are therefore lighter and lower cost for both the material and the installation. They also do not last as long or offer manufacturer’s warranties as long as good architectural asphalt shingles. Three-tab are still the most commonly installed in lower-value homes, such as those used as rental properties. However, they are declining in popularity in favor of the architectural style. Dimensional, or architectural shingles are thicker and stronger, vary in shape and size, and offer more aesthetic appeal; casting more distinct, random shadow lines better mimics the appearance of traditional roofing materials such as wood shake shingles.