Architectural shingles are gaining in popularity almost everywhere for good reason. They have all the performance advantages of regular 3-tab asphalt shingles but they look 100 times better. In fact, they look almost as good as those really expensive wood shake roofs.
Architectural shingles (also called dimensional or laminated shingles) are a slight variation or upgrade in design compared to basic asphalt shingles. However, the differences offer significant benefits. They are made from the same asphalt as basic 3-tab shingles, but they are thicker and have a 3 dimensional pattern designed right into the shingle. Because the pattern is built right into the shingle there is no need for those tabbed slots you see in conventional shingles. This increased thickness and no-slot design gives architectural shingles longer life and better performance compared to standard shingles.
Usually the 3D pattern is designed to look like a slate or cedar shake roof. But because it is asphalt you don’t have the maintenance nightmare that goes along with wood or slate shingles. From the ground, architectural shingles look great, much better than standard tabbed asphalt shingles, and almost as good as wood roofs. You get the best of both worlds with almost no drawbacks.
Cost, of course, is always a concern when it comes to home improvement. Architectural shingles are definitely more expensive compared to standard 3-tab asphalt shingles. You will find they are anywhere from 20 to 100 percent more expensive compared to standard shingles.
However, if you stick with the moderately priced basic to mid range architectural shingles the benefits far outweigh the added cost. High end, expensive architectural shingles look better but generally you don’t get a cost effective increase in performance and life span compared to mid range architectural shingles. You are paying for looks with the big bucks shingles.
If you live in a high wind or hurricane area there are distinct advantages with architectural shingles. Because there are no tabs to catch the wind architectural shingles generally have a higher wind rating. Tabbed asphalt shingles are tested to about 65 to 70 miles per hour. Architectural shingles generally go up from there. Some are rated as high as 110 mph!
The warranty on regular 3-tab asphalt shingles is generally anywhere from 20 to 30 years. Because architectural shingles are thicker and more durable their warranties generally pick up where the 3-tab shingles leave off. Generally their warranties start at 30 years going up as high as 50 years.
There are both pros and cons when it comes to installing architectural shingles. Because they are thicker they are also generally heavier and less flexible compared to standard asphalt shingles. But because there are no tabs the installers don’t have to fight with tabs either. The installers might have to use longer nails with architectural shingles. Overall, however, the good and bad of installation balances out. Some installers actually prefer working with architectural shingles.
If you are looking to build a house new or redo the roof on your current home, architectural shingles offer several clear advantages. So comparison-shop and get a good deal on basic architectural shingles from a reputable installer. You will be glad you did.