Architectural Shingles: Because You Can’t Afford to Choose the Wrong Roof

When the time comes to replace your roof, the only decision that affects the outcome more than the contractor you work with is the materials you choose. The material for your new roof determines its appearance, cost, and longevity, so it is essential to get it right.

One of the most popular residential roofing products is architectural shingles. Let’s look at what you need to know about this type of roof and whether it might be the right choice for you.

What are architectural shingles?

Also known as dimensional, laminated, or composite shingles, architectural shingles are an asphalt-based material. Typically, they have a slightly varied appearance which simulates natural roofing materials like wood shake or slate.

Compared to the other common types of asphalt shingles—known as regular or three-tab shingles—architectural shingles have a thicker layer of a more refined asphalt, which give them several advantages.

Durability and Lifespan

Most architectural asphalt shingles have a lifespan of about 30 years. Weather and other conditions can shorten this time frame. But, under normal conditions, you can expect this kind of roof to last 24-30 years or more. Since roof replacement is a significant investment and a considerable disruption in your life, choosing a reliable material that will protect your home and its contents for many years is vital. The lifespan of architectural shingles is one of the reasons it is such a popular material.

You want a roof you don’t have to worry about during storms or as it ages, and one that will give you the most years of useful life. Because it is made of thicker, higher-quality asphalt, your architectural shingle roof should last longer than regular asphalt shingles, meaning you get more years of use from your investment.


Architectural shingles will cost more than three-tab shingles. However, because they are slightly heavier, they can withstand higher wind speeds, often up to 130 mph or more. Regular shingles may only be rated up to 60 mph. Saving a few dollars on roofing materials may not make sense if that roof is going to be damaged or torn off in a storm. Discuss what materials make sense for the weather conditions in your area with your roofing contractor.

Three-tab shingles also tend to have shorter warranties, so the extra you spend on architectural shingles buys you some additional peace of mind.

They may be slightly heavier than their three-tab counterparts, but architectural shingles are still much lighter than slate. That means they don’t require an additional support system like that needed for some heavier materials, such as slate. That saves you money on installation. You can have the look of slate, if that is your preference, without the weight and associated costs.

A new architectural-shingle roof can also increase your home value by improving curb appeal and offering a warranty that can give potential buyers peace of mind.


When it comes to roofs, two types of warranties come into play. The first is the one from your contractor. The best roofing material will still fail if it isn’t properly installed. Ask any potential contractors about what warranty they offer on their work.

The second warranty is on the materials themselves. This is where architectural shingles outshine their regular asphalt counterparts. Architectural shingle products typically come with 30-year warranties, though sometimes the coverage decreases after the first 10 years. If your entire roof system comes from a single manufacturer, you may qualify for a warranty of up to 50 years. Discuss the possibilities with your contractor.

As we mentioned earlier, the warranty on architectural shingles is usually longer than on cheaper three-tab shingles, so make sure you consider that when making your decision.


Homes come in many styles and fortunately, so do architectural shingles. This variety is one of the reasons they are such a popular choice. With so many shapes, sizes, and colors available, there is something for every aesthetic and architectural style. Whether you want your roof to blend in with a quaint Craftsman bungalow or make a bold statement on a contemporary structure, there is an option that will give you the look you desire.

Making Your Choice

There’s a reason that many of the homes around you likely have architectural shingles. This versatile material offers beauty, reliability, and great value. What more do you need? You can benefit from the many advantages of architectural shingles from day one. Your roof will look fantastic the moment it is installed and will continue to look great and provide worry-free protection to your home for decades to come. When reaching out to local residential roofing companies, ask if asphalt-based architectural shingles are the right choice for you.

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