Architectural Shingle or 3-Tab? What’s the Difference?

photo of architectural shingle and three tab shingle

The difference between Architectural Shingles (left) and 3-Tab Shingles (right). Source:

When you are selecting the style of your new roof, one of the things that you will have to decide is what kind of shingle you want. Essentially, there are two main types of shingles: Architectural and 3-Tab. The trend among homeowners has been toward the Architectural shingle, but there are some basic differences between the two styles. There are three basic components to most shingles: a fiberglass base, a waterproofing layer of asphalt, and ceramic granules that add color and protect the asphalt from UV rays.

The 3-Tab Shingle

The 3-Tab shingle has three cutouts, or tabs, along the lower edge. It is made of a single size and shape, giving the finished roof a flat look. They are made from a single layer and are lighter weight.

The thinner and lighter 3-Tab style will also have shorter life span and guarantee. They are typically replaced more frequently but cost less than Architectural shingles.

The Architectural Shingle

Architectural shingles can also be called “laminated” or “dimensional” shingles. They are made up of two layers, whereas 3-Tab shingles are made up of only one layer. This makes the Architectural version thicker and heavier – sometimes as much as 100 pounds heavier.

Architectural shingles have a nice finished look and can improve your curb appeal. They have multiple shapes and sizes, giving it more of a 3-D look than a typical roof. Because they are thicker and heavier, they carry a longer warranty than a 3-Tab style, with a 50 year pro-rated warranty. They also cost more than 3-Tab shingles.

What’s The Difference?

The biggest advantage of Architectural over 3-Tab is the wind rating. 3-Tab shingles are rated for 60 mph winds, while Architectural shingles are rated for 130 mph winds. This can be a critical difference when a hurricane or strong wind storm comes through our area.

A 3-Tab shingle is typically a 20 or 25-year shingle, while Architectural shingles are normally a 30, 40 or 50-year shingle. However, it is important to know that these are national averages and do not accurately represent the true lifespan of a shingle here in Florida, where the hot sun can shorten the life span of your roof. 3-Tab shingles normally only last 16-18 years in Florida, and the 30-year shingles will last about 20-22 years. A 40-year shingle lasts about 28-30 years in Florida.

Have more questions about roofing? Visit our Frequently Asked Questions page!