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Asphalt Shingles

type of asphalt shingles

When you are looking at asphalt shingles for your home, it can be difficult to decide which type will work best. There are three different types of asphalt shingles: 3-tab shingles, dimensional and luxury shingles. Each one has its own advantages and disadvantages, so take a look below to see which might work the best for you!

1. 3-tab shingles (also known as architectural shingles)

They are as close as you’ll get to a standard, traditional shingle. In fact, 3-tabs has been around for more than a century. They were originally used on cottages and farmhouses that had steep roofs with little or no overhang. The design of this type of roof is very important because the shingles need to be able to shed water quickly and efficiently.

3-tab shingles are still a popular choice for homeowners today. They’re available in a variety of colors and styles, and they’re relatively affordable. Plus, they’re easy to install, which makes them a good option for DIYers.


Most 3-tab shingles are made from dimensional asphalt or wood fiber, though some are also manufactured with slate, clay, or metal. The weight of the material is not an issue in roof design because the roof is designed to handle it. However, you should always check your local building codes before installing them on your home.


3-tab shingles are available in many different colors, textures, and styles. The most common style is the three-tab shingle. It has three defined ridges on each shingle that allow water to run off quickly, without damaging or discoloring the shingles themselves. They’re also available in a variety of other styles, such as the architectural shingle and designer shingle.

Aside from color, design is one of the biggest differences you’ll find between 3-tab and laminate shingles. While both types of roofing are textured, laminate roofs have rounded corners and edges, while 3-tabs have flat corners and edges.


3-tab shingles are easy to install, but it’s a good idea for first-time DIYers to practice on a few scrap pieces of shingles before trying a full installation.

  1. Attach the starter strip at the bottom of the roof, then the first row along the sides of the roof, with the tabs facing down.
  2. Lay two full shingles together on top of the starter strip – do not place them end-to-end.
  3. Stagger the rest of your rows by staggering one tab up or down from its neighbor.
  4. Once you’ve finished laying all your shingles, use a rubber mallet to gently tap the shingles into place to make sure each tab is fully adhered.

2. Dimensional Asphalt Shingles

Most people know what dimensional asphalt shingles are but may not know that there are different types. There are three major types of dimensional asphalt shingles: strip-course, laminated and architectural.

  • Strip-course is the basic dimensional shingle that has been used for many years, but new developments have created alternative types that give more variety to homeowners and builders. They normally come in colors and may be decorated with different textures, lines and grooves.
  • Laminated shingles are created by bonding two or more layers of asphalt-coated fiberglass mat with an adhesive. This type is usually thicker than the standard strip-course dimensional shingle and can offer more protection from weathering and wind damage.
  • Architectural shingles are designed to give a three-dimensional effect. These are the type of dimensional asphalt shingles that curl up at the edges, forming peaks and valleys. They are also thicker than strip-course ones.


Dimensional asphalt shingles are made of three basic materials: fiberglass mat, organic fillers, and mineral granules.

  • Mineral granules give the dimensional asphalt shingle its color, while organic fillers bind it chemically with the asphalt.
  • Shingle thickness is directly proportional to durability and resistance to weathering. Shingles are measured in inches, with most being 3-tab shingles, which are about .75 of an inch thick.
  • Strip-course dimensional shingles are slightly thicker than 3-tab shingles.


Two of the major types of dimensional asphalt shingles have different textures to give them a particular look. The strip-course dimensional shingles have a smooth finish, while laminated dimensional shingles have a textured body.

Architectural dimensional asphalt shingles are created with a three-dimensional effect and give the most options for design.


Dimensional asphalt shingles can be used as roof coverings or roof sheathing. They are also used in walls, ceilings, and floors. The thickness of these shingles is what makes them desirable for use as roof sheathing.

3. Luxury Shingles

Luxury Shingles are a tile alternative to traditional shingles. This relatively new product has been designed and created by many of the same manufacturers who make traditional asphalt shingles, and it is the first major departure from this standard roofing material in over 100 years.

Because these products function under similar principles as traditional asphalt shingles, many of the pros and cons associated with one also apply to the other.


Luxury Shingles are made out of a different material than traditional asphalt shingles (e.g., fiberglass vs. organic materials), but they function in basically the same way:

  • they provide protection from the elements,
  • they are fire resistant,
  • and they help prevent heat loss.

When comparing Luxury Shingles vs. asphalt shingles or other types of roofing materials, it is important to note that the latter has been around for at least 100 years. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that Luxury Shingles are actually made of newer and more advanced material.


The installation process for Luxury Shingles is very similar to the installation process for traditional asphalt shingles. In fact, in many cases, it can be performed by the same crew.

Luxury Shingles are also available in a wide range of colors and styles, which gives them a distinct advantage over other roofing options.


Luxury Shingles can vary in price, but they are generally more expensive than traditional asphalt shingles.

Since Luxury Shingles have become available on the market, there has been a gradual hike in their popularity and usage. In fact, many homebuilders are now including them in their standard contracts with buyers.

However, the current economic climate has caused many people to seek out lower-cost building materials, and this has led to a decline in demand for Luxury Shingles.

Things to Consider before buying or replacing your Asphalt Shingles

If you’re thinking about replacing your roof with asphalt shingles, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Make sure your roof is in good condition before installing new shingles. Shingles won’t last as long if they’re installed over a damaged roof, so you might have to replace them again in a few years. Replacing your roof more frequently can be costly, but it’s usually less expensive than replacing the roof and the attached shingles multiple times.
  • Contractors or home improvement stores may try to sell you on high-end asphalt shingles that are more durable than necessary for your climate.  If one of these shingles is installed on your home, you’ll pay more every year for the rest of its life. On the other hand, if you buy an inexpensive brand it won’t last as long – roughly 15 years compared with 20+ years for most mid-grade shingles.
  • Just like anything else, price is only one factor when buying asphalt shingles.
  • Style is another important issue, especially if you’re planning to sell your home in the near future. Some color combinations are more popular than others, so it’s best to do some research before making a final decision.

Know before you go:

  • If you feel like replacing your roof with asphalt shingles is right for your house, make sure you buy them from a reputable source. If possible, buy only one bundle at first and set it on your roof to see how it looks under different weather conditions (sunlight, shade) before installing all of them. You can always ask someone else’s opinion as well. The last thing you want is to walk away dissatisfied after completing the installation because of something that could have been avoided by planning ahead.
  • Asphalt roofing shingles are made from organic materials that can be recycled at the end of their useful life.
  • You may consider taking them over to recover some of the granules, or crush and compost them for your garden.
  • Waste disposal regulations vary, so check with your local city government before you dispose of any shingles yourself. Some cities require residents to place asphalt shingles out for special pick-up, so it’s best to check on this beforehand instead of waiting until the last minute.

Other things you should keep in mind:

  • Don’t underestimate how much asphalt shingle bundles weigh (about 120 pounds each). It isn’t difficult to install them yourself, but you’ll need two people to carry them and help with the installation.
  • If your roof is steep, you may need to purchase special shingle underlayment to prevent water from seeping through the seams.
  • Be aware of your home’s warranty. Many warranties won’t cover roof replacements if asphalt shingles were installed over another roofing material.
  • Replacing an asphalt roof is a big job, so be sure to ask around for contractor recommendations and get multiple quotes before hiring someone. It’s also a good idea to check out the contractor’s licensing and insurance information.

A wise choice may save you a lot of money while also extending the life of your roof.