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What Are Dimensional Shingles?

what are dimensional shingles

What are dimensional shingles? They’re a type of architectural shingle that has depth to the design.

These types of siding are growing in popularity because they do an excellent job of providing curb appeal with their natural wood appearance and texture.

 Unlike traditional flat roofing, dimensional shingles can be installed on roofs with slopes up to 33 degrees, making them perfect for many different homes.

What are dimensional shingles?

Dimensional shingles are composed of a thin layer of asphalt, which is adhered to fiberglass. 

They are available in 20 colors and resemble wood shakes or slate tiles with their flat profiles. 

Dimensional shingles are popular because they offer the look of natural materials at a lower price point.

Dimensional shingles are a type of asphalt shingles. The difference between dimensional and traditional asphalt is the manufacturing process. 

Dimensional shingles are thinner than conventional shingles because they have a lower amount of asphalt filling the gaps between fiberglass strands. 

This leads to a lighter weight shingle that can be handled by one person, rather than requiring two people as with thicker shingles.

Benefits of using dimensional shingles:

  • Less expensive to install than other materials like slate and clay tile.
  • Dimensional shingles will last 50 years if properly maintained.
  • Range of styles and colors available.
  • Available as a DIY product at most big box retailers (Home Depot, Lowes) and local hardware stores.
Roofing, shingles, roofing materials

Drawbacks of dimensional shingles:

  • Not suited for areas with heavy snows or high winds.
  • Will be damaged by strong impacts like sharp objects, large hail and punctures.
  • Can’t be applied over other roofing materials that are in good condition. Need to remove the existing roof first.

Why use dimensional shingles?

  • Dimensional shingles are different from traditional three-tab asphalt roofing.
  • Dimensional shingle roofs have thicker, more durable granules on the surface of the shingle that give it a distinctive look and style.
    • They generally last longer than standard roofing materials because they can bend slightly so water does not enter or damage the home as easily.
  • Dimensional shingles are more expensive to install, but they can last longer because of the increased durability.
  • Homeowners typically choose dimensional roofing materials because their homes have certain architectural styles or look better with this type of material rather than traditional asphalt roofs.
    • For homeowners who live in areas where hail is likely, using a thicker, more durable roofing material is a good investment.
  • Dimensional shingle roofs can last 25-50 years or longer, depending on the type of building materials used and how well they are maintained over time.

How to install dimensional shingles?

Dimensional shingles are installed on roof decks like standard asphalt roofs, but they require more care and precision when installing.

It is better to hire a professional who can attach the dimensional shingle correctly while ensuring it does not leak or cause damage over time.

The installation process of these types of materials requires workers to cut around certain parts of the roof to ensure they fit properly.

Asphalt three-tab shingles are most often installed with nails, but dimensional roofs require screws that will last longer and do not leave behind as many holes in the deck after installation is complete.

How much does it cost?

Compared to traditional asphalt roofs, dimensional roofs generally cost more because of the materials and labor required to install them.

On average, homeowners can expect to pay around $15-20 per square foot for these types of roofs compared with traditional asphalt material that costs approximately $11-$14 per square foot. 

For this reason it is important to consider your options if you need a new roof as well as how much you can afford to spend on it.

New Dimensional Asphalt Shingle Complex Roof

Different types of dimensional shingles

Dimensional asphalt shingles come in three types: standard, high definition and 3-tab. 

A basic dimensional shingle features a single layer of material that’s pre-cut into various shapes with the same thickness throughout.

  • Standard dimensional shingles have square edges, so they are more likely to pop up when it rains or get pushed back during high winds.
    • Square edge shingles are preferable when you’re covering a difficult roof.
    • These come in different styles, including smooth, scalloped and transitional.
    • Standard dimensional shingles are typically less expensive than high definition models, which can cost up to 50 percent more.
  • High definition dimensional shingles are made up of different layers or plies of material that vary in thickness across the surface for a sturdier product.
  • The 3-tab shingles are probably the most recognized style of dimensional shingle because they mimic wood shingles.
    • They’re known for their rounded edges and flat top surface, which resembles tiles laid side by side.

Dimensional asphalt shingles also come in three styles: beveled edge, square edge and architectural. 

Bevel-edge shingles, as the name suggests, have a tapered cut on all four sides.

That makes them the best choice for matching with existing roofing because you’ll see less mismatch around the edges.

A variety of styles and colors

Dimensional asphalt shingles are also available in a wide range of styles and colors, including the classics like weathered wood and slate. 

They’re usually made from fiberglass or organic material treated with mineral granules for added protection against UV rays.

You can choose from many different colors and textures, so you’ll have no trouble matching the design of your home. 

They’re also great at hiding shingle nails and other roofing imperfections if you install them correctly.

Final Thoughts

Dimensional asphalt shingles are more expensive than standard three-tab shingles, but they provide many benefits. 

The rich color and texture choices of these types of roofs can give your home a stylish look that you’ll love for years to come.

Many homeowners have been able to do this on their own with a simple DIY approach that doesn’t require professional help from start to finish.

However, if you’re not comfortable or experienced doing it yourself, your best bet will be hiring a contractor who can provide an accurate cost estimate and a detailed installation plan.

Scalloped Shingled Roof