Asphalt VS Architectural Shingles

Asphalt VS Architectural Shingles
4 min read
24 November 2023

When it comes to roofing materials, two popular options that homeowners often contemplate are asphalt shingles and architectural shingles. These roofing materials are widely used for residential structures, each with its own set of advantages and characteristics. In this detailed comparison, we will delve into the key differences between asphalt shingles and architectural shingles, exploring their composition, aesthetics, durability, cost, and environmental impact.


  1. Asphalt Shingles: Asphalt shingles are the traditional roofing material composed of a base mat made from fiberglass or organic materials. The mat is saturated with asphalt to provide waterproofing, and then granules are embedded into the surface for UV protection and aesthetics. Asphalt shingles are typically available in two main types: three-tab shingles and dimensional (or architectural) shingles.
  2. Architectural Shingles: Architectural shingles, also known as dimensional or laminate shingles, are a more advanced version of asphalt shingles. They are composed of multiple layers of material, giving them a three-dimensional appearance. The base layer is usually fiberglass, and they are coated with asphalt for waterproofing. The top layer consists of ceramic-coated granules for durability and enhanced aesthetics.


  1. Asphalt Shingles: Asphalt shingles are known for their classic and uniform appearance. Three-tab shingles have a flat, one-dimensional look, and while they are cost-effective, they may lack the visual appeal of architectural shingles.
  2. Architectural Shingles: Architectural shingles offer a more sophisticated and textured appearance. With their dimensional design and varied patterns, they can mimic the look of wood or slate, providing a high-end aesthetic that adds character to a home. This makes architectural shingles a preferred choice for homeowners seeking a more stylish roofing option. Read more about asphalt vs architectural shingles

Durability and Lifespan:

  1. Asphalt Shingles: Three-tab asphalt shingles are generally thinner and less durable than their architectural counterparts. They have a lifespan of around 20–30 years. While they can withstand normal weather conditions, they may be more susceptible to wind and hail damage.
  2. Architectural Shingles: Architectural shingles are thicker and more durable, offering better resistance to wind, impact, and harsh weather conditions. With a lifespan of 30–50 years, architectural shingles tend to outlast traditional asphalt shingles, making them a more long-term investment.


  1. Asphalt Shingles: One of the main advantages of asphalt shingles, especially three-tab shingles, is their affordability. They are a cost-effective roofing solution, making them a popular choice for budget-conscious homeowners. However, it’s essential to consider their shorter lifespan when evaluating the overall cost.
  2. Architectural Shingles: Architectural shingles come with a higher upfront cost compared to three-tab shingles. However, their longer lifespan and enhanced durability can make them a more economical choice over the long term. For homeowners looking for a balance between cost and quality, architectural shingles provide a compelling option.


  1. Asphalt Shingles: Asphalt shingles, including three-tab and architectural varieties, are relatively easy to install. Their lightweight nature makes them suitable for a wide range of roofing structures, and they can be installed by professional roofers efficiently.
  2. Architectural Shingles: While architectural shingles are also straightforward to install, their added thickness and complexity may require more skill and time during installation. It’s crucial to hire experienced roofing professionals to ensure proper installation and maximize the longevity of the roofing system.

Environmental Impact:

  1. Asphalt Shingles: The production of asphalt shingles involves the use of petroleum-based materials, contributing to environmental concerns. Additionally, old asphalt shingles often end up in landfills, posing challenges for recycling. However, efforts are being made to develop more sustainable practices in the manufacturing and disposal of asphalt shingles.
  2. Architectural Shingles: Similar to asphalt shingles, architectural shingles have environmental considerations in their production. However, some manufacturers offer options with recycled content, and the longer lifespan of architectural shingles can contribute to reduced waste over time.


In the asphalt shingles vs. architectural shingles debate, the choice ultimately depends on individual preferences, budget constraints, and the desired aesthetic and performance characteristics. Asphalt shingles, particularly three-tab, are a practical and economical choice for those on a budget. On the other hand, architectural shingles appeal to homeowners seeking a more upscale appearance, enhanced durability, and a longer lifespan. As the roofing industry continues to evolve, advancements in materials and manufacturing processes may bring forth even more sustainable and innovative options for homeowners to consider. Visit official website

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Mary Milone 4
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