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Architectural Shingles vs. Luxury Shingles: Which is Right for You?

July 3rd, 2023 | 6 min. read

Architectural Shingles vs. Luxury Shingles: Which is Right for You?

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Architectural asphalt shingles are the standard in the roofing industry. However, luxury shingles are just as heavily marketed and their popularity keeps increasing. 

Because of this, homeowners keep asking, “What’s the difference? Are they comparable? Is one better than the other?”

For over 30 years, Bill Ragan Roofing has taken pride in providing unbiased and transparent roofing advice to homeowners like you. That’s why I’ll answer all the main questions I’ve been asked by homeowners deciding between architectural shingles or luxury shingles.  

This article answers the following questions:

  • What are architectural shingles?
  • What are luxury shingles?
  • Which shingle has higher curb appeal?
  • Which shingle lasts longer?
  • Which shingle comes with better warranties?
  • Which shingle costs more?
  • Which shingle is right for your situation?

What are architectural shingles?

Architectural shingles (also known as dimensional shingles) are the middle-of-the-road type of asphalt shingle. They’re designed to give your roof a good-looking random pattern or simulate the look of a wood shake roof. 

architectural asphalt shingles

Architectural shingles are the most common type of asphalt shingle used in residential roofing. While they’re the most popular asphalt shingle, they’re also actually the most common type of roofing material installed on roofs today.

What are luxury shingles?

Luxury (also called premium) asphalt shingles are simply the luxury (or designer) line of asphalt shingles. They’re designed to look like slate tiles that give your roof the look of a slate roof. 

luxury asphalt shingles

While the design sets them apart, luxury asphalt shingles are bigger and thicker than the two other types of asphalt shingles. This is great for durability but makes the installation take longer and more difficult. 

Architectural shingles vs. luxury shingles

Now that you know the main difference between architectural shingles and luxury shingles, you’re ready to learn how they match up. To ensure you make the right decision, you need to know how they compare on curb appeal, lifespan, warranties, and cost. 

Which shingle has higher curb appeal?

Curb appeal is defined as the visual attractiveness of your home from the street. A new roof always increases your home’s curb appeal, but the type of roofing material you choose determines how much. 

comparing the curb appeal of architectural shingles to luxury shingles(Left: luxury shingles; right: architectural shingles)

With that in mind, luxury shingles offer your home higher curb appeal than architectural shingles. This is simply because they are designed to look like a slate roof, which is considered one of the best looking-roof systems. 

While it’s a fact that luxury shingles have higher curb appeal than architectural shingles, different homeowners have different tastes. So, there’s nothing wrong with liking the look of architectural shingles better. 

Which shingle lasts longer?

The lifespan of your asphalt roof is the number of years you get out of it. When comparing the two shingles, you need to consider how long each one will last. 

Even though they both have a manufacturer-stated lifespan of 30 years, luxury shingles will last longer than architectural shingles. A good rule of thumb is to expect them to last around 80-85% of their maximum lifespan due to the factors that impact the life of a roof

This means you can expect architectural shingles to last 22-25 years with proper installation and adequate attic ventilation. But remember, luxury shingles are thicker and more durable. 

So, you can expect luxury shingles to last 30 years or even over 30 years. You can stretch it to 40 or even close to 50 years in perfect conditions.

Which shingle comes with better warranties?

A material warranty is crucial to protect your roof investment in the event of a malfunction with the products themselves. This means if there’s a problem with the shingles, the manufacturer will cover the cost of replacing them. 

Both architectural and luxury shingles come out of the package with a 30-year prorated warranty. However, they also both have the opportunity to get the 50-year non-prorated enhanced warranty. 

To get the enhanced warranty, all of the asphalt roofing components (including your asphalt shingles) have to come from one specific manufacturer to form a complete roof system. After installation, your roof will be registered with the manufacturer, and then they’ll cover all of your roofing materials for the roof’s life. 

Just know that improper roof installation and inadequate attic ventilation void the enhanced warranty and any other material warranties you have. 

Which shingle costs more?

Now we get to the biggest factor most homeowners consider during the decision-making phase, cost. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to give you an exact cost number for architectural or luxury shingles because the price of roofing materials fluctuates.

With that in mind, architectural shingles will always be cheaper than luxury shingles. Even though I can’t give you the cost of the shingles specifically, I can give you a general idea of the price per square foot for a roof replacement using each shingle. 

architectural asphalt shingle roof

For a two-story house with a little complexity and good accessibility, you can expect an architectural shingle roof to cost around $5.86 per square foot. For the same two-story house, you can expect a luxury shingle roof to cost around $8.00 per square foot. 

Just know that many factors ultimately determine how much your roof costs. So, use the numbers to help you understand the budget you’ll need, but don’t expect them to be exact. 

Are architectural shingles or luxury shingles right for you?

Now you should know if architectural or luxury shingles are right for you. But just in case, let’s do a quick recap. 

Architectural shingles are the best quality, affordable roofing material available to homeowners. It comes with the same warranties as luxury shingles but offers less life and curb appeal. 

Luxury shingles offer higher curb appeal and extra durability but come at a steeper price. On paper, luxury shingles are the better roofing material. 

However, this is about finding the right shingle for YOU. So, consider everything in this article, talk to a local roofing contractor about both options, and make the right decision for your situation.

The things you need to consider when getting a roof replacement

After reading this article, have a good idea if architectural or luxury shingles are the right choice for your roof replacement. As long as you take all of this into account, I’m confident you’ll make the right decision. 

But before reaching out to a local roofing contractor, there are some things you need to consider. The last thing you want is to be unprepared or, worse, get taken advantage of by a bad roofer. 

That’s why I wrote another article that breaks down the 5 things every homeowner needs to keep in mind when starting their roof replacement journey. 

Check out The 5 Things to Consider When Replacing Your Roof to ensure you’re prepared for your roof replacement before a roofer even steps foot on your property.

roofing material quiz

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