You’ll have to choose the shingle you want when it’s time for an asphalt roof replacement. Most of the time, homeowners go with whichever one is already installed on their roof.
But if I run into a homeowner with 3-tab shingles, I always recommend upgrading to architectural asphalt shingles. There’s usually some pushback because “upgrading” does mean spending more money.
I promise, I’m not just recommending this to get you to pay more for your new roof. In fact, there are clear-cut reasons why I recommend upgrading your 3-tab shingles to architectural shingles.
For over 30 years, the team at Bill Ragan Roofing has helped homeowners like you understand the roofing industry's past, present, and future. Because of this, I’ll break down why it’s time to leave 3-tab shingles in the rearview mirror.
Let’s get to the 5 reasons you should upgrade your 3-tab shingles to architectural shingles.
1. 3-tab shingles are starting to be phased out of the roofing industry
3-tab shingles have been around for a long time and used to dominate the roofing industry. However, they are starting to phase out of the roofing industry completely.
Because of this, they’re getting harder to find, color options are limited, and suppliers in your area may not carry 3-tab shingles anymore. This makes finding color matches for repairs or a color you like for your roof replacement even harder.
But why are 3-tab shingles being pushed out of the industry? The main reason comes down to improvements in shingle technology.
With improved technology, manufacturers developed architectural asphalt shingles. Architectural shingles are a higher-quality material and are now the most common roofing material used in the US today.
Just know that 3-tab shingles won’t disappear overnight. But remember that you may not find the right color, and it could be hard to find them in general.
2. Architectural shingles have a higher curb appeal than 3-tab shingles
Curb appeal is the visual attractiveness of your home from the street. A new roof is proven to raise your home’s curb appeal, no matter what type of roofing material is installed.
But there are different levels of curb appeal depending on the roofing material you choose. With this in mind, an architectural asphalt shingle roof has a higher curb appeal than a 3-tab shingle roof.
(Curb appeal for 3-tab shingles)
3-tab shingles lay flat on a roof and don’t come in a huge variety of looks or colors. On the other hand, architectural shingles have a random pattern that gives your roof dimension, and some styles simulate the look of a wood shake roof.
(Curb appeal for architectural shingles)
Architectural shingles also offer more color options and patterns to make your roof stand out. Honestly, curb appeal is entirely subjective.
So, it’s possible to like the look of 3-tab shingles better than architectural shingles. But architectural shingles have been found to be more visually appealing to homeowners in most cases.
3. Architectural shingles last longer than 3-tab shingles
The next reason to upgrade your 3-tab shingles to architectural shingles is that they have a longer lifespan. 3-tab shingles have a manufacturer-specified lifespan of 25 years, while architectural shingles have a manufacturer-specified lifespan of 30 years.
Realistically, both types of asphalt shingles will last around 80-85% of their maximum lifespan. This means you should get around 20 years out of 3-tab shingles and around 25 years out of architectural shingles.
4. Architectural shingles have better warranty opportunities compared to 3-tab shingles
After lifespan, the biggest reason to upgrade 3-tab shingles to architectural shingles is for better material warranty opportunities. Both types of shingles come with a warranty right out of the package from the manufacturer.
3-tab shingles come with a 25-year warranty, compared to a 30-year prorated warranty that architectural shingles come with. This may not seem like that major of a difference on the surface.
But you’ll have the opportunity to get a 50-year non-prorated enhanced warranty with architectural shingles. This enhanced warranty ensures the manufacturer covers your entire roof system for the life of the roofing materials themselves.
To get the enhanced warranty, all of the roofing components and materials (including your architectural shingles) must come from one manufacturer to form a complete roof system.
Keep in mind that improper roof installation and inadequate attic ventilation void an enhanced warranty. This makes hiring a high-quality roofing contractor to install your asphalt shingles crucial, no matter which type you choose.
5. 3-tab shingles are more susceptible to wind damage than architectural shingles
Our last reason is one most homeowners don’t think of during the decision-making process. This is the fact that 3-tab shingles are more susceptible to wind damage than architectural shingles.
CertainTeed’s XT25 3-tab shingles come with a 60 mph wind-resistance warranty. On the other hand, Landmark Pro comes with a 110 mph wind-resistance warranty, with an opportunity to get up to 130 mph by using starter shingles and their hip/ridge capping.
This is a massive jump in the ability to resist strong wind storms. If I hear someone is missing shingles, it’s a pretty good guess that they have 3-tab shingles.
Just know that the shingle’s wind resistance means nothing if they weren’t improperly installed. So, getting the shingle that’s more resistant to wind won’t do much good if your roofing contractor didn’t do the job right.
How much will it cost to upgrade to architectural asphalt shingles?
Now you know the 5 reasons why I recommend upgrading your 3-tab shingle to an architectural shingle. Even if you don’t care about the look, upgrading for extra lifespan, better warranties, and durability makes it worth it.
But there’s still one more thing I didn’t mention here that has a huge impact on whether or not you want to upgrade. This is the price difference between 3-tab shingles and architectural shingles.
That’s why I wrote another article breaking down how much an architectural asphalt shingle roof costs.
Since 1990, the team at Bill Ragan Roofing has provided high-quality asphalt roofing services to thousands of homeowners in Nashville and surrounding Middle Tennessee areas. We take pride in our workmanship and provide a lifetime warranty to back it up.