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A Closer Look at the Different Types of Asphalt Shingles Skip to main content

For many decades, asphalt shingles continue to be one of the most popular roofing materials in the United States. Although mainly used in residential new roof construction and replacement projects, many commercial property owners and facility managers also consider them as a great option over other forms of roofing materials due to their numerous advantages.

Asphalt shingle roofing system

However, unbeknownst to many, there are several types of asphalt shingles available in the market today. The variations of each affect their appearance, weight, performance, and durability.

Three Types of Asphalt Shingles

The type of asphalt shingle is one of the many deciding factors you need to consider when planning your roof installation or replacement project. Here’s an in-depth look at each one of them:

  • Three-Tab Asphalt Shingles

Also called strip shingles, they are the most basic and least expensive of all asphalt shingle types. They have two vertical notches or cutouts on them, separating the lower part of the shingles into three—thus the name. The dimensions of these roof shingles vary, but the most common measures 12 inches wide by 36 inches long. Because they are made of a single layer of asphalt, they weigh and cost less than the other types.

You’ll most commonly find three-tab shingles on low-cost new home construction projects or older houses built a few decades ago. Although they are designed to withstand the elements for about 20 years or more, they lack some of the aesthetic qualities of the other asphalt shingle types. Maintenance is also crucial to ensure their longevity; otherwise, the roofing material may age quickly, resulting in early damage. Blow-offs and other forms of damage caused by rough weather conditions are a threat for compromised three-tab shingles.

  • Dimensional Asphalt Shingles

Also called laminated or architectural shingles, they make up most new installations and replacements. The dimensional look that they provide comes from the fact that they feature at least two shingle layers bonded together, with the bottom layer exposed due to notches that are removed from the shingle randomly. This makes them extremely durable and interesting to look at.

Dimensional shingles have a clear advantage over their three-tab counterparts in various aspects. Aside from their excellent durability and beautiful appearance, they are available in different colors, styles and profiles, each designed to match any architectural style and fit any budget. While they cost more upfront than three-tab shingles, they are warranted to last between 30 to 50 years, depending on the manufacturer.

  • Luxury Asphalt Shingles

Often called designer shingles, these are the high-end versions of dimensional asphalt shingles. Their multi-dimensional appearance is taken up a notch, replicating the look of wood shakes, clay tiles, and natural slate. Luxury asphalt shingles serve as a great alternative because they’re less expensive to purchase and aren’t as laborious to install as the aforementioned roofing materials. In terms of appearance, they create shadows and depths that look just like real shakes, clay tile and slate, making them a perfect fit for period-style homes.

Luxury asphalt shingles, however, weigh more than the other two asphalt shingle types. This makes them the most expensive of all the asphalt shingle types. They can have up to five layers of shingles and weigh close to 500 pounds per roofing square (100 square feet). They may not be suited to every home, but the advantage of the extra weight allows the roof to withstand hurricane-force winds, hailstorms, and other inclement weather conditions. Also, they are usually warranted to last up to 50 years.

Things to Consider When Choosing Asphalt Shingles

The decision to invest in an asphalt shingle roofing system is one that you will have to live with for decades. Whether you are planning to live in your home for a long time or looking to put it up for sale, doing your homework is imperative. It would also be of great benefit to you if you work with a residential roofing company to help guide you throughout the entire process.

Here are some of the considerations to keep in mind when choosing asphalt shingles for your new roof installation or replacement project:

  • Home Aesthetics

The roof may account for as much as 40% of your home’s exterior. Be sure that your choice of asphalt shingles complements your siding, windows, and entry doors. Fortunately, you’ll have plenty of options when it comes to colors, no matter the asphalt shingle type you choose. Warm, earthy tones, for instance, allow you to blend your home with its surroundings. Shades of black, white and grey help add drama and classical elegance to your traditional or minimalist home design. When getting samples, always view them in varying light conditions so you know how each of them will look at different times of the day.

  • Climate

Consider the local climate when choosing asphalt shingles. For instance, if you live in sunny areas with not-so-cold winters, it’s a good idea to choose light-colored shingles. As the roof reflects heat and sunlight, you keep your home cool and prevent your air conditioning unit from working too hard. Dark-colored shingles, meanwhile, absorb heat and sunlight and are more suitable in areas with long winters and short summers. Also, the threat of algae growth on the surface of roofs is greater in humid areas. Thus, consider looking for shingles with algae-resistant granules embedded in them.

  • Local Codes and Regulations

Review existing building codes and regulations in your area before deciding which asphalt shingle to purchase. Make sure your chosen contractor adheres and conforms to the applicable standards set forth by the state, city, or county when it comes to roof installations.

  • Asphalt Shingle Ratings

Our local area experiences storms every year, which is why you should consider the various ratings that come with your asphalt shingles. Take wind resistance classifications, for instance. Class F wind ratings mean that the roofing material can withstand winds of at least 110 mph, while Class H means that the same can resist up to 150 mph of wind uplift. As for impact resistance ratings, you’ll want asphalt shingles that fall under Class 3 or 4.

For your roofing needs, you need a reliable team to get the job done. CQ Roofing installs high-quality asphalt shingle roofing systems from top manufacturers like GAF and Owens Corning. Through our top-notch roofing products and excellent workmanship, you can be sure of your home’s protection for years to come.

Count on us for your metal roof replacement needs as well. Call (850) 683-4169 or fill out our contact form to request a free estimate. We serve homeowners in Crestview, FL, and the surrounding communities.