How To Choose the Right Type of Asphalt Shingle

by / Tuesday, 09 August 2022 / Published in Roofing Contractor, Tips

California-based roofing professionals compare and contrast the three main types of asphalt shingles.

Three-Tab, Architectural, and Luxury, Oh My!

Eighty percent of the residential roofs in the United States are covered with some type of asphalt shingle. It has long been the most popular choice in roofing replacement due to several factors including price point, ease of installation, maintenance, and availability. There are now three main types of asphalt shingles on the market, and a homeowner should look at the benefits of all three before making a final decision on which to choose.

Asphalt is a tar-like substance that is left over from the oil refinement process. This byproduct can be used to pave roads and can also provide a waterproof barrier for a roof. To create asphalt shingles, a medium of some kind must be soaked in the asphalt liquid. This material is usually made either of organic fibers such as recycled and compressed paper or synthetic fiberglass. The soaked medium is then topped with ceramic granules to create the color scheme of traditional roofing. Nowadays there are even reflective coatings that go on the shingles to help insulate the home against UV and heat absorption. 

Simplicity: The Three-Tab Shingle Solution

The three-tab shingle was the first design for asphalt shingles and is so named for the three distinctive flaps or tabs that create the look of smaller pieces. This helps the weight of the shingle as well as giving it an attractive look. Three-tab asphalt shingles are made out of a single layer of material and it is installed over an extra layer of waterproofing tar paper that creates a seal with the help of the sun and heat. 

A roofer can easily do roofing repair and roofing replacement in one day with three-tab shingles. The cost of such a project can be less than $2 per square foot for materials. These shingles typically have a warranty of 20 to 25 years.

Dimension: Architectural Asphalt Shingles

Architectural or dimensional asphalt shingles are made out of multiple layers instead of the single layer of the regular three-tab. Because they are thicker they are more expensive, but also have a longer warranty. The attraction to these is not just increased durability but the appearance and curb appeal. The thicker shingles create a look that is more like the classic appearance of cedar shakes, giving the roof more dimension. Here are the basic attributes and benefits of dimensional shingles:

  • Wide variety of colors
  • 3-Dimensional appearance
  • 30+ Year warranty
  • Durable
  • Enduring curb appeal

Luxury: Premium Shingles and their Mimicry 

Premium asphalt shingles, also called luxury shingles, are also made of multiple layers but come in different shapes to imitate higher-end forms of roofing such as slate and cedar. The advantage of luxury asphalt shingles is that they are not as heavy as slate nor as high maintenance as cedar shakes. Additionally, though they are the most expensive type of asphalt shingle, they are far less expensive than slate or cedar. The advantages of luxury shingles are as follows:

  • Mimicry:  They look like higher-end materials without the price point or the roofing maintenance.
  • Curb Appeal: They create a unique and attractive roof. 
  • Versatility: They come in a variety of styles and colors.
  • Warranty: They have between a 30 and 50-year warranty.

About Modern Method Roofing

With over 60 years of experience in Napa, CA, Modern Method Roofing has been going above and beyond the industry standards since the beginning. We offer a 12 warranty on our workmanship, the best around. Call us today for more information about our roofing services and book your appointment! 

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