Roofing shingles will always be a staple for Lake in the Hills IL homes. However, homeowners-to-be need to resolve a conflict: architectural shingles vs 3-tab shingles.

Both roofing materials introduce a traditional appeal for any property. On the other hand, both materials vary in costs, durability, longevity, and have their respective curb appeals.

If you ask any reputable Lake in the Hills IL roofing contractor, they will advise you to use either one because of their excellence.

After reading this guide, you will:

  • Learn about the characteristics and differences of both architectural and 3-tab shingles
  • Choose the best material for your residential property

What Are Architectural Shingles?

In the question of architectural shingles vs 3-tab shingles, the latter has a more sophisticated make and appeal.

Masons in the earlier centuries used clay, slate, or limestone to create roofing shingles. Today, asphalt is the primary ingredient to create these roofing materials.

Architectural shingles are the evolution of the traditional three-tab shingles. However, unlike the latter’s use of pure petroleum and regular additives, architectural shingles have a heavy fiberglass base with ceramic coating for its mineral granules.

Additionally, manufacturers laminate architectural shingles to provide additional durability and longevity.


In terms of durability in the question of architectural shingles vs 3-tab shingles, architectural shingles reign supreme. Its thickness plays a huge role in improving its overall property protection and added insulation.

The added mass allows it to withstand several hailstorms. In fact, a single hailstorm will leave minor dents and damage to an architectural shingle roof. Therefore, it will perform well and sustain little to no storm damage during moderate to heavy rainstorms.

In addition, the laminate guarantees better property insulation because it protects the core shingle material from external weather conditions.


Because of their added mass, architectural shingles have better lifespan than traditional three-tab shingles. These roofing materials even withstand storms with winds higher than 60mph.

A premium architectural shingle roof has a lifespan of 50-70 years. Property owners will enjoy its lifespan in full provided its humid continental climate. However, in ideal weather with adequate summers and winters, the roof can last for 70 years or even more.


In the question of architectural shingles vs 3-tab shingles, architectural shingles lose a little bit. Architectural shingles cost $10-$15 per square foot.

An architectural shingle is two asphalt shingles fused together to create a thicker, denser roofing material than its basic form. In addition, it has fiberglass bases, ceramic covers, and laminates to improve its durability and longevity.

These characteristics make it more effective but in consequence more expensive. On the other hand, you are making an investment in a roof that guarantees excellent performance for decades.

colored architectural shingles in different layers and patterns

Architectural shingles are thicker and have a distinct curb appeal in the same vein as traditional roofing materials including slate and clay.

Overall Curb Appeal

Architectural shingles resemble the thickness and appeal of clay and slate tiles. The thick and natural materials are a staple of traditional residential roofing. While modern due to its manufacturing process, architectural shingle roofs have their distinct characteristic that adds sophistication and glamour to any property aesthetic.

Most contractors and real-estate professionals will recommend using architectural shingles in revitalizing ancestral property roofing. Their reason: it adds better appeal and makes the entire property look brand-new raising its value in the local market quickly.

What Are Three-Tab Shingles

In the question of architectural shingles vs 3-tab shingles, the latter is the common choice among residential property owners.

Three-tab or asphalt shingles get their name from their retail appearance of three tabs linked together. Contractors install three-tab shingles in different patterns starting with 1/4 of a shingle on the first row, 3/4 on the next, and a whole on the next. Aside from this usual installation process, variations exist.

Asphalt shingles have petroleum as their core component. Instead of fiberglass, asphalt shingles only have recycled paper, cellulose, or wood fiber as their base.


Asphalt shingles can withstand several hailstorms. However, a single hailstorm can severely damage a three-tab roof quickly. Additionally, strong windstorms with speeds above 60MPH will likely dislodge shingles off the residential property.

However, during moderate storms and weather conditions, asphalt shingles introduce the same protection as architectural shingles. If you live in an area visited infrequently by strong storms or extreme weather, then you will definitely find three-tab shingles as your best and cost-effective bet.


Three-tab shingles have a lifespan of 30-50 years. This is the lifespan of an average galvanized metal roof, and it is above the lifespan of a single-ply roofing membrane.

If you compare the two materials, architectural shingles have a longer lifespan and better durability. Additionally, asphalt shingles require regular maintenance while architectural shingles require minimal maintenance.

Three-tab shingle granules will likely find their way into gutters after a strong hailstorm. Additionally, molds and fungi may make their homes in the material deteriorating and damaging the entire roof in the process.

With careful maintenance, and if you’re lucky enough to be in an area with less frequency of extreme weather, then asphalt shingles will have a better and longer lifespan.

asphalt shingles imitating wooden shingle textures

Three-tab asphalt shingle manufacturers can also imitate wood shakes and shingles in visual texture.


It is understandable that homeowners find architectural shingles greatly expensive compared to three-tab shingles and other roofing materials. So, in case you’re not up to make a long-term investment but need a durable and well-performing roof, consider buying asphalt shingles.

Three-tab shingles cost about $5-$10 per square foot. If you’re using the material for a typical 600-square foot home, you’ll likely spend $3,000-$6,000. In comparison, this cost is ideal compared to the $9,000-$12,000 you’ll spend for architectural roofs.

Overall Curb Appeal

Unfortunately, despite its value for money with its durability and longevity, three-tab shingles fall short in terms of curb appeal.

It will introduce a beautiful aesthetic for any residential property. However, many other properties in the area will have used three-tab shingles because they are cost-effective and durable. If you’re planning to sell your house soon and improve its value through remodeling, consider architectural shingles instead.

architectural shingles vs 3-tab shingles

Three-tab asphalt shingles are the primary choice of almost every residential property.

Architectural Shingles vs 3-Tab Shingles: Verdict

In the question of architectural shingles vs 3-tab shingles, there is no clear winner.

Homeowners have to consider the following factors to see whether architectural or three-tab shingles will work for their home:

  • Budget for roofing materials
  • Objective: A cost-effective roof or value-adding roof?
  • Extreme weather frequency in the area

Once they have answered these questions effectively, they will make the best decision on whether to use architectural or three-tab shingle roofs for their properties.

Did you recently replace your roof? Which material did you use? Architectural, Three-Tab, or Others? Share it with us in the comments below!