What is an architectural shingles? Why do property owners invest so much in them?

Old homes in need of makeovers use architectural shingles to improve their curb appeal. In addition, these properties have additional protection and level up the lifespan of the entire home as a whole.

However, is it cost effective to choose architectural shingles than the usual three-tab asphalt shingles? Do they have an advantage over wood shakes, clay tiles, and other types of shingle material?

In here is everything you need to know about architectural shingles. The post will discuss the defining characteristics of architectural shingles and how to provide basic maintenance.

What is an Architectural Shingles: Characteristics

What is an architectural shingles?

Architectural shingles are a premium form of asphalt shingle roofing. Similar to regular shingles, they have an asphalt base.

However, manufacturers use a thicker mat base made of asphalt-coated fiberglass. Then, they overlap multiple asphalt shingle layers. Lastly, to provide optimum anti-moisture and anti-penetration capabilities, manufacturers laminate them.

Considering its weight, architectural shingles are quite heavy. Typical three-tab asphalt shingles weigh about 30-50 pounds per 100 feet of roof. Architectural shingles are heavier at 100-120 pounds per same roof space. It is for this reason the most reliable and trustworthy contractors will recommend building reinforced roofing joists.

Roofers often recommend architectural shingles for older homes because of added curb appeal. Additionally, it provides improved durability and it conceals roof deck imperfections and tarnishes common in older homes.

Here are the other characteristics of architectural shingles.


What is an architectural shingles? It is one with the longest lifespan.

Fiberglass adds tensile and compressive strength to any material. Combining this with the sturdy composition of asphalt brings better longevity to roofing materials.

On the other hand, laminate reduces the risk of moisture infiltration. This result prevents the growth of roof-damaging life forms such as molds, mildew, and fungi.

Asphalt shingles have an average lifespan of 25-30 years. In contrast, architectural shingles live longer. Manufacturers estimate them to live as long as 30-40 years with premium architectural shingles surviving for 50 years or more.

an elegantly-curving architectural shingle roof

Architectural shingles can live for more than 50 years compared to the 30-40 years most three-tab shingles have.


What is an architectural shingles? One that provides optimum protection.

Laminate resists scratches. If combined with fiberglass, they have improved resistance. Architectural shingles have a thick laminate layer combined with fiberglass. In fact, premium variants have thicker fiberglass-laminate hybrids.

On average, architectural shingles will withstand multiple hailstorms, heavy rainstorms, and snow. They are three to four times thicker and durable than three-tab shingles.

However, it pays to have an inspection every few years. In fact, always have an inspection after a strong hailstorm. Both pea and softball-sized hailstones will damage even the sturdiest architectural shingle roofs.


What is an architectural shingles? One that is of high quality with a premium price.

Architectural shingles cost about $30-$50 per bundle. Most manufacturers sell them $100-$150 per square.

Provided their thick material, lifespan, and durability, the added expense is understandable. Typical three-tab shingles cost about $10-15 per bundle and $50-$70 per square.

what is an architectural shingles

Colored architectural shingles add better curb appeal too.

Curb Appeal

What is an architectural shingles? One that makes a home beautiful.

Asphalt shingles have durability and gorgeous curb appeal. However, their median prices will not make your property stand out in any neighborhood.

The affordability of asphalt shingles will allow any homeowner to add the material to their home. Therefore, you’ll need architectural shingles to upgrade your curb appeal.

If your home stands out, you can quickly improve its overall appraisal value and even hasten its sale in the future.

Main Differences With Regular Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles are the go-to choice of most homeowners. They are easy to install, cost effective, and adds beautiful curb appeal to any home.

However, asphalt shingles only last less than 30-40 years. In addition, replacing aging shingles with asphalt on old properties only do so much for property value.

However, compared to architectural shingles, asphalt shingles have plenty of variety. In fact, metal shingle manufacturers imprint asphalt shingle textures on their materials. In turn, this improves the overall aesthetic and durability of the asphalt shingle roof.

Architectural shingles have a one-of-a-kind quality and appearance. This makes them distinct against other shingle types.

Here are the main differences of architectural shingles with asphalt variants.


Architectural shingles have a bolder, premium, and glamorous appearance. They look like embossed and engraved shingles if contractors install them properly.

Architectural shingles install in the same manner as asphalt variants. However, instead of three-tab patterns, contractors can install them in a symmetrical manner.

The thicker material makes any roof appear strong and durable, which is helpful when trying to improve property value. Asphalt shingles make a roof look durable during its early years. If kept unattended, it makes properties look aged and troubled.


Asphalt shingles have an average of 20-30 years. On the other hand, architectural shingles have more than 30-40 years lifespan. Premium asphalt shingles have the same number of functional years as architectural shingles. However, they have less curb appeal compared to architectural variants.

Premium architectural shingle variants have a lifespan of more than 50 years. However, they are as costly as metal roofs.

shingles with a distinct architectural tile-style twist

Architectural shingles aren’t just for special properties such as institutions and museums. You can use them for your home too


Architectural shingles are multi-layered asphalt shingles. Therefore, they are inches thicker when you compare them to their predecessors.

The fiberglass-asphalt and fiberglass-laminate composites in most architectural shingles also add to the thickness. However, the thickness is part of its appeal and adds strength to the roofing material.


Architectural shingles’ thickness contributes to its extra weight. They are 50% heavier than typical shingles. Therefore, contractors will suggest the construction of reinforced roofing joists. Asphalt shingles require no additional roofing joists even with thick roofing underlayment in place.

Installation Difficulty

The thicker material of architectural shingles requires special, thicker adhesive and roofing nails. In this light, contractors will use additional manpower and specifically-designed equipment. Architectural shingles can break apart if roofers hammer on a nail for too long.

Therefore, architectural shingles are a notch more difficult to install than asphalt shingles. Because your contractor will use more time to install them, the service is most costly. Replacing them on your own requires special tools too.

a wood imitation architectural shingles with two roof structures included

Architectural shingles can imitate certain traditional shingles to suit your property aesthetics.


Architectural shingles are a cost effective, durable, and effective alternative to asphalt shingles. While more expensive, the advantages they bring properties is certainly undeniable.

However, they require special equipment and experience to install, so only use roofers with extensive architectural shingle installation experience for any related project.