Two of the most common types of residential shingles are 3-tab and dimensional or laminate shingles. If you are thinking about a roof replacement or similar job that gives you the option to switch the type of shingles on your home, it's important to make a smart decision. Let's take a look at the pros and cons of each type.
3-tab shingles get their name from the three asphalt tabs on every shingle. They are designed in a single, flat layer, with the three tabs placed evenly apart on the lower edge. These tabs fit together like simple puzzle pieces when the shingles are installed. The result is a very uniform, flattened pattern of rectangular shingles.
- Pros: 3-tab shingles have been around for a long, long time, and most roofers are very familiar with them. Their very simple design makes them easy to install and easy to repair. Because the shingle pattern is always the same, you know exactly what you are getting. These thin shingles are also some of the most affordable shingles on the market, so they are a good choice if you need to save money.
- Cons: The 3-tab shingle option is falling out of favor in the residential roofing world. Also, these shingles are more easily damaged than other types of shingles, and may wear out faster. Their warranties tend to last 20 to 25 years.
Dimensional shingles are also known as architectural or laminate shingles. They are "dimensional" because the shingle tabs come in different shapes and sizes: When installed, this makes the shingles look more layered and interesting, a natural look with less of a clear pattern. These shingles are typically made with double layers that make them much thicker than 3-tab shingles.
- Pros: Dimensional or laminate shingles are currently a very popular option for homes, and can even raise the value of your house if you are switching from 3-tab to dimensional. Not only do they look great on nearly any house, they are also one of the most durable types of shingles. This is why their warranties tend to last as long as 30-50 years.
- Cons: While these shingles have a lot of advantages, they are also more expensive than 3-tab shingles, which can raise the cost of a roofing project. It's also important to note that dimensional shingles weigh a lot more than 3-tab options, and a rooftop may not be able to support the weight without some structural changes.