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asphalt shingles

Complete Guide to Choosing Asphalt Shingles for Your Roof in 2024

April , 2024 | 10 min. read

By Mitch Owens

Are you weighing your roofing options, pondering over what could be the best choice for your home? Perhaps you're contemplating the classic appeal of asphalt shingles but are not quite sure if it's the right path to take.

We completely understand that choosing a roofing material isn't a decision to take lightly. It's about balancing aesthetics, durability, and affordability.

At RoofCrafters, with our 30-year legacy in the roofing industry. We've guided countless homeowners through this very decision. Our experience has taught us that knowledge is the key to making a choice you can be confident and happy with. So we want to share our experience with you!

In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve deep into the world of asphalt shingle roofs. You'll learn about their maintenance needs, styles, and how they stack up against your home's needs. If you want something cheap or a certain look, asphalt shingles could work for you.


what are the most important facts about asphalt shingles

So, let's embark on this journey together. By the end of this article, hopefully, you'll have a clearer picture of whether asphalt shingle is the best choice for your home. Let's begin!

Maintaining Asphalt Shingle Roofs: Tips for Longevity


While you’re sitting on the beach sipping on a frozen piña colada and feeling the sand between your toes. The sunshine on your warm skin. What are you thinking about? Perhaps how great your flight from Wisconsin to Florida was, or what outfit you'll wear to brunch tomorrow. It’s safe to assume that you aren’t thinking about the damage being done to the roof on your vacation home from today's incredibly high UV rays or debris left on the roof.

red arrows pointing at leaf debris in valleys on a roof of a home

I know, this is a lot to throw at someone on vacation. However, knowledge is power. Now that you know the regional weather damages possibly being done to your cozy beachside cottage, you can take the proper precautions. Remembering to clean your gutters regularly, ventilate the attic, and have your roof inspected by professionals are all small steps you can take to avoid future damage. If you take care of your asphalt shingle roof, it will return the favor.

poor roof maintenance shown on a beautiful home

When properly taken care of, the wonderful thing about asphalt shingle roofs is their longevity. Asphalt shingles are one of the most durable and cost-effective roofing materials currently on the market. The weather may be out of your control, but taking those small steps to increase your roof's lifespan will make all the difference.

Discovering Asphalt Shingles: Variety and Versatility


Now that you know the maintenance involved in your asphalt shingle roof, let’s delve into the details. Asphalt shingles are a type of waterproof roofing material. Its relatively inexpensive cost, longevity, and durability make it the most popular type of roofing in North America.

Up close of premium asphalt shingles on a steep hip roof

Asphalt shingles come in numerous styles and colors and would be the perfect addition to any home. These shingles are made up of a base mat on the bottom, a layer of waterproof asphalt in the middle, and ceramic granules on top. The granules provide these shingles with the many different colors you can choose from to fit your vision for your home.

The Asphalt Shingle Color Guide

There are four types of asphalt shingles that you get to choose from. They are known as three-tab shingles, architectural shingles, upgraded architectural shingles, and designer shingles. Each shingle performs a different function depending on the look or desire for longevity.

The 4 options may seem overwhelming, but we’re here to break them down for you. Let’s start first with the 3-tab shingles. 

Economical Roofing: Exploring Three-Tab Shingles


up close image of a 3-tab shingle

Three-tab shingles are considered the basic shingles. They get their name from the way they are cut and installed. They are made out of a single layer of asphalt and then cut into strips. They're also the lightest type of shingle, therefore they're far more affordable than architectural and designer shingles.

The ballpark cost for three-tab shingles on a 2,000-square-foot home is around $8,300-$11,600.

White home with weather wood GAf Royal Sovereign 3-tab shingles

Three-tab shingles are extremely cost-efficient and are a wonderful choice for any homeowner. In the spirit of transparency, there are a few downsides to this type of shingle. Because they are so lightweight, they have the potential to blow off more easily than the other two types, which is not only dangerous but expensive too.

Sadly, three-tab shingles are also limited in their aesthetic options. Architectural or designer shingles are a better choice if you’re looking for something more upscale. For the short term, three-tab shingles can be more economically smart for rental properties or budget homes.

See the GAF color chart here.  

 Check out the CertainTeed Roofing 3-tab color chart here. 

Enhancing Your Home’s Look with Architectural Shingles


architectural asphalt shingle

Architectural shingles are also known as laminate or dimensional shingles, this is the most popular shingle style. During the manufacturing, the base mats are given two or more layers to create a multi-dimensional appearance on your roof. Because of these extra layers and weight added, architectural shingles are particularly durable.

gray home with an architectural shingle roof


On a 2,000-square-foot home, the regular grade costs in the ballpark range of $13,300 to $19,200. They're going to be a little less durable than the upgraded shingles.

There are two different grades of architectural shingles you can choose from, and these are known as regular and upgraded architectural. The architectural shingle shown above is the most widely installed in the United States.

 View CertainTeed architectural colors here. 

View  GAF Timberline architectural colors here. 

The Appeal of Upgraded Architectural Shingles


Upgraded Premium GAF Timberline UHDZ shingle

The upgraded architectural shingles are a bit more popular. They are flashier, giving your home that “pop” you may be interested in, and they are heavier than the regular grade. Depending on the weather and the region, regular or upgraded architectural shingles are a great choice for any home.

two-story home with a new GAF Timberline UHDZ shingle in Pewter gray

The ballpark cost of the upgraded shingles is around $15,500-$21,000 on a 2,000-square-foot home.  

Side by side with its little brother, the ‘regular’ architectural shingle, there is no comparison. This shingle is much heavier in weight. It is a much thicker shingle, creating more definition and giving your roof more pop and curb appeal. If you don't want a basic shingle roof. Or maybe you don't want the most common shingle roof in the US. If so, this one may be the right one for you. 

The heavier a product the less likely it is to blow off in a major wind storm. These shingles can weigh as much as 100 lb per square foot more than regular architectural shingles depending on the manufacturer you choose.

Related article:  Comparison of the top upgraded architectural shingles.

Luxury on Top: The Beauty of Designer Shingles


GAF Woodlawn Designer shingle

Last but not least are designer shingle roofs. Designer shingles are also referred to as luxury shingles and are the highest-quality asphalt shingles. Designer shingles stand out due to their high level of functionality and the beautiful appearance they'll add to your home.

GAF Woodlawn designer shingle roof on custom brick home

Designer shingles on a 2,000-square-foot home cost from $21,500 to $25,000. They are the most expensive type of asphalt shingles on the market.

Designer shingles are functional and come in several colors. These shingles are for the consumer who takes pride in the curb appeal of their home. While these shingles may be beautiful and provide a one-of-a-kind look, they're also incredibly durable. 

They are double the weight of three-tab shingles, which means they have extra strength against impact and tears. This is ideal for homes in hurricane, tornado, and extreme weather-prone regions.

See the designer shingle styles and colors here. 

Is an Asphalt Shingle Roof Right for You?


Asphalt shingles are a great addition to any home. They're budget-friendly and reliable. They also come in a wide variety of colors and styles. If you’ve got a specific idea or a unique design, asphalt shingles are a great choice for a roof replacement.

Yes, asphalt shingles are durable materials, yet they aren’t the most durable roofing material on the market. Other options are available, such as standing seam metal roofing that will withstand more extreme weather conditions.

If you currently live in the southern United States, or the next time you come down south to visit your cozy beachside cottage, take a look at your roof and consider its needs. If it's upgrading your asphalt shingles to a more weather-resistant grade, or deciding it’s time to choose a different roofing material, RoofCrafters has you covered. 

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Mitch Owens

My name is Mitch, and I have over 10 years of roofing experience. I enjoy my career in the service industry because I love helping others take care of their homes and businesses. With over 10 years in the roofing industry, my success comes from my honesty and integrity during my roof inspections. I do my best to listen to the needs of my clients and strive to provide an awesome client experience.