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Exploring Dimensional Shingles: A Comprehensive Guide

January , 2024 | 7 min. read

By Cassie Findley

Hickory-colored architectural asphalt shingles on a rake and gutter edge corner

Are you looking to elevate the style and durability of your home's roof? 

Asphalt shingles are the number one roofing material in the United States.

They’re affordable, customizable, and can add major curb appeal to your home. As someone who takes pride in the appearance of their home, is there anything better than having the best house on the block street cred? Besides a really good donut, I think not. 

With a plethora of roofing materials available, choosing the right one can be a daunting task. But if you're looking for something that's both pretty and tough, dimensional shingles might be perfect for you. Dimensional shingles have a unique appearance and superior performance. Homeowners seeking both style and substance choose them often.

At RoofCrafters, we're excited to guide you through the ins and outs of dimensional shingles. With 30 years of roofing expertise, we're ready to help.  We’ve installed every type of roofing material imaginable, so we’re not biased when we say that dimensional shingles have become one of our favorites.

In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into what makes these shingles stand out. We'll cover their various types and explain why they might be the best choice for your roofing project. Let's embark on this informative journey together!

Understanding Asphalt Shingle Roofs: The Foundation for Dimensional Shingles


To understand dimensional shingles, it’s important to first get a grasp on asphalt shingles as a whole. Asphalt shingles are a type of waterproof roofing material. They’re relatively inexpensive cost in addition to their longevity and durability making them the most popular type of roofing in North America.

4 different types of asphalt shingles side by side

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 are what provide these shingles with the many different colors that you can choose from to fit the vision you have for your home.

Navigating Your Dimensional Shingle Options: Types and Costs


There are four different types of asphalt shingles that you can choose from. These are known as three-tab shingles, architectural shingles, upgraded architectural shingles, and designer roof shingles. Each of these shingles performs a different function depending on what look or purpose you may want your roof to serve

These 4 options may seem overwhelming, so let's break them down.

3 tab roof with complex valleys

  • 3-tab shingles: Three-tab shingles are the most basic form of shingles and 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 are also the lightest type of shingle, therefore they are far more affordable than architectural and designer shingles. The ballpark cost for three-tab shingles on a 2,000-square-foot home is around $7,300-$10,600.

    Stucco home with 3 car garage and asphalt shingle roof
  • Architectural shingles: Also known as laminate or dimensional shingles, this is the most common type of asphalt shingle roof. During the manufacturing process, 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. There are two different grades of architectural shingles you can choose from, and these are known as regular and upgraded. On a 2,000-square-foot home, the regular grade costs in the ballpark range of $11,200-$17,100.

    two-story home with a new GAF Timberline UHDZ shingle in Pewter gray
  • Upgraded architectural shingles: 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 thicker shingle, creating more definition and giving your roof more pop and curb appeal. If you don't want a basic shingle roof or the most common shingle roof in the US, then this one just may be the right one for you. Cost: The upfront investment for these heavier architectural shingles is typically 10 to 15% more than the regular architectural shingles. The average cost  $13,100 to $19,000.

    GAF Woodlawn designer shingle roof on custom brick home

  • Designer shingles: Last but certainly not least are designer shingles. Designer shingles are also considered luxury shingles and are the highest quality type of asphalt shingles on the market. These shingles stand out due to not only their high level of functionality but because of the beautiful appearance, they add to your home. Designer shingles are dimensional, functional, and come in an abundance of colors. These are the shingles for the consumer who takes pride in the curb appeal of their home. Designer shingles on a 2,000-square-foot home cost in the ballpark range of $18,500-$22,000.

Diving into Dimensional Shingles: Definition and Distinction


If you’re thinking, “Wait, I didn’t see dimensional shingles anywhere in that previous list”, you’d be correct! I promise you’re not going crazy. The roofing industry has many different names for the same thing. Sort of like how your birth certificate says one thing, but, Mom calls you Lovebug, and Brother calls you something that shouldn’t be mentioned in this article. Yet still, you’re one person.

shake wood architectural shingle up-close

Dimensional shingles are the same; they’re a nickname for architectural shingles. Okay, now it’s making sense! So, why did architectural shingles earn this nickname? Well, the term dimensional shingles was coined due to the layering, thickness, and depth of the shingles, making them “dimensional”. 

up close image of a 3-tab shingle

Standard asphalt shingles have three asphalt tabs that are spaced regularly, giving the roofing material a repetitive pattern. Dimensional shingles, however, have two layers of shingle material that are bonded together. However, grooves have been taken out of the shingle at random which exposes the bottom layer, thus providing the shingles a three-dimensional look with different high and low tabs. 

Dimensional vs Architectural Shingles: Unraveling the Differences


If the dimensional shingle is a nickname for architectural shingle, are they different? You’re starting to catch on, Lovebug.

In short, no, they’re not different from one another. Architectural shingles have evolved into many different designs, colors, sizes, and shapes over the years.

The nickname dimensional is simply a mere category of architectural shingles. Dimensional shingles are just a fancier, doctored-up version of architectural shingles.

The Asphalt Shingle Color Guide

Choosing Dimensional Shingles: Benefits and Considerations


Dimensional shingles are a great choice for many reasons. Among many, some of their most popular benefits include:

  • A wide range of colors and designs
  • A lifespan of up to 50 years
  • Wind and hail protection
  • Inexpensive installation


GAF HDZ & GAF UHDZ side-by-side visual comparrison

Their thick, durable granules provide them with a distinctive look and style, not to mention the multitude of color options available to you. Dimensional shingles also tend to last longer than standard shingles because they can bend slightly, wicking away water that could otherwise damage the shingles and the roofing structure beneath them.

Why Opt for Dimensional Shingles: Advantages for Your Home


Dimensional shingles are incredibly durable. The fact that they are double bonded offers your home greater protection from wind, hail, and rain. This is important to factor in if you live in a region that’s prone to storms. The heaviest grade can withstand winds over 150 mph, which we Floridians can appreciate.

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Harness the Elegance and Durability of Dimensional Shingles for Your Home 


Now that you understand dimensional shingles, it's time to decide about your roofing. If you like the unique blend of durability, style, and variety of dimensional shingles,  RoofCrafters is here to bring your vision to life.

Schedule your inspection for a personalized consultation. Explore the array of color and design options we offer. Our experienced team is ready to assist you every step of the way. They ensure your roofing journey is smooth and satisfying. Let RoofCrafters be your trusted partner in achieving the roof of your dreams!

Schedule an Inspection

Cassie Findley

My name is Cassie, and I’m the Content Manager here at RoofCrafters. I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, and made my way out to Florida post-college graduation. I’m incredibly passionate about writing and creating valuable content that helps others with the collaboration of my marketing team. When I’m not working, I enjoy shopping (a little too much), spending time at the beach, and reading!