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asphalt shingles

What Are Dimensional Shingles?

September , 2022 | 6 min. read

By Cassie Findley

neighborhood with asphalt shingle roofs

Asphalt shingles are the number 1 most common 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. 

On the other hand, asphalt shingles are oftentimes criticized due to their repetitive appearance. The OG’s can say “I had them first!” all they want, but it doesn’t change the fact that your roof is a carbon copy of your neighbors. However, the days of copycatting are over thanks to dimensional shingles.

At RoofCrafters, we’ve been repairing and installing roofs since the term copycat was invented, so we’ve been around the block (figuratively and literally) a time or two. 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.

Dimensional shingles allow you to spruce up the traditional shingle look, while not straying too far away from their classic roots. If you’re reading this piece you’re probably interested in learning more about dimensional shingles. It’s a good thing you’re here because by the end of this article, you’ll know what an asphalt shingle roof is, what makes dimensional shingles different, and why you should opt for these special shingles for your latest roof installation. Let’s jump in!

What Is an Asphalt Shingle Roof?

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.

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.

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 together. 

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.

    Upgraded architectural shingle on complex 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.

    slightly complex, upgraded architectural shingle roof
  • 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.

large home with designer asphalt shingles
  • Designer shingles: Last but certainly not least is designer shingles. Designer shingles are also referred to as 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 that 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.

What Are Dimensional Shingles?

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.

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 were coined due to the layering, thickness, and depth of the shingles, making them “dimensional”. 

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. 

Are Dimensional Shingles Different From Architectural Shingles?

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.

Why Should I Choose Dimensional Shingles?

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

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.

Dimensional shingles are incredibly durable, too. The fact that they are double bonded offers your home greater protection from wind, hail, and rain, which is important to factor in if you live in a region that’s prone to storms. Their heaviest grade can withstand winds of up to 130 mph, which we Floridians can appreciate.

If these highlights sound intriguing, and you’re interested in installing dimensional shingles, drop RoofCrafters a line on our contact page and get one step closer to your dream roof. One of our friendly representatives will schedule an inspection at your earliest convenience where an estimator will inspect your roof and attic and provide you with color and design options.

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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!