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Which Type of Asphalt Shingle is Best for My Home?

July 28th, 2022 | 9 min. read

Which Type of Asphalt Shingle is Best for My Home?

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If your roof is worn out and you are looking for the best asphalt shingle for your home, you have come to the right place.


With all the different asphalt shingles out here, if you are like most homeowners, your not really sure which one is best for you.


We get it, here at RoofCrafters Roofing our family has been helping homeowners just like you in South Carolina, Georgia and Florida choose the best asphalt shingle for their homes. For nearly 3 decades, we have helped our clients by educating them so that they are able to make the best roof investment decision for their family.


We know this is an important decision.


So we want to share our 29 years of experience with you. 


In this article we will go over the 4 different types of asphalt shingles available and hopefully by the end of this article you will be able to make a well informed decision on “Which asphalt shingle is best for my home?” 

The 4 types of asphalt shingles


The 4 different types of asphalt shingles available are:  


  • 3-tab  shingles
  • Architectural shingles
  • Upgraded architectural shingles
  • Designer shingles

All the different types of asphalt shingle provide something unique. Maybe it’s a particular roof style, color, or pattern that you are looking for. Below we will show you some images and the average cost of each of the 4 styles of shingles.


Continue reading to learn the average cost along with some of the pros and cons of each of the 4 different asphalt shingle styles.


3-Tab Asphalt Shingles


3 tab shingles are often referred to as builder grade shingles, they have the least weight and lay the flattest of the 4 asphalt shingles. Named because of the 3 cutouts in the shingles, those cutouts create 3 individual shingle tabs. 


If you are looking for a basic shingle roof this is the one. It is basic. The upside is that it is the most economical asphalt shingle roof on the market. The downside is that it provides the least wind protection and will need to be replaced sooner than the other shingles available.

3 tab roof with complex valleys


Cost: 3-tab shingles are the least expensive asphalt shingles, the average cost is $7,300 to $10,600


Aesthetics: They provide a slate shingle look.


Lifespan: 3-tabs typically last 12-15 years 


Protection: Being the lightest asphalt shingle they provide the least wind protection, during a major wind event the 3-tabs shingles are at a greater risk to blow off the roof.


View GAF 3-tab colors here.

View Certainteed colors here.



Architectural Asphalt Shingles

Architectural shingles are sometimes referred to as laminated or dimensional shingles because during the manufacturing of these shingles the manufacturer laminates shingle parts together. This laminated part creates depth or provides dimension.


Fun fact, this shingle was actually designed to look like real wood shingles. 


So, in my opinion, for me, the darker colors especially the brown colors look more natural because they resemble a real wood shake shingle roof more than the gray colors or lighter gray colors do. Hey, maybe it's because I know they were designed to look like wood shingles and wood shingles are brown, right!


The architectural shingle is also the most common of the asphalt shingles used here in the United States. This shingle provides a greater wind warranty and depending on weather conditions it lasts 7-10 years longer than the 3-tab shingles.

architectural shingle roof with valleys


Cost: Architectural shingles typically cost around 10% to 15% more than 3-tab shingles Average cost $11,200  to  $17,100


Aesthetics: These shingles provide a dimension that will provide more curb appeal


Lifespan: Most architectural roofs last 17 to 22 years with proper roof ventilation. (Why proper ventilation matter)


Protection: With the correct installation methods they can provide wind coverage up to  130 mph depending on which manufacturer you go with.


View GAF Architectural colors here.

View Certainteed shingle colors here.



Upgraded Architecture Asphalt Shingle


Upgraded Architecture Shingle put side by side with the “regular” architectural shingle roof, there is no comparison, this asphalt shingle is much heavier in weight. This extra weight makes it a thicker shingle creating more definition on the roof, and giving your roof more depth and pop. Which helps create a greater curb appeal. 


And It’s common sense…


A heavier shingle has less chance to blow off, right?


These upgraded shingles in most cases come with a longer algae warranty. This means the black streaks won't be on your roof for a very long time, making your home look better for a longer timeframe.


Yes, It does have more of an upfront investment, it also lasts longer and will stay on longer during a high wind storm and it provides  increased curb appeal for a longer period of time.  


If you don't want a basic shingle roof or the most common asphalt shingle roof and you are looking to impact your curb appeal, then one of the upgraded architectural shingles may be right for you.

Upgraded architectural shingle on complex roof


Cost: The upfront investment for these heavier architectural shingles is typically 10 to 15% more than the regular architectural shingles. Average cost  $13,100  to  $19,000


Aesthetics: The thickness of these shingles creates a very noticeable difference that provides an extra pop from the street.


Lifespan: Created with more asphalt in the shingle, these shingles typically last 25 to 30 years.


Protection: 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 decide to go with.

View GAF Upgraded Architectural colors here.

View Certainteed Upgraded colors options here.

Designer Asphalt Shingles 

Designer Shingles or sometimes they are referred to as luxury shingles. Designer or luxury shingles are specially designed to simulate real products, such as real slate or real wood shingles.  They are by far the heaviest of the asphalt shingles.


Because of the extra weight, these shingles will certainly be the last to blow off during a high wind storm. That’s great news if you live anywhere on or near the coast.


Hurricanes and severe storms coming off the ocean can be expected at some point in the future.


If you love the curb appeal they add and having better protection in case of high wind storms then this one may be just right for you.


Designer shingles will add tremendous aesthetic value, they create amazing curb appeal with their unique designs. If you want your home to stand out from the rest. Or if you want all the neighbors to be a little jealous and ask you what type of roof you have on your home, this may be the right roof material for you.


designer mid


Cost: Designer roofs have the most upfront investment and will cost anywhere from 20% to 25% more depending on which designer shingle you choose. Average cost $18,300  to  $29,100


Aesthetics: These shingles are specifically manufactured to provide the most curb appeal.


Lifespan: You can expect these shingles to last 30 to 40 years.


Protection: Being the heaviest of the shingle family, with proper installation these provide an unmatched wind and overprotection from storms. 


View GAF designer styles and colors here.

View Certainteed’s styles and colors here.

Now that you know the difference between 3-Tab Shingles vs. Architectural Shingles vs. Upgraded Architectural Shingles vs.Designer Shingles and if you found this article helpful you may want to check out what is a roof warranty to learn more about the differences between roof material and roof workmanship warranties.

How to choose the right roofing contractor?

So, whether you have a roof leak, storm damage, an older roof, and you are in need of a local roofing contractor to repair or replace your roof,  What really matters is that this  is a very important task and you want to choose the right contractor for the job.


So we have put together a checklist, it includes some frequently asked roofing questions along with all the answers so that you can make a great decision when choosing the roofing contractor to hire for your upcoming roof project.  


If you are ready to schedule your roof inspection our team here at RoofCrafters has been providing honest and thorough roof inspections for almost 3 decades and you can count on our family to be transparent, and professional. You can also count on our roof estimators to provide you with an honest roof evaluation and recommendations for your shingle roof replacement. If this sound like it would be a good fit, you can schedule your roof inspection here.


Or check out one of these other resources: 


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