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What Are the Most Common Types of Shingles

So you’ve decided to replace your roof. Good for you!

Replacing worn, cracked, discolored shingles isn’t just taking care of an eyesore. It’s protecting one of your most important investments. Chances are you have a lot of questions about the type of shingles you should buy. You want to protect your home, but you want it to look good, too.

About Asphalt Shingles

By and large, the most popular type of shingles for residential homes are asphalt shingles. They are installed on about four out of five of all residential roofs and are the go-to product for most roofing companies when doing such work.


Asphalt shingles are a quality product. They’re durable, attractive, affordable, and readily available in a wide variety of styles, patterns, and colors that will complement any home. They are easier to maintain than traditional wood shakes or stone tiles. And compared to other types of shingles, they’re also easier to install.

Are There Different Types of Asphalt Shingles

We’re glad you asked!

Asphalt shingles are available in three basic grades – and what is best for your house will depend on your desired look and your budget. You can choose from the standard 3-Tab, also known as “strip” shingles, dimensional aka architectural shingles, or luxury aka designer shingles.

Each of the three grades shares some common features. All have a fiberglass core mat that provides rigidity and all are layered with waterproof and fire-resistant asphalt. In addition, they each have a granular coating that protects them against disintegration under the sun’s harsh UV rays.

Each successive grade, however, has some added value when it comes to aesthetics and performance. Let’s take a look at each of them.

3-Tab or Strip Shingles

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Lightweight, quick, and easy to install, 3-Tab shingles provide a flat, evenly-spaced look that mimics the appearance of slate. Because of their flatness, they tend to give a roof a more two-dimensional rather than three-dimensional look. 3-Tab shingles come in a wide assortment of colors from earthy tones to pastels.

Budget-friendly, they are the least expensive of the three grades of asphalt shingles, going for about $1 per square foot. They are also fairly durable, lasting 20 to 30 years on average. A word of caution, however: While originally the most popular asphalt shingles, demand for them has decreased in recent years and their availability has begun to fade.

Dimensional Shingles

Dimensional shingles are the next step up from the 3-Tab style and are the most common shingles used in new construction. Compared to 3-Tab, dimensional shingles provide a roof with a more attractive, sculpted appearance. With an extra laminate layer, they are heavier than their less expensive cousin and boast the highest protection ratings for wind and fire and resistance to impacts. They, too, come in a wide variety of colors, patterns, sizes, and styles. Roofs with dimensional shingles usually come with 20- to 50-year warranties and cost on average about $5 per square foot.

Luxury aka Designer Shingles

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Luxury shingles are the perfect match for an architecturally superior home. They offer a richer, more aesthetically pleasing topper and are designed to give a home a sort of “Old World” appearance much like natural slate or wood shakes. These multi-layered shingles are heavier than both 3-Tab and dimensional shingles and require more time for installation.

Like dimensional shingles, these too offer the highest ratings for wind, fire, and impacts and come in a wide variety of colors, patterns, sizes, and styles. They can last as many as 50 years. As the highest quality type of asphalt shingles, they also come with the highest price tag, on average about $10 per square foot.

Unsure What Might Look Best On Your Home

Take a drive around your neighborhood or others in your area and check out the roofs. You’ll be amazed by all the wonderful choices you have when you invest in asphalt shingles!


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