Choosing between three tab and architectural shingles.

After a catastrophe weather event, there is roof damage everywhere. How to you know the best shingle to use for your roof repair.  Your first step after the storm is to get a roof tarp and make necessary temporary repairs to stop further damages.

You insurance adjuster will estimate for the kind of shingles you had on your roof at the time of the loss. For example if you have a three tab composition shingle, you estimate will be for a three tab composition shingle.  That does not mean that is the type of shingle you are required to go back with.  The insurance policy just paid you for what you had, you the homeowner, can choose what shingle you replace your roof with.

3 Tab roof Shingle

3 Tab roof Shingle

Three tab composition is the most common type of shingle on the market.  This has nothing to do with the granule color, only the style of the shingle.  They are labeled mainly with 25 year warrantees but recently the same shingle has been relabeled for 30 year warranty.   You can also get a slightly thinner 20 year three tab, which the manufactures have not started to label as a 25 year warranty. 

Three tab refers to each individual shingle looking like there is 3 tiles or squares, each tab is separated by a key hole.  This  give the look of the shingle.  The key hole is also a place where wind can get up under, this is why 3 tab composition shingles are more susceptible to wind damage.

Architectural Shingles 

Architectural Shingles 

The second most common type of roofing is architectural shingle.  This is exactly like a 3 tab, however there is an additional piece of shingle that is placed over the key hole giving it a more dimensional look.  This extra piece makes the shingle thicker and therefore it has a longer warrantee.  Depending on the thickness of the shingle itself, architectural shingles are warrantied for 30-50 years.   The extra piece also stops wind from getting up under the shingle.

COST: The labor to install both 3 tab and architectural shingles are the same.  The difference is the material cost which is only about $20 per square. So on a average size roof it is about an additional $600 in materials.

Architectural shingles gives the home an upgraded appearance. It is somewhat less prone to wind damage, and it should technically last longer.

WARANTEES: Shingle warrantees are only for the material itself, and it only covers manufacturing defects.  Any problems from improper installation, weather, trees and rodents etc are not covered under a shingle warranty.  Also, if you live in climate like Florida where there is extremely hot weather all year round, you will not get the full lifespan out of the shingle. Manufactures do not cover simple aging.   Warrantees are rarely collected on, and not really worth much.

In my opinion, if there is any way you can afford the extra material cost it is worth it.  If you cannot, the three tab is a good roof as well. Truly the shingles are only as good as how they are installed so do your due diligence choosing a roofer.