Dimensional Shingles vs. Three-Tab Shingles

Did you know that asphalt shingles are the most popular roofing material in North America? For a long time, this was simply due to the cheap price of three-tab shingles. But thanks to modern roofing technology, dimensional shingles now appeal to homeowners with their strength, durability, and strong aesthetics.

But what separates dimensional shingles from other types of shingles? And are they worth the investment in your home? We’re John Hogan Roofing, and with our 30 years of local roofing experience, we’re more than qualified to answer all of your questions about dimensional shingles. To get started, let’s compare old-school three-tab shingles with dimensional roofing shingles.

Dimensional Shingles vs. Three-Tab Shingles

Dimensional Shingles vs. Three-Tab Shingles

The original three-tab shingles were first developed in the 1930s. Featuring a single layer of asphalt, these shingles are identifiable by their flat, even appearance. This creates a simple pattern on the roof, and a handful of earth-toned color choices were available.

For decades, these were the most popular shingle roofing option. After all, they were cheap, easy to install, and could protect your home for up to 20 years if you got lucky. But then a disruptor entered the market in the 1970s—dimensional shingles.

Also called laminate or architectural shingles, these new asphalt shingles were almost twice as thick as 3-tab shingles. Notably, they swapped out the old asphalt mat and replaced it with inorganic fiberglass before covering it with a thick layer of asphalt.

This created many notable changes in dimensional shingles, from their performance to their aesthetics. To capture the full scope of the changes, let’s look at the benefits of dimensional shingles one by one.

Dimensional Shingle Durability

Perhaps the biggest difference made with dimensional shingles was how much punishment they could take. Three-tab shingles, even today, are generally only rated for winds up to 60 mph. And in a place like Florida, that’s not nearly enough resilience to protect someone’s home, especially during hurricane season.

Architectural shingles, on the other hand, are much more resistant to wind uplift. In general, the wind rating for dimensional shingles can be as high as 120 mph, making it twice as durable as three-tab shingles and much better-suited for Florida homeowners.

This improved durability doesn’t just extend to wind resistance, either. Because of their thicker build using multiple layers, dimensional shingles are also more resistant to water and impact damage. This makes them great options for homeowners who want to hurricane-proof their residences!

The Enhanced Longevity of Architectural Shingles

As a result of all of these improvements in safety and performance, architectural shingles last much longer than their three-tab counterparts.

As mentioned, three-tab shingles can last for up to 20 years in the best circumstances. But Florida, with its regular hurricanes and year-round humidity, has anything but the best circumstances for a roof. This means that a three-tab shingle roof in Florida is unlikely to last much longer than 15 years, even if it can somehow avoid substantial damage from our local storms.

Dimensional shingles, on the other hand, last for appreciably longer. Even with Florida’s harsh weather, dimensional shingles can last up to 25 years. This is an additional 10 years of life from your roof, which makes it very appealing for budget-conscious homeowners who want to put off another roof replacement for as long as possible.

Dimensional Shingles Aesthetics

The name “dimensional shingle” actually comes from the enhanced aesthetics that this newer roofing technology creates. Three-tab shingles created a flat, one-dimensional appearance on roofs with an obvious, boring pattern.

But dimensional shingles are anything but boring. Because of their thicker composition and advancements in their patterning, these asphalt shingles create a textured look on your roof that creates more depth and visual interest.

As a result of these improved looks, dimensional shingles can significantly increase your home’s curb appeal and value. That’s something to keep in mind when considering the total cost of your new roof—you also need to consider how much value that new roof brings to your home.

The Cost of Dimensional Shingles in Florida

The Cost of Dimensional Shingles in Florida

Let’s be clear: three-tab shingles are the cheapest roofing material on the market. So while architectural shingles are reasonably priced, they will always cost more than three-tab shingles due to the improvements in their design that we’ve explained above.

With that said, dimensional shingles tend to cost around five dollars per square foot. This is notably more than three-tab shingles, which cost around two dollars per square foot. But there are some important factors to keep in mind here.

For one thing, an architectural shingle roof will last roughly 10 years longer than one with three-tab shingles. This represents a lot of costs saved in the years that you don’t have to pay for another roof installation.

But more than that, architectural shingles also require fewer repairs than three-tab shingles. As a result, you’ll save a lot of money by investing in a roof that’s durable and not easily damaged.

So while dimensional shingles are slightly more expensive than three-tab, they’re almost always worth the extra investment. In fact, many roofers have stopped installing three-tab shingles at all because of their lackluster performance.

Get Your Free Shingle Roofing Estimate

Shingle roofs are a staple of American communities. If you want to explore your options with architectural shingle roofing, John Hogan Roofing is ready to help with our fast and easy free roofing estimates. And with online scheduling, getting an exact cost estimate for your new roof has never been easier!

Dimensional shingles clearly have a lot to offer Florida homeowners, and so do we. With 30 years of Florida roofing experience and great reviews, we’ve got the experienced crews to get the job done right every time. Reach out and see why John Hogan Roofing is still known as Florida’s top shingle roofing company!


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