What are Architectural Shingles?

Architectural shingles or ‘laminated shingles’ are an upgrade from the traditional 3-tab asphalt shingle. These upgrades come in both aesthetics and function, while still maintaining the affordability and resilience asphalt shingles are known for. 

What is the Difference Between Architectural Shingles and Asphalt Shingles?

Architectural and 3-tab shingles are both made of asphalt coated over a fibreglass bottom. This is what gives them their distinct weight and class B fire resistance. All and all, they are the same, except in one category; weight. 

3-tab shingles come as three horizontal shingles are nailed to the roof, whereas architectural shingles have additional asphalt shingles ‘laminated’ on top of these tabs. This results in architectural shingles being more massive than their 3-tab counterparts. 

The stacked appearance of architectural shingles gives them a 3-dimensional appearance that resembles wood shake panels. The added weight also makes them more resistant to physical damage, fire damage, and less likely to rip away from strong winds. 

3-tab Asphalt Shingles

  • 3-tabs, horizontal, linear pattern
  • Lighter weight
  • Less dense
  • More susceptible to wind

Architectural or ‘Laminated’ Shingles

  • Double-layered by stacking asphalt shingles on top of each other
  • Square or cube-like 3-d definition
  • 50% heavier
  • Square, alternating dimensions make it more resistant to wind
  • Thicker and more durable
  • Looks like wood shake shingles without the negatives

Overall, architectural shingles are the upgraded version of the regular 3-tab shingles. Read our definitive guide for more information on wood shake and other types of shingle materials. 



















What is the Life Expectancy of Architectural Shingles?

Architectural shingles share a similar life expectancy with their 3-tab cousins. 

3-tab shingles typically last 8-12 years. Architectural shingles last 25-30 years, as they are more durable than the 3-tab. 

However, this doesn’t include the possible damages that can occur over that time frame. Like asphalt shingles, laminated shingles still are susceptible to damage due to weathering. These damages include wind, water, and blunt damage as a result of severe thunderstorms. 


Are Architectural Shingles Worth the Extra Cost?

In practical terms, architectural shingles are worth the extra cost per sq/m due to how superior they are to 3-tab shingles. Though they are slightly more expensive, laminated shingles are still cheaper than other alternative materials like ceramic, slate, or metal. 

The cost also considers longevity, aesthetics, and physical durability, which laminated shingles outclass regular shingles in every category. 


How are Architectural Shingles Installed?

The main difference between the two shingles comes down to patterns, which is accomplished through the installation process. 3-tab shingles are straightforward; they line up linearly, forming segments with the top row slightly covering the bottom row. 

An additional piece of asphalt is glued onto one tab for laminated shingles and then installed in a criss-cross or stair-step pattern. Professional roofers will know precisely how to do this, which is why hiring them would be better. 

For better visualization of the architectural installation pattern, here is a video reference.