For homeowners looking to boost the aesthetic and protective value of their homes, architectural shingles are often the go-to roofing material. These are not your typical 3-tab shingles; architectural shingles offer a broad range of benefits that set them apart from other roofing materials and establish them as a premier choice for both contractors and homeowners.

What are Architectural Shingles?

Architectural shingles, also known as dimensional or laminate shingles, are special types of asphalt shingles. Unlike regular 3-tab shingles, architectural shingles are two-layer or multi-layer, offering more thickness and a three-dimensional appearance. This thickness and unique appearance often mimic the elegant looks of slate or cedar wood shakes, providing more aesthetic value to your home.

Features of Architectural Shingles

Durability and Lifespan

Architectural shingles are known for their durability and extended lifespan. Because they are made with a heavier base material and multiple layers bonded with adhesive, these shingles can withstand severe weather conditions, from heavy rain to high winds, hail, and snow. They are designed to last 30 to 50 years, which is significantly longer than the 15 to 20-year lifespan of regular 3-tab shingles.

Aesthetic Appeal

The term architecture in the name implies style and design, and indeed, these shingles do not disappoint in this aspect. Architectural shingles are available in various styles, colors, and designs, giving homeowners the freedom to choose a look that best suits their homes. Whether you’re aiming for a traditional, rustic, or contemporary look, there’s an architectural shingle style for you.

Wind and Fire Resistance

Given their thickness and weight, architectural shingles perform well in withstanding high winds often better than other shingle varieties. Most architectural shingles can withstand wind speeds of up to 120 mph. In addition to this, they are also manufactured to resist fire. They usually have a Class A fire rating, the highest possible ranking in the industry.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Architectural Shingles


While architectural shingles offer numerous advantages, they are generally more expensive than 3-tab shingles. However, considering their longer lifespan and minimal maintenance needs, the up-front cost can be economical over time.

Roof Pitch

  • Architectural shingles are ideal for roofs with a steep pitch as it enhances their dimensional appearance.

  • On flatter roofs, the dimensional look may not be as visible, reducing the aesthetic advantage of architectural shingles.


  • In regions with heavier snowfall or frequent hail, the durability and weather resistance of architectural shingles prove advantageous.

  • In warmer climates, select a lighter color architectural shingle to reflect heat back into the atmosphere rather than absorbing it into your home.

Installation of Architectural Shingles

The installation process of architectural shingles is somewhat similar to that of regular asphalt shingles. However, because architectural shingles are heavier, the roofing system needs to be strong enough to support them. Therefore, homeowners may need to consider additional structural support. In all cases, the help of a professional contractor is advised to ensure proper installation and maximize the benefits of architectural shingles.

Architectural shingles offer a perfect blend of durability, aesthetic appeal, and weather resistance that makes them a popular choice for homeowners. While the initial cost is higher than other roofing materials, their long-term benefits and return on investment make them a worthy investment for any home.

FAQs on Architectural Shingles

We know you may have numerous queries about architectural shingles. That's why we have come up with this comprehensive FAQ section to address everything you need to know about architectural shingles. Whether it's about their installation, lifespan, costs, or more. Read away!

What are the main features of architectural shingles?

Architectural shingles, sometimes known as "laminate" or "dimensional" shingles, are unique for their heavier base mat and multiple layers of more refined asphalt. These build up a multidimensional look that can significantly enhance the curb appeal of your property. They are known for their durability, wind resistance, and aesthetic appeal.

How long do architectural shingles last?

The lifespan of architectural shingles can vary, dependent on your local climate, the quality of installation, and the manufacturer. Generally, you can expect architectural shingles to last anywhere between 25 to 30 years. Some premium brands can even last up to 40 to 50 years with appropriate care and maintenance.

What differentiates architectural shingles from standard asphalt shingles?

While both architectural and standard asphalt shingles are made from similar materials, architectural shingles are thicker and can provide better performance over time. Their multidimensional appearance is another feature that sets them apart from their standard counterparts, adding a stylish factor that ordinary asphalt shingles may lack.

How are architectural shingles installed?

While architectural shingles can be DIY installed, the process can be complicated and time-consuming. Hence, it's recommended to hire a qualified professional. That said, the strategies for installation include removing old shingles before fixing a new layer, application of roofing felt for protection, carefully nailing down each shingle, and more.

Do architectural shingles require a specific type of roof?

No, architectural shingles are versatile and they do not necessitate a particular roof type. They can be installed on a variety of roofs – be it sloping or flat. However, they tend to perform best on steep roofs as this allows for proper water runoff and minimizes the potential for leaks.

Are architectural shingles expensive?

While architectural shingles are typically more costly than standard asphalt shingles, it's worth pointing out that they offer value for your money given to their longer life, superior durability, and aesthetic appeal. The cost can also change depending on the brand, design options, and the complexity of the roof where they will be installed.

Can I replace standard shingles with architectural shingles?

Yes, you can upgrade from standard to architectural shingles. However, keep in mind that architectural shingles are heavier, so your existing roof structure must be sturdy enough to support this added weight. It would be wise to consult a roofing professional if you're contemplating this switch.

What types of architectural shingle styles are available?

Architectural shingles come in a variety of styles and colours to suit different kinds of homes. Some popular styles include traditional, contemporary, and Victorian. Furthermore, you can choose from looks that mimic wood shakes or even slate for an exquisite finish.

Do architectural shingles offer any warranties?

Yes, most manufacturers offer extended warranties for architectural shingles, owing to their durability and longer lifespan. Depending on the brand, warranties can range from 25 years to a lifetime. It is important to discuss the warranty options with your roofing contractor or product provider before deciding on a particular brand.

How do I maintain my architectural shingles?

While architectural shingles require less maintenance than other types, it is essential to keep an eye out for signs of damage or wear and tear - like curling, cracking, or missing shingles. Regular cleaning to remove debris and moss can also be beneficial. For major maintenance duties, you may wish to engage a roofing professional.

Can architectural shingles withstand severe weather?

Architectural shingles are built to withstand extreme weather conditions including rain, snow, high winds and even hail. They are heavier and more durable which makes them less prone to lifting or curling in high winds or harsh weather.

Pros of Architectural Shingles

1. Aesthetic Appeal

Architectural shingles, also known as dimensional or laminated shingles, significantly improve the aesthetic appeal of your house. They are designed to replicate the appearance of cedar or slate shingles, adding a touch of luxury. They are available in a wide variety of colors and styles to suit any architectural design.

2. Durability

Architectural shingles are made from a heavier material than traditional 3-tab shingles. This makes them more durable and resistant to harsh weather conditions. The additional weight and thickness of the shingles highly reduce the risk of curling or tearing, significantly extending the lifespan of your roof.

  • Wind Resistance: Architectural shingles are rated to resist higher wind speeds than many other shingle types. This means they're less likely to be damaged in strong wind conditions.

  • Impact Resistance: The additional thickness of architectural shingles provides a higher level of protection against impact damage, such as from hail or fallen tree branches.

3. Long Warranty Period

Most architectural shingles come with a longer warranty period compared to other types of shingle materials. Typically, a warranty for architectural shingles can span anywhere from 30 to 50 years, providing homeowners with peace of mind.

Cons of Architectural Shingles

1. Cost

The main downside to architectural shingles is the higher cost. They are usually significantly more expensive than traditional 3-tab shingles. Therefore, if you are on a tight budget, architectural shingles may not be the best choice.

2. Weight

Architectural shingles are heavier than 3-tab shingles. This might require additional support structures when installing on your roof, especially for older homes. Sometimes, this might result in additional costs and time.

  • Installation Difficulty: The extra weight of architectural shingles can also make installation more challenging. This means you may have to hire a professional to install them, increasing the overall cost.

3. Incompatibility with Certain Roof Styles

Another downside is that architectural shingles might not be suitable for all architectural styles or roof types. For extremely flat or steeply pitched roofs, other roofing materials may be more appropriate.

4. Heat Absorbency

Architectural shingles tend to absorb more heat than lighter, more traditional 3-tab shingles. This can lead to higher cooling costs during hot summer months. Moreover, this heat absorbency can also potentially shorten the lifespan of the shingles.

The Bottom Line

There are both pros and cons to using architectural shingles. They provide an attractive and durable roofing solution, with an extended warranty period. However, they are expensive, heavy, may not suit all architectural styles and absorb more heat. The best choice will largely depend on your budget, roofing style, and climate.


Architectural shingles bring a glamorous touch to any home's exterior. Not only are they highly sought after for their stunning aesthetic appeal, but they offer great value for your money as well. They prove that, with the right materials, you don't have to sacrifice looks for durability or cost-effectiveness.

Whether you're gearing up for a major home renovation or simply looking to update your roofing, architectural shingles are a fantastic option to consider. Not only does their layered look add depth and texture to any roof, but their heavier construction also makes them resistant to wind, rain and other harsh weather conditions. This makes them a smart, reliable choice, particularly for homeowners living in storm-prone areas.

Choosing architectural shingles for your roof is making a long-term investment in your home. With their long lifespan, typically between 25-30 years, they are a smart and cost-effective roofing solution. Their unique design and beauty only add to their allure, making them a popular choice among homeowners and architects alike.

About US Quality Construction

Welcome to US Quality Construction, your premier construction company based in the heart of Kansas City, MO. We are dedicated to delivering stellar residential and commercial building solutions, unmatched in quality and efficiency. Our team of seasoned professionals leverages their vast industry experience and talent to transform your construction dreams into reality. From residential remodeling to large-scale commercial developments, we channel our passion and expertise into every project. Partner with us, and let us build the future together.

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