Architectural shingles are considered high end asphalt shingles due to their quality and distinctive textured look. Architectural shingles are also known as three dimensional shingles or laminate shingles.  Architectural shingles were introduced to the home construction market in the 1970’s in the continued effort to produce an asphalt shingle product that had the higher end quality look of slate or cedar wood shake shingles, without the negatives of breakage, insect damage or weight. Today architectural shingles come in a wide variety of colors, styles, and warranties.

Architectural shingles have a unique visual appearance. Instead of a running row pattern that is observed with 3-tab shingles, architectural shingles have a cedar shake texture appearance that give a more dramatic look to a home. Architectural shingles are also excellent for hiding roof imperfections due to their textured look. Many home builders prefer to use them today due to this benefit alone.  In addition, from some builders’ perspectives, architectural shingles are also easier to install then 3-tab shingles.

Architectural shingles are also excellent for more complicated and higher end roof lines, such as hip roofs, or roofs that include turrets and gables.

Architectural Shingle Construction

Architectural shingles are manufactured using a mat base that is heavier than the standard 3-tab asphalt shingle. The mat base is made from either organic materials or fiberglass material coated with asphalt. Colored granules are then added to the top surface. Unlike 3-tab shingles which have a ¼” notched groove every 12 inches, architectural shingles are typically solid across their entire length. Multiple layers are overlapped and laminated together to produce the textured appearance found in architectural shingles.

Architectural shingles come in many colors, textures and patterns. Some architectural shingles are designed to replicate the look of slate shingles or cedar wood shakes, but without the same high cost, heavy weight or susceptibility to insect damage.

Due to the heavier mat base, architectural shingles are heavier than standard 3-tab shingles, thus making them less susceptible to curling and wind damage. Some higher end architectural shingles are rated for winds up to 120mph.

Typically 3-tab shingles weight about 240 lbs per square, where as an architectural shingle square can weigh 100 to 200 lbs more.

Architectural shingles that have heavy coats of granules are also highly fire resistant.