Asphalt roof shingles are North America’s most popular roofing material for many reasons. They’re cost-effective, available in various colors, easier to install and repair, and durable even in the most demanding conditions. With proper installation and maintenance, a shingle roof can protect your home from the elements for decades. 

But did you know there’s more than one type of asphalt shingles? Yes, there are actually three types of asphalt roof shingles: 3-tab, architectural, and special shingles. Each type has its own lifespan, price point, aesthetics, and performance. 

To help you tell them apart and make the best decision for your home, we’ll explain the pros 

and cons of each of the three main types of asphalt shingles.

3-Tab Roofing Shingles 

3-tab roof shingles are also called strip shingles or traditional shingles. They are the original, least expensive, and most basic asphalt roof shingles. They feature three distinct tabs of equal size on each shingle strip. Because of this, the shingle appears to be three separate pieces. 

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3-Tab Shingles


  • Many colors available
  • Easy to install and repair 
  • Lower initial cost 


  • Less resistant to harsh weather like other roofing shingles 
  • Not as durable or long-lasting as other shingles 
  • Less thick than other asphalt shingles
  • Shorter warranty 
  • Limited room for customization
  • Flat appearance, less aesthetically pleasing

Architectural Roofing Shingles 

Architectural shingles are also referred to as laminate or dimensional shingles. They have a different look from traditional 3-tab shingles because they come in various shapes and sizes. Dimensional shingles are the most prevalent asphalt shingles in use today.

Manufacturers make architectural roof shingles with two or more layers of asphalt  bonded together to form a thicker, multi-dimensional appearance. They also engineer them to replicate natural slate and wood shake aesthetics. Roofs covered in dimensional shingles have an aesthetically pleasing appearance due to their varying shapes and sizes.

Dimensional shingles are heavier than 3-tab roofing shingles. Because of their increased thickness, these types of roof shingles usually have a longer manufacturer warranty and higher resistance to strong winds. These shingles can last 25 years or longer. 

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Architectural Shingles


  • Have longer warranties since they are thicker than 3-tab shingles
  • Can last 25 years or longer
  • More popular in the roofing market
  • Rated to resist higher wind speeds and inclement weather
  • Can boost your home’s value 
  • Dimensional appearance boosts curb appeal


  • More expensive than 3-tab shingles
  • Weigh nearly double compared to 3-tab shingles

Special Shingles

Special shingles are also called performance, luxury, or impact-resistant shingles. They are the highest quality asphalt shingles available, offering functionality and appearance that outclasses that of architectural shingles. 

These shingles have been modified and enhanced to offer specific performance benefits, such as hail resistance, wind resistance, or solar reflectivity. There are various ways in which asphalt shingles are enhanced to achieve resistance. For example, some shingles contain asphalt mixed with polymers, while others have a reinforcing fabric on the back. These enhancements increase the ability of the shingles to absorb impact and reduce the intensity of denting, cracking, or other types of damage. 

Some shingles are designed with unique features to resist high winds, reducing wind uplift or blow-off. You’ll also find shingles with algae-resistance granules to prevent the growth of blue-green algae on your roof. 

In addition to offering premium protection from the elements, special shingles are stunning. They have more dimension and color. Moreover, special shingles have the most realistic representation of slate and wood shake roofing.


  • Have more dimensionality and coloration
  • Maximum durability
  • A great alternative to natural slate and cedar
  • Longer lifespan – can last up to 50 years with proper maintenance
  • Come with a 30-year prorated warranty


  • More expensive than 3-tab and architectural shingles
  • Heavier for most roofs

Shingle Roof Replacement Services in Central Florida

If you’re in the market for asphalt roof shingles in Central Florida, contact the roofing experts at Alan’s

Roofing today. We would be happy to explore the options with you and review what makes the most sense for your budget and aesthetic preferences. We are an Owens Corning Platinum Preferred Contractor so that we can give you access to some of the best asphalt shingles in the market today. More importantly, we are committed to quality and excellent customer service.