What You Should Know About Architectural Shingles (aka Dimensional Shingles)
What You Should Know About Architectural Shingles (aka Dimensional Shingles or Laminate Shingles)
While most people are familiar with the appearance, cost, and installation of basic 3-tab asphalt roof shingles, they may not be as familiar with architectural shingles aka dimensional shingles aka laminate shingles. These asphalt shingles are made to look more like other materials such as slate or cedar, giving the roofs the benefits of asphalt, but with the look, style, and appearance of other roofing types.
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What Is the Difference between Architectural Shingles and Asphalt Shingles?
Architectural shingles, dimensional shingles and laminate shingles are a type of asphalt shingle, which is where some of the confusion comes from. In addition to often having a very different appearance than traditional asphalt shingles, architectural shingles are thicker and more durable, often with a pleasing texture or finish. The bottoms of the shingles are laminated with an additional layer of asphalt, which helps to give them their durability and appearance. And unlike regular asphalt shingles, there are no cuts or tabs at the top of each one.
Longer Lasting Shingles
Architectural shingles typically last longer than regular asphalt shingles do. While a regular asphalt roof may last 15 to 20 years, architectural shingles typically last 25 to 30 years, with some brands lasting up to 40. This longevity does come at a price, however; architectural shingles typically cost about 25% more than regular asphalt shingles. Most people feel, however, that the extra cost is more than made up for by the fact that the more durable shingles can last nearly twice as long.
Better Curb Appeal
Another reason most real estate agents and roofers recommend choosing architectural shingles over traditional asphalt shingles is their greater curb appeal. Even those that are not produced to look like another material are designed to be layered and overlapped with one another to bring greater dimension and texture to the roof. In fact, architectural shingles typically weigh about 100 pounds more per square than traditional asphalt shingles do. This weight is accounted for in the additional layers of material the roof receives. From the curb, the roof appears beefier, thicker, and of a higher quality than a single layer of asphalt shingles.
Many roofers also recommend architectural shingles for roofs that have some irregularities in the boards. The texture and layering of the shingles helps to hide imperfections in a way that regular asphalt shingles would not. This also translates into greater curb appeal because the roof will always appear to be in better condition.
Because of their heavier layers and extra thickness, architectural shingles are more durable and last longer than asphalt shingles. This means they are less likely to be subject to curling, cracking, and breaking over time. They are made of the same material as asphalt shingles, however, and are subject to these problems in the right conditions. They are also affected by things like hailstones, which could knock the granules off the tops of the shingles, and reduce some of their durability.
A Newer Choice
While many people still choose traditional asphalt shingles, an equal number of people are opting for the longer lasting and better looking architectural shingles, dimensional shingles or laminate shingles. Their biggest drawback is their greater expense, which when weighed against their longevity, is often not the drawback that it is originally thought to be.
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