When you are upgrading your place with a new roof, it’s like being in a candy store—so many choices! Asphalt shingles are the top choice, used by 80% of homes in the U.S. Why? They are easy on the wallet, tough, and easy on the eyes.

Now, before you jump in, there is more than one type of asphalt shingle! It is like choosing between 3 tabs vs laminated shingles. You should know what it is so your roof does not just look good but also holds up perfectly.

What Are 3 Tab Shingles?

Three-tab shingles, a kind of asphalt shingle, have been spicing up roofs since 1935. Imagine a single layer of material, but with a clever twist – it has got tabs cut into the bottom edge, making it look like three shingles in one. Hence the name “three-tab.”

They are best for residential roofs, bringing a feeling of uniformity with every shingle matching in shape and thickness. Also, they are simple to install and will not weigh your roof down.

What Are 3 Laminate Shingles?

Laminated shingles, or architectural roof shingles, add a special touch to your home’s roof, often becoming a point of focus during a roof inspection for insurance purposes.


They are thick, double-layered, and look like pricier materials like slate or cedar but at a lower cost. They are a top choice for roofing thanks to their strong build.

With multiple layers and a sturdy fiberglass base, these shingles are tough. Their surface is coated with ceramic minerals and sealed in high-quality, water-resistant asphalt. This design not only enhances your home’s appearance but also ensures durability.

What Is The Difference Between 3 Tab And Laminate Shingles?

Here’s the difference between laminate vs 3-tab shingles:

1. Composition

Three-Tab Shingles: Made of a single layer of asphalt and fiberglass, these shingles offer basic protection but are less resistant to wind. They are flat and have a uniform look thanks to their consistent shingle tab shape and size.

Laminated Shingles: These are built with a sturdier base mat and several layers of higher-grade asphalt, giving them a more dimensional look. Their diverse tab shapes and sizes improve both their appearance and performance, setting them apart from three-tab shingles.

2. Durability and Lifespan

3-Tab Shingles: These shingles are lightweight but they are not the strongest when fighting with the wind, unlike materials used for flat roof insulation.


Think of them as the featherweights that might get knocked out by a storm, lasting about 15 to 25 years. They are designed to handle wind speeds of 60-70 mph, so they are not pushovers.

Laminated Shingles: Now, these are the heavyweights. They have layers, like a muscular wrestler, making them tougher and more able to withstand rough weather. They are in it for the long haul, with a lifespan of up to 30 years or more, and can withstand winds up to 110 mph. They can handle whatever comes their way.

3. Warranty

3-Tab Shingles: Expect warranties ranging from 20 to 30 years. However, these warranties typically decrease in value over time.

Laminated Shingles: These come with longer warranties, often between 30 to 50 years, and sometimes even a Lifetime Manufacturer’s Warranty. They are known for their higher reliability and durability.

4. Aesthetic Appeal

3-Tab Shingles: These shingles bring a smart, no-frills look to your roof with their straightforward design and color palette. Despite their basic look, they still give your roof a tidy, polished appearance.

Laminated Shingles: These add depth and texture to your roof, creating the illusion of pricier materials like wood or slate. This can up your home’s visual appeal. Also, they offer a wider variety of colors, textures, and designs than 3-tab shingles.

5. Cost

3-tab shingles are generally cheaper than laminate shingles due to their simpler design and lighter weight, affecting the overall roof replacement cost. The average cost for 3-tab shingles is around $4.00 per square foot, while laminate shingles can cost around $5.86 per square foot.

 However, considering long-term value, laminate shingles may offer more savings due to their longer lifespan and reduced maintenance costs.

6. Installation Complexity

Installing 3-tab shingles is simple, thanks to their light, uniform style. But, when it comes to laminate shingles, you might need more know-how and time because they are thicker and have a varied look for that extra dimension.


Despite this, some people say that the total cost of putting them up might not be that different since professional roofers are pretty tricky with both types.

7. Variety of Options

In shingles, laminate options are the style opportunists. They can resemble pricier materials like wood shakes or slate, giving your home that upscale look without costing you more. Also, they come in various colors and styles, so you can make your house stand out.

On the other hand, 3-tab shingles are the simple ones. They come in different colors but have a more uniform, flat look. While they are still a solid choice, they do not quite bring the same flair to the table as laminate shingles do.

Things To Consider Before Choosing Shingles

Consider the following factors before choosing shingles:

1. Budget

Considering your budget is vital when choosing roofing materials, as prices differ significantly. Asphalt or composite shingles are known for being wallet-friendly choices, mixing good durability with affordability. On the flip side, options like metal shingles and clay tiles will affect your pocket harder, both for the materials and the installation.

2. Climate and Environment

The climate where you live is a big deal when selecting the right roof for your house. If it is usually hot, you might want terracotta tiles, ceramic shingles, or concrete roofs because they help keep things cool.


But if it is more chilly, you should go for tricky stuff like slate or metal shingles that can handle snow and heavy rain. Likewise, consider how energy-efficient your materials are if you want to reduce energy bills.

Asphalt and metal roofing are great for bouncing back heat, while clay and concrete tiles soak it up, keeping you comfortable when it is cold.

3. Maintenance Requirements

When picking roofing materials, remember that heavy ones might need pricey fixes to your building’s frame, especially as it ages. Also, for extra safety, the underlayment you choose should fit your local weather, like waterproof types for rainy or snowy places.

4. Long-Term Value and Aesthetics

Your roof should look good with the rest of the place and not stick out like a painful thumb in the neighborhood. Say your house is the color of a ripe tomato; you would not want a roof that clashes, right? Dark brown, black, or grey materials might be the way to go instead.

It is like picking the right hat for your outfit; you want it to match the area’s vibe.

Now, let’s discuss how tough these roofing materials are. Metal roofs are stronger than the usual asphalt shingles but might cost a bit more.

Each type of roofing material has unique styles, colors, and designs, so you can find the perfect one that suits your house’s look and can withstand the test of time.

3 Tab Shingles Vs Laminated FAQs

Are 3-tab shingles laminated?

Three-tab shingles are not laminated. They are a different type of asphalt shingle compared to laminate (architectural) shingles, which are layered and have a more dimensional appearance.

Why is it called a 3-tab shingle?

3-tab shingles get their name from the three distinct asphalt tabs on every shingle. These tabs create a uniform, flat look on the roof.

How do you identify 3-tab shingles?

3-tab shingles are identifiable by their flat appearance. They have a single-tab shape and size, giving the roof a consistent, uniform look.


In nearly every scenario, we recommend laminated shingles! Once we explain why laminate shingles are the best, it is a no-brainer for the clients to spot the benefits.

Now, do not forget to chat with a roofing expert about your place and roof before you close on your choice. But, from what we have seen in 99 out of 100 cases, laminate roofing is the way to go for homeowners.