In recent years, residential roofs have received an upgrade in the form of dimensional shingles. A new twist on the traditional, 3-tab asphalt shingle, dimensional shingles (also known as architectural or laminated shingles) have been growing in popularity for a number of years. As more stylish, eye-catching options come to market, they bring with them a bit of confusion as to what an architectural shingle truly is. Over The Top Roofing, as your roofing expert in Milwaukee and Menomonee Falls, is here to clear up the confusion and give you the information you need to make the right choice for your roofing project.
Regular (3-tab) asphalt shingles have three regularly spaced asphalt tabs, which gives the finished roof a very repetitive, consistent pattern. In contrast, dimensional shingles have two layers of shingle material bonded together, giving them a three-dimensional appearance, and imparting a more random, natural look to the finished roof.
While dimensional shingles have a number of benefits compared to 3-tab shingles, they were created primarily for appearance. They were originally developed in the 1970s in response to luxury homeowners seeking a roofing material that looked like cedar shingles but performed like asphalt. Many manufacturers have extended the dimensional shingle concept much further to create countless styles, ranging from victorian or old world, to rugged and dramatic. A variety of marketing terms are used throughout the roofing industry to depict designer shingle collections, such as Designer, Architectural, High-Definition (HD), Premium and more. It’s not uncommon to find other descriptive words that relate to other roofing materials, as manufacturers have tried to modify shingles in a way that simulates the appearance of other, more expensive roof types, including slate, shake & tile.
On average, dimensional shingles run around $3-5 per square foot installed or about 20% more than 3-tab shingles. Designer shingles average $4-$6 per square foot installed. Like most other roofing products, you’ll find a wide range in lifespan and warranties, and therefore cost, but they usually start at 25-30 years, and 40-50 years isn’t unusual with higher end products. Moreover, dimensional shingles are generally more robust compared to 3-tab shingles.
Because of the double bonded layer, dimensional shingles actually offer more protection from wind and hail — with the heaviest grades able to withstand 130 mph winds. Dimensional shingles also offer a longer lifespan, as long as 40 to 50 years. Their decidedly more attractive appearance offers more uniqueness to homeowners who desire something different for their home. Many neighborhood associations even go so far as requiring dimensional shingles due to their high-end look.
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