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What Are Architectural Shingles?

What Are Architectural Shingles?

Architectural shingles, also known as laminated or dimensional shingles, are made of two shingle strips laminated together, giving them a more dimensional base than a flat shingle. This multi-layered base creates a thick, durable material, giving architectural shingles a great reputation for enduring high winds and other extreme weather circumstances.

The depth and color variety of these shingles makes them comparable to the look of high-end, premium roofing—for a much more affordable price.

Until the 1980s, the most common type of asphalt roofing shingle was the traditional 3-tab which remains an economical choice among homeowners who appreciate its ease of installation and vast array of color blends.

During the 1980s, technological advances and changing consumer tastes took asphalt roofing shingles to a whole new level, resulting in architectural laminated shingles. The term “laminated” means that the shingle’s construction consists of two or more basic shingles laminated or bonded together.

In the roofing industry, laminated shingles are further described as being “architectural” because they’re specially engineered to create architectural interest for the roof by means of the individual shingle’s contour, cut and dimensional thickness. The move from traditional 3-tabs to architectural laminated shingles was mainly an aesthetic evolution.

Architectural laminated shingles are often described as “high-definition” because of the depth and contour of the individual shingle’s profile. Some manufacturers use angled cuts while others, like IKO, use a straight cut which enhances the perception of depth and the appearance of a shake or tile roof.

The dimension and shape of architectural shingles can give your roof an appealing, more expensive look without breaking the bank. Although their initial cost is approximately 20–30% more per square, energy savings and a longer roof life offset this difference over time. In addition, architectural shingles’ warranties typically last 30–50 years, nearly doubling the average you would receive for a 3-tab shingle.

Architectural shingles have 30-50 year warranties. They are more resistant to high winds up to 120 mph, rain and snow. The heavy architectural shingles hold up well in stormy weather and provide good roof insulation. The shingles do not crack or break when exposed to harsh weather conditions or continued sunlight. They won’t fade and they are treated to resist algae and mold.

While a proper inspection is needed to estimate installation time, architectural shingles are generally easier to install because they’re simple to cut and can fit a variety of roof shapes and sizes. This includes homes of all different ages and styles, making it one of the most versatile roofing options on the market. 

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