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About Architectural Shingles

Choosing roofing shingles for your home is an important decision. There are a variety of shingle options, and navigating the choices may feel slightly overwhelming. In terms of the sweet spot that combines quality and value for roofing shingles, architectural shingles are your best bet.

Architectural shingles on suburban brick house

Architectural Shingles FAQ

What are architectural shingles?

Architectural shingles are a type of roofing shingle constructed from a double-bonded layer of materials. Typically, they are composed of a fiber glass mat base and ceramic-coated mineral granules that are then encased in waterproof asphalt. These shingles can be molded and contoured into a variety of shapes and sizes, and finished to imitate other roofing materials including wood, tile, and slate. Architectural shingles were originally developed in the 1970s to serve homeowners who wanted the appearance of more luxury materials such as cedar, but paired with the performance of asphalt shingles. With architectural shingles, homeowners can have the visual appeal of more expensive materials at a fraction of the cost.

How long do they last?

Architectural shingles are extremely durable. Part of what makes them so durable and long lasting is their double layer construction, compared to less expensive shingle layer 3-tab asphalt shingles, which are lighter and more susceptible to wind, as well as sun and heat damage over time. The weight of architectural shingles also makes them more resistant to warping. Architectural shingles also have better fire resistance than 3-tab asphalt shingles and wood shingles.

Architectural shingles are relatively easy to install and repair, thanks in part to their popularity in the residential construction industry. Many architectural shingles are also coated with zinc to prevent the growth of algae and mold, further safeguarding against potential risks to your roof’s longevity.

What kind of home are architectural shingles best for?

One of the great things about architectural shingles is that they are suitable for a wide range of architectural styles, thanks to the options that exist for imitating other roofing materials. In fact, according to the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association, some form of asphalt shingles are used in 4 out of 5 residential homes in the United States. Architectural shingles are suitable for most roof types and roof pitches, from a gentle slope to the steepest angle. Even if you have a Spanish-style home and are seeking a tile shingle appearance, a Cape house that calls for the rustic charm of wood shingle appearance, or a historic home suited to a slate roof aesthetic, there are architectural shingles available to meet both your design and your functional needs.

Another advantage of installing architectural shingles is that, while heavy enough to provide durability, they are much lighter than other roofing material options. Installing tile shingles or slate shingles creates a much heavier roof, which could require additional structural reinforcement to prevent the risk of roof damage or collapse and add significant expense to your project.

Are architectural shingles cost effective?

While architectural shingles cost more than single layer 3-tab asphalt shingles, they compensate by providing increased durability, increased resale value, and add curb appeal to your home. According to the 2016 Cost v. Value report, a roofing replacement yields a 71.7% cost recoup on average. Compared to other roofing materials such as metal, tile, and slate, architectural shingles cost significantly less while still providing a similar look.


Architectural shingles are a solid roofing shingle option, combining longevity, appearance, and value to create a great product that will protect your home for years to come.

Looking to upgrade your roof this year? Let our licensed experts help you find the perfect contractor for the job. We’ll gather bids and offer unbiased advice to help you in the process, all for free. Call us at 888.392.4236 or visit