3-Tab vs Architectural: Which Shingle Type is Best for Your Home

by | Aug 17, 2023 | Architectural Asphalt Shingles, Asphalt Shingle Comparison, Billings, Blog | 0 comments

Choosing the right shingle for your home is a significant decision that impacts the durability, curb appeal and longevity of your home. In Billings, where weather conditions can be demanding, it’s essential to select a shingle style that can withstand the elements and be a wise choice for your budget. Two specific styles of asphalt roofing to consider are the 3-tab shingle and the architectural shingle. They each hold advantages, as well as disadvantages, and it is best to weigh them against each other to choose the best for your home. 

asphalt shingle comparison in Billings

3-Tab Shingles:


  • Cost-Effective: 3-tab shingles are generally more affordable than architectural shingles, making them an attractive option for homeowners on a budget.
  • Simplicity: The uniform appearance of 3-tab shingles provides a clean and classic look that can complement various architectural styles.
  • Lightweight: 3-tab shingles are lighter than their architectural counterparts, which can be beneficial for homes with structural considerations.
  • Installation Ease: Due to their straightforward design, 3-tab shingles are easier and quicker to install, potentially reducing labor costs.


  • Less Durability: 3-tab shingles typically have a shorter lifespan compared to architectural shingles. They may not hold up as well against extreme weather conditions in Billings.
  • Limited Aesthetics: These shingles offer fewer design options, limiting your ability to customize the appearance of your home’s roof.
  • Flat Appearance: The flat design of 3-tab shingles lacks the depth and dimension provided by architectural shingles, which can impact the overall visual appeal of your home.

Architectural Shingles:


  • Enhanced Durability: Architectural shingles are designed to be thicker and more robust, making them better equipped to handle Billings’ harsh weather conditions, including heavy snow, wind, and hail.
  • Aesthetically Pleasing: With their layered and textured appearance, architectural shingles add depth and dimension to your roof, enhancing your home’s overall curb appeal.
  • Variety of Styles: These shingles come in a wide range of styles, colors, and patterns, allowing you to choose a look that complements your home’s architecture and your personal taste.
  • Longer Lifespan: Architectural shingles typically have a longer lifespan than 3-tab shingles, providing better long-term value despite their initial higher cost.


  • Higher Cost: The initial investment for architectural shingles is higher than that of 3-tab shingles, which might deter homeowners with budget constraints.
  • Installation Complexity: The layered design of architectural shingles requires more time and skill to install correctly, potentially increasing labor costs.
  • Weight: Architectural shingles are heavier, so it’s important to ensure that your home’s structure can support its weight without issues.

architectural asphalt shingles in Billings

Roof Replacement Tips

Knowing when it’s time for an asphalt roof replacement is crucial to prevent potential damage and maintain the integrity of your home. Here are five signs to watch for:

  • Age: Asphalt shingles have a typical lifespan of 20-25 years. If your roof is approaching or exceeding this age range, it’s time to consider a replacement to avoid leaks and deterioration.
  • Curling or Buckling Shingles: Shingles that are curling, buckling, or showing signs of significant wear are a clear indicator of aging. These issues can compromise your roof’s ability to protect your home from the elements.
  • Missing Shingles: If you notice missing shingles, it’s a sign that your roof’s protective barrier is compromised. This can lead to leaks and water damage, necessitating a replacement.
  • Granule Loss: Excessive granule loss from shingles can leave them vulnerable to UV rays and weather damage. Check your gutters for an accumulation of granules, which can indicate the need for a new roof.
  • Water Stains or Leaks: Interior water stains on your ceilings or walls are red flags for roof leaks. If you’re experiencing leaks, your roof’s integrity has likely been compromised, and a replacement is likely needed.

Regular roof inspections by professionals can help identify these signs early, allowing you to address issues promptly and avoid more extensive damage to your home.

Ultimately, the choice between 3-tab and architectural shingles for your Billings home comes down to your priorities and budget. If affordability and simplicity are your main concerns, 3-tab shingles might be the way to go. However, if you’re looking for durability, enhanced aesthetics, and a longer-lasting investment, architectural shingles are likely the better option, especially considering Billings’ challenging weather conditions.

Before making a decision, consult with Kirkness Roofing in Billings. We can assess your home’s specific requirements and provide recommendations based on your needs. Whether you choose the classic simplicity of 3-tab shingles or the durability and style of architectural shingles, you’re making a significant investment in the protection and appearance of your Billings home. Contact us today to learn how we can help you make a wise decision with your new asphalt shingle roofing project.

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