3-Tab Shingles vs Laminated Shingles: What’s Best for Your Roof

3-Tab Shingles vs Laminated Shingles
Tony Schlessinger
Tony Schlessinger


If you are preparing to have a new roof or re-roof your building, you are likely faced with many options, from contractors, shingles, and even prices. Two of the available shingles, where you have to choose from are the 3-Tab shingles and Laminated shingles. Knowing the differences between the two is worthwhile and it will help you to make sound decisions. Check out this article for more information on 3-Tab Shingles vs Laminated Shingles and the one that is best for your roof.

3-Tab Shingles vs Laminated Shingles

What are 3-Tab shingles?

The 3-Tab shingles, also known as strip shingles, was one of the most popular roofing materials in the market in the past but the story is changing gradually. It has been around for many decades and it is still the choice of many homeowners. They are made from strong, granule-coated, and fiberglass material. The name was derived from the three asphalt tabs on every shingle, which appeared separated when installed but they are one. They are typically flat and in singular tab shape and size. Apart from being made in different colors, 3-Tab shingles are also lightweight. Below are some of its pros and cons.


The following are the pros of 3-tab shingles:

  • Cheap cost
  • Easy to repair
  • Available in different styles and colors


Below are some of the cons of 3-tab shingles:

  • Cannot withstand harsh weather unlike its laminated shingles counterpart
  • Shorter warranty
  • Less durable
  • Less aesthetically appealing
  • Trapped water could cause decay

What are laminated shingles?

Many people see the laminated shingles, which are also known as architectural or dimensional shingles as an upgrade to the 3-Tab shingles. It is popular in the market nowadays because of its beautiful design and durability. They are called laminated shingles because they are two layers of shingle pieces but they are laminated together. The laminated shingles were made from fiberglass dipped in asphalt and coated with fire-resistant material. Highlighted below are some of its pros and cons.


Below are some of its pros:

  • Durable
  • Increases the value of a home
  • Looks beautiful
  • Fire resistant


Below are some of its cons:

  • Costly
  • Might not work on every home

Differences between 3-tab shingles and laminated shingles

Distinguishing between 3-tab shingles and laminated shingles is a great way to make the right decision. Though they serve a similar purpose, there are, however, many differences between the two materials when you place them side by side. Highlighted below are some of the differences.


3-tab shingles are lighter, of singular shape and size, and each shingle is composed of 3 identical 12-inch tabs. Moreover, they are also flat and lightweight. On the other hand, laminated shingles are not only thicker and heavier, they come in different shapes and sizes, which makes it easier for them to be patterned like slate or cedar roofing, depending on your preference. Installing it this way will cost less than using either slate or cedar.

Stating the comparative differences between the two materials, especially when they have been installed is subjective. To some people, the dimensional appearance of laminated shingles is aesthetically appealing unlike 3- tab shingles that have a uniform appearance, which is also pleasing to some people.


Unlike the laminated shingles, the 3-tab shingles are not only lighter, but they are also made of lesser material, which makes their price cheaper than the laminated shingles. However, installing 3-tab shingles seems hectic and it takes a longer duration than laminated shingles. Therefore, most contractors charge a similar amount to install them.  

Considering the long-term cost, laminated shingles, though costlier when you want to install them, are seen as an investment because they tend to last longer and save more money over time than the 3-tab counterpart, barring other unforeseen circumstances. Nevertheless, other materials used during installation such as nails wear out almost the same time on both shingles.


The warranty that you get for the option you opt for will depend on the brand of shingles you are using. Generally speaking, the 3-tab shingles will have a warranty that ranges between 20-30 years while laminated shingles could be up to 50 years. This warranty will ensure that the shingles are replaced if there is any defect within the specified years.


Remember laminated shingles are two layers of shingles that are laminated together, which means they are heavier, stronger, and could withstand different weather conditions better than 3-tab shingles. Meanwhile, because of its weight and construction, 3-tab shingles are vulnerable to wind and could get ripped off when the wind becomes harsher. Moreover, laminated shingles could retain their beautiful appearance for a longer duration

Resale value

The roof is one of the conditions that most potential buyers consider before purchasing a new home. Since laminated shingles are durable, beautiful, and come with a longer warranty than the 3-tab shingles counterpart, you should know they are the type of shingles that can give better resale value for any home where they are installed. Upgrading to laminated shingles is the way to go if you have a plan to sell your home in the future. You will be happy with yourself in the long run when you choose quality over affordability.

Between 3-Tab Shingles vs Laminated Shingles which is the best option for my roof?

Each type of shingles has its benefits and drawbacks. The comparison of which is the best option between the two as highlighted in this article considers durability, appearance, cost, warranty, and resale value. If you consider these factors and the numerous benefits of laminated shingles, it will be easier for you to opt for them. However, remember that laminated shingles might not work on every home. Therefore, before you make your final decision, you should consult a roofing contractor, who will assess your home and counsel you on what to do. 


Laminated shingles do not only enhance the look of your home, but they are also more durable and more valuable than the 3-tab shingles. Remember the quality of your roof affects the appearance of the entire house. That, however, does not mean 3-tab shingles are not a good option. 

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