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What Are Architectural Shingles?

By Karen L Edwards

July 20, 2022

Architectural shingles mimic the look of slate or cedar shakes.

If you're a homeowner researching new roofing options, you may be seeing a lot of information on architectural shingles as a popular choice for roof replacements. So, what are architectural shingles? Let's dive in to learn all about architectural shingles and why they are growing in popularity.

Types of Asphalt Shingles

There are many different types of roof shingles to choose from when it comes to replacing your roof. From three-tab shingles, which are one of the most economical choices, to architectural shingles to luxury designer styles, plenty of options exist for you to choose from.

Architectural shingles are also known as dimensional or laminated shingles. They are made up of multiple layers of asphalt-coated fiberglass that are laminated together, giving them their dimensional appearance.

What Is the Purpose of Architectural Shingles?

The purpose of any roof shingle is to help protect your home from the elements. It's an added bonus if the shingle also delivers an aesthetic appeal that adds to the style of the home. This is one of the reasons behind the development of architectural shingles.

They were introduced to the market in the 1970s and '80s to give homeowners a roof that created an architectural interest for the home and could also provide the higher-end look of genuine slate or natural cedar shakes without the added weight, costs, and maintenance.

How Do Architectural Shingles Differ from Standard Shingles?

The three-tab shingle is made of a single layer of asphalt-coated fiberglass and cut into three equal tabs. It's lightweight, easy to install, and provides a flat, even appearance on the roof.

Architectural shingles differ from the three-tab ones in that they are made with multiple layers of fiberglass mat. It's what gives them their dimension and aesthetic appeal. The multiple layers of asphalt-coated fiberglass are laminated together, making it more dimensional than three-tab shingles. Some architectural shingles may be covered by better warranties than three-tab shingles.

GAF Timberline® HDZ™ is an architectural shingle that, when installed with the required combination of GAF accessories is eligible for the WindProvenTM Limited Wind Warranty* with no maximum wind speed limitation.

Should You Consider Architectural Shingles?

Now that we've answered the question "What are architectural shingles?" it's time to consider whether they are the right choice for your home. Many factors go into what type of shingle to choose for your home, starting with your own personal style. Your budget and warranty expectations may also play a role as well as how long you plan to stay in your home.

Architectural shingles are a popular type of asphalt shingles that offer homeowners an affordable option to help protect their home from the elements while also delivering style. They are available in a variety of color options that will complement just about every home.

It may help to check out what types of roofing styles and colors other homes in your neighborhood have. This might spark inspiration for what you want for your own home. You can also "try on" new architectural shingles virtually through the GAF visualizer tool. Choose a house style that is similar to yours or upload a photo or your home to envision the various colors and style your own look.

Once you find a look that appeals to you, connect with a GAF-certified contractor** who can install your new architectural shingle roof.



*15-year WindProven™ limited wind warranty on Timberline HDZ® Shingles requires the use of GAF starter strips, roof deck protection, ridge cap shingles, and leak barrier or attic ventilation. See GAF Roofing System Limited Warranty for complete coverage and restrictions. Visit gaf.com/LRS for qualifying GAF products.

**Contractors enrolled in GAF certification programs are not employees or agents of GAF, and GAF does not control or otherwise supervise these independent businesses. Contractors may receive benefits, such as loyalty rewards points and discounts on marketing tools from GAF for participating in the program and offering GAF enhanced warranties, which require the use of a minimum amount of GAF products.

About the Author

Karen L. Edwards is a freelance writer for the construction industry and has a passion for roofing, having worked in the industry for 20 years.

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