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Architectural Shingles Offer Aesthetic Appeal and Protection

By Dawn Killough

April 02, 2020

architectural shingles on house

Architectural shingles help protect your home against the elements. As a bonus, they come in a wide variety of colors and styles to match any decor.

What Are Architectural Shingles?

Architectural, or laminate shingles, consist of two or more layers of material. They are made of asphalt coated fiberglass and are installed over the roof deck and underlayment. They also have a thicker coating of asphalt than single layer 3-tab singles.

Types of Shingles

There are three main types of asphalt shingles: 3-tab, architectural, and designer. How do the other types of shingles compare?

  • 3-tab or strip shingles provide a single layer of asphalt-coated fiberglass that is cut into equally sized shingles or tabs. This type of shingle typically comes with a warranty of 20 to 30 years. It's available in a few colors and styles, and overall it's the most economical roofing material (explaining why it is so common to see on homes).
  • Designer shingles are manufactured to look similar to shake or slate roofing tiles. They work well on homes that require a specific style of shingle to match the decor or where it's desired for aesthetic appeal.

Benefits of Architectural Shingles

Architectural shingles provide many benefits over traditional 3-tab shingles. They usually provide better wind warranties, which can be a real advantage. When installed with the required combination of GAF accessories, GAF's Timberline® HDZ™ Shingles may even be eligible for a wind warranty* with no maximum wind speed limitation. They also fit with most design styles. You can take your pick of shingles in several different colors and style variations. They look similar to wood or slate roof tiles, which fit many architectural styles and can increase the value and curb appeal of a residence in one easy installation.

These shingles have been increasing in popularity over the last 20 years, mainly due to their aesthetic appeal and their durability.

Are Architectural Shingles Good for Roof Replacement?

If you currently have architectural shingles installed that need to be replaced, you can replace your roof with the same shingle type. You can even take the opportunity to consider a new style or color.

If you currently have 3-tab shingles installed on your roof, you can upgrade your roof to architectural shingles for enhanced aesthetics and warranty options.

How Many Shingles Do You Need?

Roofing material is calculated by the square, which is a measurement for how much material is required to cover 100 square feet of roof area. Many GAF shingles require about 3 bundles to cover one roofing square.

To measure your shingle roof, you'll need to know the length and width of each roof plane or area, including dormers or any other protrusions that are covered with roofing material. With these measurements in hand, you can calculate the area for each roof plane by multiplying the length and the width. Add up the area for all roof planes, and then divide that number by 100 to get the number of squares of shingles you'll need to cover your roof.

Architectural shingles are gaining in popularity because of their durability, warranty term, and aesthetic appeal, with colors and styles to liven up or blend in with any decor as you see fit. Using these shingles can help protect your home from wind and weather damage for years to come.


*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.

About the Author

Dawn Killough is a freelance writer in the construction, finance, and accounting fields. She is the author of an ebook about green building and writes for construction tech and green building websites. She lives in Salem, Oregon with her husband and four cats.

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