Are there different types of asphalt roofing shingles?

Yes! Asphalt roofing shingles come in various shapes, sizes and prices.  From basic 3-Tab shingles to designer high-impact resistant shingles, there is an asphalt shingle designed with every type of need and budget in mind.  With all these options, it is easy for homeowners to become overwhelmed sorting through them and trying to pick the best shingles for their home.  We have created this simple guide to help you in your decision-making process.

3-Tab Shingles


The most basic, least expensive and most popular asphalt shingle is the 3-Tab or 25-Year shingle.  These shingles are named for their distinctive 3-Tab design.  They are great for homeowners on a tight budget that need a new roof.  While they will still do a good job protecting your home, 3-Tab shingles will not last as long or perform as well against severe weather as other options.  Their popularity is waning in the US since Dimensional Shingles are not much more expensive considering the big jump in longevity and performance that they give you.  A major drawback of 3-Tab shingles is their susceptibility to wind damage due to their low wind rating (often only 60 MPH).  We often get calls to repair missing or damaged shingles on 3-Tab roofs due to a wind storm.

Dimensional Shingles


Otherwise known as 30-Year, Architecture or Laminated shingles.  These shingles have a thicker construction than the 3-Tab and a more “dimensional” design to them.  This thicker construction not only results in a more pleasing look, but a much better wind rating than that of the 3-Tab shingles.  Dimensional Shingles will also last longer than 3-Tab shingles on average.  Recently, dimensional shingles have become a more appealing option over 3-Tab shingles to due their significant benefits with only a minor price difference.  Other variations of Dimensional Shingles include high impact-resistant shingles and shingles with specialty shading and colors.

Upscale Asphalt Shingles


These are the most expensive and most unique asphalt shingles available.  Often these shingles will closely mimic upscale traditional roofing materials such as Cedar Shakes or Slate Tiles.  These shingles may have a slightly better performance rating and lifespan than dimensional shingles but the primary benefit of these shingles is there incredibly unique and luxurious look. 

3-Tab Dimensional Upscale Asphalt Shingles
Price $ $$ $$$
Durability / 5 2 4 4
Lifespan / 5 3 4 4
Availability / 5 5 5 2

What is my roof made of? 

See the table below for a breakdown of residential roofing material types

Asphalt Shingles 75%
Metal 11%
Concrete/Clay Tile 4%
Wood Shingles/Slate Tiles/ All Other 10%

Asphalt Shingles 

Here in the US Asphalt Shingles are far and away the most popular material choice for residential roofs.  This is due to their relative affordability and quick installation.  Asphalt shingles are also able to be recycled in certain parts of the country. 


Metal roofing while being the second popular roofing material, only comprises a little more than 10% of the market.  This is mostly due to the expense of metal roofs.  Metal roofing comes in all types, but the two most popular are standing seam and corrugated panels.  

Concrete/Clay Tile 

In areas with historical Spanish influence, clay roofing tiles are a popular premium roofing material.  These heavy tiles require additional structural support beyond what is required for metal or shingle roofs.  Concrete and Clay tiles are known for their unique definition and colors. 

Wood Shingles/Slate Tiles/All Other 

Rounding out the bottom of our list are some popular historical roofing materials such as slate stone tiles and cedar shakes.  These were popular due to their durability, longevity and material availability.  You can still see many of these materials in historical communities or high-end new home construction.    

Request Free Roofing Estimate