What Is the Difference Between Architectural Shingles and Asphalt Shingles?

architectural shingles

The differences between shingle types

Asphalt shingle roofing is the very common type of roof today and has been for decades. One reason is the low cost, they still provide a level of protection for homes, and they are aesthetically appealing.  Exactly what are asphalt roof shingles made of though? 

The name may confuse you, but asphalt shingles are not 100% asphalt. They are made from a combination of either a felt paper or fiberglass base coated with a waterproof layer of asphalt, then ceramic granules are layered on the asphalt. Asphalt shingle roofing is lightweight, strong, and provide fire protection too.

There are different types of asphalt shingle roof style. The three-tab asphalt shingle roof material has the appearance of three shingles to each single shingle. The architectural shingles has an additional asphalt layer that provides a dimensional appearance, a bulkier look like slate or wood shingles. Either of these asphalt shingle roofing materials come in a variety of colors that can be matched with any home’s architectural style. 

How often should asphalt shingles be replaced?

There are aspects of an asphalt shingle roof, or any type of roof, that will determine its lifespan.

How the material is installed, how well the homeowner maintains the roof, and the climate/weather events the roof endures. 

Generally, the recommended replacement schedule for an asphalt shingle roof is 15 to 30 years.  Other roofing materials are as follows: 

  • Composition Shingle Roofing: 12 to 20 years
  • Wood Shingle Roofing: 20 to 25 years
  • Rubber Roofing: 30 to 50 years
  • Metal Roofing: 50 to 75 years

Again, these are only approximate time frames. In addition to the quality of the installation job and the quality of the material, the climate can wear a roof down fast, like severe winters and humid summers. 

How long do asphalt shingle roofs last?

An asphalt shingle roof that is installed correctly and vented properly will give you up to 85% life span. This is up to 22 years for a 3-tab asphalt shingle roof and as long as 28 years out for dimensional asphalt shingle roofing. 

What is the difference between architectural shingles and asphalt shingles?

Below is a description of both asphalt shingle roofing material and architectural shingles: 

  • Asphalt Shingle Roof Material: A common and inexpensive roofing material made with the asphalt layer on top of a felt paper or fiberglass base. Then finishing on top of the asphalt is a layer of ceramic granules that provide the waterproofing. The fiberglass base is the preferred because it is lighter weight and cost less, yet still provide fire protection. Asphalt shingle roof material comes in different qualities with warranty varying from fifteen years to thirty years. 
  • Architectural Shingles: An asphalt roof shingle made of higher quality standards. Made from layers of the fiberglass base, the asphalt layer, and ceramic coated minerals, creating a thick roofing shingle that gives it dimension. From a distant, they look like tile or wood shingles for a fraction of the cost. These have a higher resistance to the wind, up to 130 mph, and warranty between 25 years and 50 years, depending on the manufacturer and quality.  

Can asphalt roof shingles be painted?

If you’re wanting to change the appearance of your home, painting an asphalt shingle roof is an environmentally friendly way to do it versus having a new roof installed. Using an exterior acrylic paint, one coat will do the job and won’t break the budget. 

What are the worst roof shingles?

When choosing a roofing material for your home, you want to get the best you can afford so that you don’t have to do this again anytime soon.  Several factors can make a brand of shingle the worse, and the opinion of several roofing contractors is to stay away from IKO manufacturer, sold under the Cambridge or  Marathon brands. Some of the reasons for avoiding this manufacturer’s brand:

  • Poor tar line 
  • No wind resistance
  • Poor appearance after install

What are the longest lasting roof shingles?

While a good quality of architectural asphalt shingle roofing material will give you a long lifespan, there are other roofing materials that will last longer. Clay, concrete, and tile each will outperform asphalt, architectural, metal, or wood shake shingles. 

regular asphalt shingles

Is a metal roof better than asphalt shingles?

Both metal roofing material and asphalt shingle roof materials are great options, each have benefits and drawbacks. With the multitude of finishes they have, there is something to match any style of home. 

Both materials have a traditional look, and each are available in mimics of slate, tile, and wood shake shingles. 

They both can come with a Victorian look of perfectly scalloped edges or a Mediterranean look of terra cotta. The wide choices of colors can give your home a unique look that stands out while blending in with your neighbors. 

When you choose a roofing material, whether you go with metal or asphalt shingle roof material, your next concern after the selection process and pricing should be the roofing contractor. Choose one that has experience in how to replace asphalt shingle roof or whatever current roofing material you have.  Get several quotes and compare them before signing any contract and check the references! Need help with roofing for your home in New Orleans, LA? Call 877-406-7663 today.

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