Up until the 1970’s roof shingles were a purely functional thing. They were designed to be long lasting, waterproof, and cheap. But in 1971 a new and exciting shingle type came on the scene architectural shingles. Named for their increased beauty they were instantly a hit, and new builds started to use architectural shingles for their roofs more and more often.
In this article we will dive a little deeper into architectural shingles, discover the pros and cons – and hopefully help you make an informed decision on if they are right for your home.
What Are Architectural Shingles?
Before architectural shingles there were pretty limited options for covering your roof. The most popular form of shingles were those that lay flat up against each other without overlapping. These were named 3tab shingles by those in the roofing trade – due to the 3 tabs they had on the edges of the shingle. They were always laid flat and gave a very one dimensional look to the roof.
Architectural shingles(AKA laminated shingles or dimensional shingles) changed the roofing industry forever. They are designed to be almost the opposite of 3tab shingles. They are layered and overlap each other instead of being uniform in rows like 3tab shingles.
This allowed for a whole range of design options which transformed the way architects looked at roof design. No longer was a roof just a purely functional necessity, now the sky was the limit with regards to design – quite literally.
Layers upon layers of architectural shingles could be placed to create a textured and 3d effect. Like traditional shingles they were still usually placed with random intervals between the individual shingles – but occasionally uniform patterns were experimented with.
Architectural shingles are made out of asphalt – reasonably similar to 3 stud shingles. They are made by creating thin sheets of a fiberglass and asphalt mixture. These are then layered on top of each other to make the shingle. Due to intended 3 dimensional usage, they are slightly thicker than the traditional 3 stud shingles to give more depth to the rood.
Why Are Architectural Shingles Better Than Traditional Shingles?
Their main advantage is obviously in their increased beauty over normal shingles. Allowing a roof to be covered in 3 dimensions really surprises people with how much it alters the overall appearance of a building. However the improvements are not purely aesthetic and there are additional benefits to be found.
On average architectural shingles will weigh about 1 pound more per square foot than traditional shingles. This is not a great deal more weight when it comes to structural integrity and nearly all roofs can support their additional weight. The additional weight however makes a world of difference to the durability of your roof.
You can expect a reasonable quality traditional shingle roof to last you around 15-25 years dependent upon weather conditions. However architectural shingles will last much longer – closer to 30-35 years. This also makes them much more capable of handling extreme weather conditions. They are harder to break with floating debris that may be picked up in a storm – and their increased weight means that strong winds are much less likely to make them break free from the roof and require replacement. They are rated to withstand wind speeds of up to 130 mph!
The added thickness of the shingles also means that they are able to hide imperfections in a roof – something that has not gone unnoticed by roofers. If you have a slightly damaged roof with where there are slight sags – architectural shingles are more than able to cover it up without anyone being able to see the damage is there.
They can be used on any roof that has 3 stud shingles and the only type of roof that could cause a little bit of concern is a particularly low pitched roof. Due to their low pitch they are not very good at getting rain and ice to flow off of them. This can become an issue with artificial shingles – and is probably the only situation where they are not recommended.
Architectural shingles are also much more waterproof than traditional shingles due to their overlapping design. While they are not 100% waterproof when damaged – they can certainly take much more wear and tear before needing to be replaced because they are causing a leak.
Many of them even come with a lifetime warranty – which shows how confident these manufactures are in their product!
How Much Do Architectural Shingles Cost?
The price of architectural shingles obviously varies a little and is dependent upon brand and color. But a good general rule of thumb is that you can expect to pay around 20% to 30% more for architectural shingles than you would for traditional shingles.
When estimating the cost of covering a whole roof this can add up to quite a significant price increase. However over the long run you will in all probability not actually be paying any more than you would for traditional shingles. A roof covered in architectural shingles will last a good 10 years longer on average than a traditional shingle roof.
How Can Architectural Shingles Be Used From A Design Perspective?
It really is quite astonishing how much of a difference architectural shingles can make to a property.
Older properties actually benefit the most from having them installed. They transform the property form looking worn and dated, by creating a much more modern and loved appearance. While you still probably won’t be winning any contemporary design awards – the difference is quite astounding.
For some homeowners the 3 dimensions are not enough, so special shingles named hip and ridge shingles were created. These shingles are designed to accentuate features on a roof. They are generally used where two slopes of the roof meet. They overlap all the joins of the slopes of the roof covering the shingles below. This creates an extra layer of depth to the roof and really creates quite a bit of interest. On small steep roofs and peaks this looks especially impressive.
What Colors Of Architectural Shingles Are Available?
There is a common misconception that you can only get architectural shingles in a few colors. While this may have been the case in years gone by – it is certainly not true today.Many architectural shingles will actually come in a different shades within the one color. For example – you can decide you want brown shingles. They will come in a variety of shades of brown. The majority of the shingles in the pack will be of the color you specified but some lighter shingles, and some darker shingles will also be present. This is a typical design choice and does work very well on many homes. It is not compulsory to have these accent color shingles – and you can request to not have them if you wish.
And as for choice – well just take a look at just a handful of the colors available below.
As more and more people see the benefits of these shingles, more complex and interesting designs are being made. It is now possible for you to get architectural shingles that look like slate, and some that mimic woods like cedar.
These heavier shingle materials quite often require structural improvements to be made to the roof. Which means a huge added cost. So people who were originally in the market for slate or wood shingles, actually turn to Architectural shingles to get the exotic look without the additional construction work required.
So there you have it – all you could possibly need to know about Architectural shingles. Do you have and questions or have something you would like to say? Please leave a comment in the box below!