Note: This is cleaning/treatment/restoration only. We do not offer roof repair services.
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Asphalt Shingle Types: Navigating Your Roofing Options

types of asphalt shingle roofs


Regarding types of roofing materials, asphalt shingles are among the most popular choices. Their durability, cost-effectiveness, and aesthetic appeal make them a preferred option for many homeowners. This article explores different types of asphalt shingles, their specific functions, and how long each kind can last.

An Overview: Types of Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles come in various types, each with unique characteristics and aesthetic appeal. Here are the three main types of roof shingles you are likely to encounter when considering an asphalt shingle roof:

3-Tab Asphalt Shingles

3-Tab shingles are the most basic and affordable type of roofing material. They are named ‘3-Tab’ because they come in a single strip with three tabs or individual shingles. Characterized by a sleek, horizontal profile and lightweight construction, these shingles are attractive for homeowners on a budget.

Architectural Asphalt Shingles

Architectural shingles, dimensional or laminate shingles, are thicker and more durable than 3-Tab shingles. They consist of multiple layers of asphalt, providing a three-dimensional look that mimics the appearance of natural wood or slate. Their added thickness contributes to their durability and longevity.

Luxury Asphalt Shingles

Luxury asphalt shingles are the highest-quality asphalt roofing materials available. They offer the most realistic replication of natural materials like slate and cedar shakes, with enhanced durability and a more sophisticated appearance than other shingle types.

Asphalt Shingle Roof: Type of Roof and Their Functions

Different types of roofs have other functions. Each type of asphalt shingle serves a specific function, meeting different homeowner needs regarding aesthetic appeal, longevity, and budget considerations.

3-Tab Shingles: Budget-Friendly and Functional

3-Tab shingles provide basic protection against the elements at a lower price point. Known for their lightweight nature and straightforward installation process, these roofing options offer an economical solution for homeowners seeking cost-effective roofing alternatives. However, they have a relatively shorter lifespan than other types, with shingles lasting between 10 to 20 years with proper maintenance.

Architectural Shingles: Balancing Durability and Aesthetics

Architectural shingles are naturally heavier than 3-Tab shingles due to their multiple layers of asphalt. This additional weight makes them more resistant to wind and weather damage. With proper care, architectural shingles can last between 25 to 30 years.

Luxury Shingles: For the Discerning Homeowner

Luxury shingles offer the highest durability and aesthetic appeal among asphalt shingle types. They replicate high-end roofing materials while providing the ease of installation and maintenance characteristic of asphalt shingles. These high-quality asphalt shingles can last up to 30 years or more.

What are the most common roof shingle types?

When it comes to types of roof shingle types, several options dominate the market due to their popularity and versatility. One of the most common types is asphalt shingles, which are widely used for their affordability, durability, and ease of installation. Another popular choice is architectural shingles, dimensional or laminate shingles.

These shingles offer a more textured and dimensional appearance, mimicking the look of traditional roofing materials like slate or wood. Additionally, 3-tab shingles are commonly seen on residential roofs.

These shingles have a flatter, more uniform look, providing a definitive, cost-effective roofing solution. Other common roof shingle types include wood shingles, which offer a natural and rustic aesthetic, and metal shingles, known for their durability and longevity. Ultimately, the choice of roof shingle type depends on factors such as budget, desired aesthetics, and the specific requirements of the roofing project.

Which is the Best Type of Asphalt Roofing Shingle?

When it comes to choosing the best type of asphalt roofing shingle, architectural shingles stand out as a top choice. Unlike traditional three-tab shingles, architectural shingles have a multi-dimensional design, giving them a more aesthetically pleasing appearance and enhancing the curb appeal of any home. Additionally, they are thicker and more durable, providing better protection against harsh weather conditions and extending their lifespan. These shingles also often come with warranties, offering peace of mind to homeowners. Overall, architectural shingles offer a winning combination of durability, aesthetics, and value, making them the best option for many residential roofing projects.

How long do asphalt roof shingles last?

The lifespan of roof shingles varies depending on the material used. Asphalt shingles, the most common type, typically last between 20 to 30 years. Wood shingles can last around 25 years, while metal shingles can endure up to 50 years or more. Slate and concrete tiles have the longest life expectancy, lasting 50 to 100 years. Regular maintenance and proper installation can extend the longevity of roof shingles, ensuring they protect your home for many years to come.

Conclusion: Choosing the Right Asphalt Shingle Type for Your Home

Asphalt shingles are popular among homeowners due to their versatility, affordability, and durability. Understanding the different types of roof shingles can help you decide on the best type of roofing material for your home.

Whether you opt for the cost-effective 3-Tab shingle, the balanced choice of architectural shingles, or the luxury variant for enhanced aesthetics and durability, you can rest assured that your asphalt shingle roof will provide reliable protection for your home for years.

Cedar Shake Roof Cleaning in Des Moines Iowa
Cedar Shake Roof before & after cleaning

Meet Bruce

50 Years of Experience &
Over 2,000 Shake Roofs Cleaned

Bruce Sullivan has over 50 years of experience in maintaining, cleaning, and restoring cedar shake roofs. Making him one of the top authorities on cedar shake roofs in the US.

Watch the Cedar Shakes Cleaning Process in Action in this video

Play Video about Roof Cleaning How to Remove Moss, Lichen, Fungi from a Cedar Roof Sullivan Roof


What can I say? Bruce and Keith provided an exceptional service, and they are really nice guys too. Found out at the last minute they were in Minneapolis, and they fit me in for a cedar shake roof cleaning the next evening after their regular job was done. Even cleaned up my gutters, small fence, and small deck at no charge. The place looks outstanding! Highly recommended.

Mike Richards

I highly recommend this business. Due to the work performed we are going to get another 10-14 years out of our cedar shake roof. We were told by some roofing companies that the roof should be replaced in 2 years. I lucked out and found Sullivan Roof Cleaning while researching companies that perform this service, and was pleased to learn that the company does work outside of Iowa. If you need your cedar shakes cleaned, go with Sullivan Roof Cleaning.

Eric Oelrich, 
St Cloud, MN

Bruce did a great job cleaning the whole exterior of my house. The roof has new life! It looks practically brand new. All the mold and moss on the roof, on the gutters, under the eaves, completely gone. He exceeded all our expectations. When he tells you what he can do for your house, you can believe and trust him. Great guy, great service.

Stuart Malone
Kansas City, MO


Cedar shakes are organic. Though a resilient material. Being organic they need to be maintained. Over time, like any organic material that are subjected to weather elements, they reach a stage of deterioration. Like UV exposure, moisture and seasonal changes. Which results in moss, mold, mildew, lichen and brown rot fungi. These infestations need to be removed to further preserve the integrity of the cedar shake.
The proper way to clean a cedar shake roof is from a ladder. By spraying a special formulated solution onto the shakes and then rinsed with a garden hose pressure. Best done by a professional cedar shake roof cleaner. Not DIY recommended.
No. Pressure washer will require walking on the shakes, which will harm them, and even at its lowest setting will also damage the shakes.
On average, cedar shakes should be cleaned every 10 ten years. Subjective to the grade of the shakes and the amount of surrounding tree cover.
Avoiding walking on a cedar shake roof, other than for repairs.
Never seal a cedar shake roof. Cedar shakes need to breathe. They expand and contract in rain conditions. Seal will shorten the lifespan, to the point of premature replacement.
Staining has no real preserve value and can also harm the integrity of shakes, as stated, they need to be able to breathe. Also, if the shakes are not properly cleaned staining can seal the deteriorating infestation within the shakes.
Depending on the grade of the shakes and installation, and if maintained properly, 40 to 60 years.


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