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What Are the Different Grades of Roofing Shingles?

what are the different grades of roofing shingles


When it comes to roofing materials, asphalt roof shingles are one of the most popular choices for homeowners. They are versatile, easy to install, and affordable, making them a top roofing option for many. However, not all asphalt shingles are created equal. There are different grades of roofing shingles available in the market, each with its own unique features and benefits. In this article, we’ll explore the different grades of roofing shingles, so you can make an informed decision when it comes to your next roof replacement or installation.

Types of Asphalt Shingles

Before we delve into the different grades of roofing shingles, let’s first discuss the different types of asphalt shingles available. There are two main types of asphalt shingles: 3-tab and architectural.

3-tab Shingles

3-tab shingles are a type of asphalt roofing shingle that is widely used in residential roofing projects. They are called 3-tab shingles because each shingle is divided into three rectangular tabs, giving them a uniform and consistent look when installed on a roof. These shingles are lightweight, easy to install, and come in a variety of colors to match any home’s aesthetic. They are also cost-effective and provide good protection against weather elements such as wind and rain. However, 3-tab shingles may not be as durable as other types of roofing materials and have a shorter lifespan, typically around 15-20 years.

Architectural Shingles

Architectural shingles, also known as dimensional or laminate shingles, are a step up from 3-tab shingles. They are made up of multiple layers of material, giving them a three-dimensional appearance that mimics the look of wood shake or slate roofing. Architectural shingles are more durable than 3-tab shingles and can last up to 30 years or more.

Different Grades of Roofing Shingles

Now that we’ve discussed the types of asphalt shingles, let’s look at the different grades of roofing shingles available.

Standard Grade Shingles 

Standard grade shingles, also known as builder-grade or economy shingles, are the most basic and affordable option available. They are typically made up of a single layer of material and have a flat appearance similar to 3-tab shingles. Standard-grade shingles have a lifespan of around 15-20 years and are suitable for homeowners on a tight budget.

Mid-Grade Shingles

Mid-grade shingles, also known as a premium or architectural shingles, are a step up from standard-grade shingles. They are made up of multiple layers of material, giving them a three-dimensional appearance similar to architectural shingles. Mid-grade shingles are more durable than standard-grade shingles and can last up to 30 years or more. They also come in a variety of colors and styles, giving homeowners more options to choose from.

High-Grade Shingles

High-grade shingles, also known as luxury or designer shingles, are the most expensive and durable options available. They are made up of multiple layers of material and have a three-dimensional appearance similar to architectural shingles. High-grade shingles can last up to 50 years or more and come in a wide variety of colors and styles. They are the ideal choice for homeowners who want a long-lasting and visually appealing roofing system.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Grade of Roofing Shingles

When choosing a grade of roofing shingles, there are several factors to consider:


The lifespan of your roofing system is an important factor to consider when choosing a grade of roofing shingles. The higher the grade of the shingle, the more durable it will be, and the longer it will last.


The cost of cedar shingles and other roofing shingles varies depending on the grade and type of shingle. Standard-grade shingles are the most affordable, while high-grade shingles are the most expensive. It’s important to choose a grade of shingle that fits your budget and offers the best value for your money.


The appearance of your roofing system is another important factor to consider. Architectural shingles and high-grade shingles have a three-dimensional appearance that adds depth and texture to your roof, while standard-grade shingles have a flat appearance. Consider the style of your home and the look you want to achieve when choosing a grade of shingle.


The climate in your area can also play a role in the grade of roofing shingles you choose. If you live in an area with harsh weather conditions, such as high winds or heavy rainfall, you may want to choose a higher-grade shingle that can withstand these conditions.

Roof Installation

The installation process for different grades of roofing shingles can vary. Some grades may require more time and effort to install than others. It’s important to consider the installation process and make sure you choose a grade of shingle that can be installed properly on your roof.

Other Roofing Materials

While asphalt shingles are a popular choice for homeowners, there are other type of roofing system materials available as well. Metal roofing, clay tiles, and wood shake are just a few examples of other roofing options. Consider the pros and cons of each material and choose the one that best fits your needs and budget.


Choosing the right grade of roofing shingles is an important decision for any homeowner. Standard-grade shingles are the most affordable option, while mid-grade and high-grade shingles offer more durability and style options. Consider factors such as durability, cost, appearance, climate, and installation when choosing a grade of shingle for your roofing system. With the right choice, you can enjoy a long-lasting and visually appealing roofing option for your home.

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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