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What Are Architectural Shingles and What Sets Them Apart?

Whether constructing a new home or replacing the roof on an existing one, there is a wide range of fantastic roofing materials available for you to select from. Among all of the materials that you can select from, likely the most stylish and economic material is the architectural shingle. If you’re unfamiliar with this roofing material, architectural shingles are very similar to standard asphalt shingles with the main difference being that architectural shingles are more durable.

These shingles are unique in that they are made from two separate shingle strips that have been laminated together. When you want to use this specific type of roofing material, you’ll find that there are many different patterns, colors, and textures that you can choose from, which allows for a substantial amount of customization. Architectural shingles offer a range of benefits that can’t be had with other roofing styles, which include everything from heightened durability to easy installation.

The following article is an in-depth guide on architectural shingles and how you can benefit from them.

What Are Architectural Shingles?

aerial photo of architecture construction roofing

Architectural shingles are a very popular shingle type that consists of two shingle strips that have been laminated together, which makes them thicker and more durable than standard shingles. Since the base of an architectural shingle is comprised of multiple layers, roofs that are made from architectural shingles are known to endure extreme weather conditions better than many other materials.

Likely the best aspect of architectural shingles is that they can be installed in different colors, sizes, and weights, which should help you obtain a roof that’s wholly distinct when compared to the roofs of your neighbors. These shingles can be made to appear like tile or cedar shake while still being able to provide you with the benefits that are unique to architectural shingles.

Benefits of Architectural Shingles for Your Roof

There are a wide array of notable benefits that come with choosing architectural shingles for your roof, which include:


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Likely the most notable benefit of architectural shingles is the durability that they can provide to a roof. To understand how durable architectural shingles can be, it’s important to compare them to standard shingles that are comprised of only one layer. With just a single layer of material, standard shingles are relatively vulnerable to being damaged by the elements while also being susceptible to deterioration. High winds can be particularly damaging to shingles with only one layer.

Architectural shingles are comprised of two layers of granules and refined asphalt that have been laminated together, which invariably makes them at least twice as durable as shingles that only consist of one layer. Since these shingles are thicker and more durable, they have a high wind resistance compared to other roofing materials. There are certain architectural shingles that have been built to withstand winds of up to 120 mph. If you purchase standard shingles, the wind resistance is only around 60-70 mph.

In the event that you have architectural shingles installed on the roof of your home, damage to the shingles should be significantly reduced, which means that repair costs will be much lower over the lifespan of the roof. These shingles are considered to be highly fire resistant as well, which may help you obtain a lower premium on home insurance.


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At first glance, you might believe architectural shingles to be less cost-effective than standard shingles since they typically cost around 20 percent more. While your initial expenses will be slightly higher, architectural shingles are considered to be very cost-effective because they will last longer than standard shingles and help to add value to your home. If you decide to sell your property a few years after the architectural shingles have been installed on the roof, you should be able to list the property at a price that’s higher than it would be with standard shingles.

While these shingles were designed initially to be used solely with high-end properties, they are now affordable enough to be used on any home or commercial building with a slanted or peaked roof. Make sure that you hire the right roofing contractor for the job if you want value to be added to the property. Otherwise, poor installation of the shingles will negate the added value of the shingles once the appraisal takes place.

Customization and Variety

colorful roof

Architectural shingles allow for a significant amount of customization and variety when compared to nearly all other types of roofing materials. The main benefit of customizing the architectural shingles that you purchase is that these shingles can be made to appear like natural roofing materials. For instance, you could design the architectural shingles to appear like wood or slate materials, which allows you to receive the benefits of architectural shingles as well as the better appearance of wood roofing materials.

There are many color and style options that you can select from as well, which should help you create a roof that’s entirely unique. Even though these shingles consist of two layers, they are actually lightweight, which means that they can be applied to a variety of different roof types, which include steep roofs and sloped roofs.

Easier Installation

architecture construction building roof

Despite the fact that architectural shingles are thicker than standard shingles, they are considerably easier to install. However, keep in mind that install time will differ depending on which roofing contractor you hire for the job. If you obtain a quote beforehand, you should be able to determine how long it will take for architectural shingles to be installed on the roof of your home.

These shingles are considered to be easy to cut, which is why it takes very little time for them to be installed. It’s also important to note that additional support doesn’t need to be placed under the shingles, which helps to lessen installation time. Once the shingles have been cut, all that’s left is for them to be nailed to the roofing. Less installation time should equate to slightly lower costs.

Energy Efficiency

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Thicker and more durable roofing is better equipped to keep the elements outside of your home, which should reduce your total energy costs. During the winter, cold air getting into your home means that your HVAC unit will need to work much harder in order to provide stable and consistent heating, which only serves to increase your monthly energy bills.

By obtaining a thick roofing material that performs well at keeping cold or hot air out of your home, you should be able to save a significant sum of money. These shingles also do well at reflecting light, which means that heat should be kept out of your home during the hot summer months. When you use less energy throughout your home, your expenses will be lower.

Difference Between Asphalt and Architectural Shingles

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There are many distinct differences between asphalt and architectural shingles, the primary of which is that asphalt shingles are comprised of a single layer with architectural shingles consisting of two layers that have been laminated together. The heightened durability of architectural shingles means, however, that asphalt shingles weigh around 50 percent less.

When you purchase asphalt shingles for your roof, you should expect them to last for upwards of 20 years. On the other hand, architectural shingles are designed to last for 30 years or longer. Another reason to consider architectural shingles over asphalt shingles is that architectural shingles can add value to your home.

Prospective homeowners will find a home that has been equipped with architectural shingles to be more appealing than one with asphalt shingles. The only reason why you should consider asphalt shingles over architectural ones is if architectural shingles don’t fit into your budget.

How to Get Started with Architectural Shingles

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If you would like to purchase architectural shingles for your home, you should speak with a roofing contractor or architect who can help with the design of the shingles before they are installed. Once the shingles have been designed to your specification or you have selected pre-made ones, you can have them installed by the roofing contractor you prefer.

While you’re searching for the right roofing contractor, it’s highly recommended that you perform extensive research to make sure that the contractor of your choice has received their license and is qualified to work on your roof type. You could also speak with real estate professionals who have experience in dealing with roofing contractors in your area. These professionals should be able to provide you with recommendations that you can be confident in.

When you have chosen a roofing contractor, they will first come out to your home to perform an estimate that will tell you how much it will cost to purchase architectural shingles for your roof while also giving you an idea of how long the project will take and what the labor costs will be to have the shingles installed. Replacing a roof is usually a day-long project, which is why it’s recommended that you’re out of the home while this process is ongoing. As long as you choose the right architectural shingles as well as the best roofing contractor for the job, you should be entirely satisfied with the appearance of your new roof.

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