Understanding the basics of asphalt roofing shingles. When it comes to roofing replacement, the roofing shingles become a critical element. However, most homeowners are not asphalt roofing shingles experts. Are you one of these homeowners? Don’t worry, here we bring you what you need to know to talk with your roofing contractor.

Basic shingles and shake-style roofing shingles

Shingles are the basic 3-tab shingles you can see on many homes with roofs near to their replacement age.

Shake-style shingles are asphalt shingles designed to look like cedar shakes — hand-split wooden shingles individually applied to a roof base. 

Shake-style shingles are available in several shades of brown and gray to mimic new and aging cedar shakes. 

Understanding the basics of asphalt roofing shingles

What are asphalt shingles?

Asphalt shingles are the most used roofing material in North America. As a distinctive feature, they have a layer of asphalt as a waterproofing material. Besides, they have a base mat and an external layer of ceramic granules that protect the shingle.

The three types of asphalt roofing shingles are:

  1. 3-tab shingles: They are the original and most basic type of asphalt shingle. They are single-layered to look like slate and used to be the market leader. 
  2. Dimensional shingles: These shingles are dual-layered, appear thicker on the roof, and are heavier than the typical 3-tab shingle. Currently, they are the most common roofing shingle in North America. 
  3. Premium shingles: Sometimes called laminated shingles, they include shake-style shingles and other, so-called “Old World” shingles that look like slate, wood, etc. About them, CertainTeed notes: 

“Premium roofing shingles might also have important functional improvements such as impact resistance or solar reflectivity that can possibly extend the life of the roofing system or provide lower energy costs,”

The differences between traditional roofing shingles and shake-style shingles


  • Traditional shingles have one single layer. Each shingle has a slightly different weight and durability with minimal textural dimension and shadowing. Quality fiberglass base mat provides flexibility and quality at a good value.
  • Last about 20- to 30-years:

Depending on brand and style, most shingles manufacturers offer warranties for 20, 25, or 30 years. Many 3-tab shingles carry the same UL Class A fire-resistance rating as dimensional shingles because they’re usually made of the same materials. However, their wind resistance ratings are lower than shake-style options. Remind this if you live in a region prone to strong winds. 

  • Are less expensive

The cost of three-tab shingles is 8 to 10 percent lower than the shaker-style alternatives. Indeed, they are the most economical choice for a roof replacement. Roofpedia explains: “They cost less and are a great option for those with smaller budgets.”

Shake-Style Shingles:

  • Are bigger and stronger:

Since they have several layers, shake-style shingles have added strength. Tru-Def Duration shingles from Owens Corning, for example, have two or three layers of laminated fiberglass base for extra durability. 

  • Take more punishment:

The three layers of shake-style shingles offer added protection against heavy winds. Thus, they are excellent for regions prone to severe weather. 

Shake-style shingles are more expensive. Worth the investment? You decide.

Shake-style shingles are a bit pricier when compared with 3-tab shingles. Yet, choosing the best shingles for your roof will be worth the extra effort because of the following reasons: 

  • Improved aesthetics and durability. Michael Dier owner of Watkins Construction, says. “Curb appeal makes the difference. In many cases, your roof accounts for 33 to 60 percent of your home’s exterior appearance. 
  • With three-tab shingles, you’ll also miss out on a lifetime limited warranty. Shake-style shingles’ durability allows companies like Owens Corning to offer lifetime limited and 50-year transferrable warranties. 
  • If you replace a 3-tab roof after 25 years, but your shake-style roof lasts 50, you saved money in the long run.

Let’s talk about your roofing needs.

Do you need a roof replacement? Call Watkins Construction’s Owens Corning Platinum Preferred certified experts! They will offer you peace of mind and a 50-year, no-nonsense warranty.

Contact Watkins Construction & Roofing today at 601-966-8233 or visit us online. You can get a price, schedule a free, in-home consultation or find answers to any home roofing questions.

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