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Architectural Roof Shingles

Sonia Nair Feb 19, 2020
Architectural roofing shingles introduced in the 1970, are specialized asphalt shingles which can give a three-dimensional look to the roof. These high-end shingles are otherwise known as laminated or three-dimensional roof shingles.
Asphalt shingles, introduced during 1950s, had flat asphalt-saturated cellulose or fiberglass mats with mineral granules coating. Efforts of the manufacturers in improving the quality and texture of these shingles led to a forerunner of architectural roof shingles introduced in 1970s.
This new type of asphalt shingle had a heavier mat base, as compared to the earlier version. The mat base consisted of fiberglass or some organic material, and asphalt. The back of the shingle was coated with a special material, and the top layer was covered with colored granules to create a shadow pattern.
Consistent research resulted in many new types in various colors, patterns, and textures. Some of these patterns imitate the looks of cedar shakes, slate, or tiles. This new entrant has revolutionized the market of roofing materials, and has emerged as a preferred one for roofing new constructions or for replacing old ones.

How are Architectural Shingles Beneficial

This roofing material is heavy, strong, and more durable than most of the other types of roofing. Given here are some of the advantages of these architectural roofing shingles.


The main plus point of architectural shingles is its durability. Though this roofing material comes in different grades, most of them have a warranty of 25 to 40 years. Some of the manufacturers offer lifetime guarantee too.


Being heavier than most types of roof shingles, architectural ones offer more protection. The heavy mat base makes it resistant to curling and bending. They can withstand high temperature and are resistant to wind damage as they are heavy.
Architectural roof shingles have a weight of around 480 pounds per 100 square feet. It is said that this roofing material can resist winds of up to 120 meter per hour.

Algae Resistant

Algae growth on shingles is a problem in areas with high rainfalls or humidity. To combat this, most architectural roofing shingles have algae-proof feature which is done with zinc or copper granule coating.

Fire Resistance

These shingles are fire-resistant nature. This is due to the heavy granule coating of the top coat. High grade architectural shingles with heavy granule coating are found to have the highest fire rating of Class A.

Easy Installation

Easy installation is another advantage of these shingles. In most types, there is no specific pattern that has to be matched, while installing architectural shingles. There are no tabs to align, as in case of three-tab shingles. So you are free to cut and use it anywhere as you wish. This results in less amount of wastage.
With their three-dimensional looks, architectural roof shingles may also be useful in covering up the flaws of the roof structure. These shingles can be used on roofs with a slope of more than two inches per foot. This roofing material requires less maintenance than others as well.
Apart from the point of durability, the popularity of these roof shingles are also attributed to the variety of styles and patterns they offer. Even though these shingles are a little more expensive than other roof shingles, they are worth the price, as they offer these benefits.
Architectural shingles are best for roofs with a slope of more than 2" per foot. If the slope is between 2" to 4" per foot, an additional underlay is needed to prevent seepage of water, which can damage the roof structure. If there is a chance of collection of water along the eaves (due to icing) a waterproofing layer below shingles need to be installed.
For houses located in areas with moist and/or humid weather, the algae-resistant variety of architectural roofing shingles is preferable. Though these shingles are easy to install, it is always better to get it done by a professional, rather than trying to do it on your own.
Being thick and heavy in nature, you may sometimes find it difficult to nail them to the roof structure. However, if you have a good do-it-yourself kit and the right tools, you may successfully complete this job.

Repair and Replacement of Roof Shingles

Roof shingles can be replaced, if damaged and are causing harm to the roof structure. In case of damage to a few shingles, the better option will be to repair or replace them.
If the whole roofing needs to be replaced, then one can either retain the existing one and install the new roofing material over the former. The old one acts as an extra insulation and is also beneficial in saving the expenses of removal and disposal.
The damaged shingles in the existing roofing should be replaced before the installation of the new shingles. A layer of 30-pound roofing felt should be fixed over the existing roofing, on which the new roofing shingles can be laid. Make sure it is legal to have more than one layer of roofing, according to the local laws.
The whole roofing can be removed and installation of the new one can be started from the beginning as well. If the existing roofing is severely damaged, re-roofing is always recommended.
Architectural roof shingles can be used as a new installation or as replacement. They are useful both ways, as they are durable and the same time, enhance the appearance of your house. Though architectural shingles are bit costly compared to most other roofing shingles, the durability and better performance of the former is worth investing.
It will be better to have a deep study about various aspects of this material, before investing. For this, you may seek the opinion of expert roof contractors. Even who have installed these shingles can be of help to gain an idea about this material. If you feel that architectural shingles are perfect for your roof, then you can go ahead with your plan.