Roofers tend to talk about asphalt shingles as if they are a monolith. However, there are many different kinds of asphalt shingles. They are all made from the same basic materials, but the construction, relative amounts of materials, and appearance vary from type to type. Here are some of the most common types of asphalt shingles you may want to consider for your home.
This is the type of shingles most people picture when they hear the term "asphalt shingles." Each sheet of shingles has three tabs across the bottom. This results in a uniform, consistent appearance across the roof. Three-tab shingles look in place on most styles of homes. They are affordable, and many different companies make them. While they are not the most durable type of asphalt shingles, three-tab shingles offer a reasonable amount of protection for homes in all but the harshest of climates.
Architectural shingles have unequally sized tabs. Some tabs are wide, some are narrow, and others are somewhere in between. This creates a more eye-catching and modern appearance. As such, you often see architectural shingles on homes with a more modern style. These shingles also tend to shed water better, and they are often made thicker than 3-tab shingles. As a result of this increased toughness, they work well in more demanding climates, such as along the waterfront and in really cold climates. They cost more than 3-tab shingles, but they last longer, too.
Wind-resistant shingles are those that are made to be particularly strong and durable. They are actually a little more flexible than your average asphalt shingle. This way, if the wind grabs them, they are more likely to bend a bit and not just snap right off the roof. These shingles generally look more like architectural shingles, although you can also find ones with a three-tab layout. If you want to use shingles on a roof in a hurricane zone, this really is the best option. Wind-resistant shingles cost more than other types of asphalt shingles, but they are cheaper than tile — the traditional, go-to roofing material in hurricane zones.
Whether you live on the coast, in a desert, or somewhere in between, there's a style of asphalt shingle that will serve you well. Talk to a roofer to learn more about each of these roofing types. They may even give you a quote, which can help guide your decision.