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Which Asphalt Shingle is Right for You?

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Because of their versatility and affordability, asphalt shingles have been by far the most common roofing material in North America for decades.

If you’re looking for some, you can find asphalt shingles on pretty much every suburban roof in our home state of North Carolina, and most other places in the country. That being said, it’s a good idea to know what you’re looking at, and there are loads of shingle types, brands, and colors out there.

So if you’re trying to figure out what asphalt shingle roof is the right one for you, read this blog! We’ll go over the different major shingle manufacturers, and the different types of shingles that they offer!

What are the different levels of asphalt shingles?

In the world of asphalt shingle roofing, the majority of shingle products fall under three main categories, three-tab, architectural, or luxury.

Three-Tab Shingle


Three-tab shingles, or strip shingles, are considered the entry-level economy shingle by most manufacturers. They are a single-ply shingle that are typically used for production level homes.  

As a result of that single-ply design, three-tabs are the least durable asphalt shingle, and they typically last between 15-20 years, the shortest lifespan of the three. 

This shingle might be a good choice for someone who knows they will likely need to reinvest in a roof replacement in the future, but needs a more immediate, short-term solution. This could be a situation where a repair won’t properly deal with the problem at hand. 

Architectural Shingle


The middle step on the asphalt shingle ladder, architectural shingles provide a great compromise between price and durability. They use a two-play design to create a thicker, dimensional look, as well as increase the lifespan of the shingle. 

Architectural shingles usually last between 25-30 years, and are not too much more expensive than three-tabs, so they are the most common type of shingle that we see used for roof replacements. 

These shingles are most often recommended for homeowners who are looking to invest in the long term health of their roofs, or are replacing the roof to help increase the value of their home. 

Luxury Shingle

If you’re looking for the highest tier of asphalt shingle roofing, luxury shingles are definitely it. They have three layers of asphalt to create a sturdy shingle that has the look to do its name justice. 

They carry a heavier price tag than other asphalt shingles, and the weight of the shingles themselves can create problems for some roofs. These shingles usually last around 30 years, or longer in good conditions. 

In order for these shingles to be the right choice, the home’s frame must be built to withstand that weight (and the homeowner’s wallet built to withstand the price tag.) We see customers opt for these shingles when they want to give their home a look that stands out from other homes in their area.  

Note: some neighborhoods with Homeowners Associations may require that homes use a luxury shingle, so if you have an HOA, be sure to check with them before getting your roof replaced. 

In summary, the difference between the three main levels comes down to price, durability, and appearance. Three-Tab shingles are the least expensive, but also have the lowest lifespan. Architectural shingles are a little bit more expensive, but can last twice as long, and provide a more textured look. Luxury shingles then cost more than architectural, and are slightly more durable, with their main trait being the ability to simulate the look of slate and shake roofs.

Shingle Comparison_WebP

What are the different Shingle Manufacturers?

Though there are certainly more manufacturers than we list here, GAF, CertainTeed, and Owen’s Corning produce some of the most commonly used shingles across North America, so we decided to focus on them.  

1. GAF

GAF Logo

GAF is North America’s largest roofing manufacturer, and were one of the driving forces of innovation in the roofing industry as we know it today. The company was founded in New Jersey in 1886 as Standard Paint, and developed the first interlocking asphalt shingles in 1933, before becoming GAF in 1967. 

Their best-seller is the Timberline HDZ architectural shingle, which they have in an array of colors, as the flagship of their Timberline collection. For three-tab shingles, GAF widely offers their Royal Sovereign shingles, the most economical GAF option. If you’re looking for luxury, GAF offers a variety of Designer Shingles like Grand Sequoia, Camelot, and Woodland, each with their own unique look and texture. 

2. CertainTeed 

CertainTeed Logo

CertainTeed began their business as the General Roofing Manufacturing company in 1904, but changed their name in 1917. The company now has their headquarters outside of Philadelphia, and prides themselves on creating a sustainable manufacturing business. 

They offer their XT 25 strip shingles as their low-cost option, but the company’s best seller is the Landmark Pro dimensional shingle. For their Luxury offerings, CertainTeed sells Grand manor, Carriage House, & and Presidential Shake designs. 

3. Owens Corning

Owens Corning Logo_WebP

Owens Corning began their manufacturing journey as a fiberglass company, making long strides in the fiberglass insulation industry. They helped further the roofing industry by introducing fiberglass reinforcements to asphalt shingles in the 1960s, increasing their durability and fire resistance. 

For the cost-effective option, Owens Corning offers their Supreme three-tab style shingle. The next step up is the Oakridge line, and then the Duration and Duration Designer architectural shingles. At the high end, the company has their “Berkshire” line to simulate the look of slate tile roofs. 

Ready to choose an Asphalt Shingle?

Shingle Comparison

Now that you know some more about what the difference is between the types of shingles, and the different manufacturers, I hope you’re feeling ready to pick one out for yourself! 

If you’re not quite sure yet, reach out to us using the “Contact Us” button below! Our team has plenty of samples for you to look at, and if you need any more advice on picking one out, we’d be happy to help. On Tops has been replacing asphalt shingle roofs in the Raleigh area for over three decades, so whatever guidance you need, we’re on top of it. 

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