Asphalt shingles are the most popular choice of roofing material for today's homeowner. These shingles are incredibly durable, economical, and versatile enough to compliment any home regardless of the home's architectural style. With a broad range of textures, profiles, and colors, asphalt shingles serve as the roof's primary barrier that provides your home with increased protection against harsh weather conditions and other elements.
There are three [3] primary types of asphalt shingles used today in roofing. While all three shingle types use the same basic materials....however they are not the same. We have provided you with this guide to help you understand the wide array of qualities, benefits, and differences of each shingle type.


                    CertainTeed XT-25 (Color: Black)

Also known as Builders Grade or strip (or flat) shingles, are the original and most basic of all asphalt shingle types. The name is derived from its traditional, flat look or style of cut. They are made from a single layer of asphalt material applied to durable fiberglass basemat. The asphalt material will then contain different colored granules giving the shingle its color.

Due to the shingle construction, they generally weigh and cost less than other asphalt shingles. Prior to designer shingles being introduced in the 1980s, strip shingles were the predominant roofing shingle in the market.

Today, 3-tab shingles are most often used by:

  • Home builders that manufacture inexpensive homes, which is where the term ‘Builders Grade’ shingles originated from
  • Homeowners who are replacing their roof with the same 3-tab shingle due to HOA restrictions
  • Homeowners who are selling their homes and want a quick, economical option
  • Detached buildings, such as garages, sheds, barns (Non-livable spaces)

3-tab shingles have either a 20-Year, 25-Year, or 30-Year manufacturer’s warranty. The difference between the warranty time periods is simply the amount of asphalt material applied to the fiberglass backing. The thicker the shingle, the longer the warranty period.

Almost all 3-tab shingles, regardless of manufacturer (such as CertainTeed, GAF, or Owens Corning), shingle thickness or warranty period, will come with the industry standard of a Wind Warranty of up to 60 MPH and a 5-Year Algae Resistant warranty.

The biggest concerns that homeowners report regarding 3-tab shingles are the lack of aesthetic qualities as compared to their thicker architectural & luxury shingle counterparts, lower home values, and its durability. The flatter surface of the 3-tab shingle does not provide same level of curb appeal as the architectural or luxury shingles.

The lack of durability of the 3-tab shingle can be explained by the following:

  • Blow-Offs: 3-tab shingles are prone to blow-offs because of its lightweight construction. A blow-off is exactly what it sounds like… the failure of the shingle being securely fastened to the roof, most notably in high winds. We all have seen a shingle or two in someone’s yard after an intense storm. This has become more common of late in our area as our summer storms have seen an increase in intensity year over year. If you live in an area that endures high winds throughout the year, then you should consider installing a heavier shingle with a higher wind warranty.
  • Performance/Durability:  Even with a 30-year, 3-tab shingle, you should only expect to get 20 years of solid performance from the shingle before it begins to fail. You will notice granular loss well before the shingle turns 20 years of age, this is the shingle losing color as it begins to age. You will see the color granules in your gutters and/or coming out of the bottom of your downspouts. Yes, the 30-Year shingle will remain on your roof for 30 years, if installed properly. However, it’s the damage under the shingle that you never see that will become the issue. The shingles in our region begin to breakdown faster, as in they become more brittle and easier to crack. This is due to the wide range of weather we receive annually, which speeds up the life cycle of a shingle.

In addition, you will always find a lower home value with a 3-tab shingle versus the other shingle types as a result of the weaker performance & durability, the lack of curb appeal, and the inferior warranty coverages. With each passing year, you will find fewer and fewer homes with a 3-tab shingle being installed in our area.





      CertainTeed Landmark (Color: Georgetown Gray)

Also known as three dimensional or laminate shingles. These shingles are manufactured with two or more layers of asphalt that are fused together for a thicker and richer multi-dimensional appearance, and are engineered to replicate the wood shake and natural slate roofing aesthetics. Dimensional shingles are typically heavier than 3-tab shingles, and have improved warranty protection. CertainTeed’s Landmark® shingles are the prototypical design for a dimensional roofing shingle.

The Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association (ARMA) reports that architectural shingles are the most popular asphalt shingle used today in residential roofing due to several reasons:

  • Architectural shingles are extremely durable with a multi-dimensional texture and appearance.
  • Aesthetics: wide range of colors and textures allowing homeowners to achieve any type of desired look
      • Architectural shingles range from colors that look uniform, essentially a shingle that only has one color or tone to a multi-tone shingle color. When terms such as ‘PRO’, ‘HD’, or ‘Ultra HD’ are used to describe the shingle color or type, the manufacturer is indicating that you will see more definition within the shingle because more tones or colors will be used to create the overall aesthetic feel of the shingle. This is comes with a higher price tag, as well.
        • For example; the shingle to the right would be considered a ‘monotone’ architectural shingle
  • Warranties range from 30-Years up to 50-Years
    • Depending on manufacturer, installation method, and shingle construction
  • 110 MPH Wind Warranty (up to 130 MPH depending on installation method)
  • 10-Year or 15-Year Algae Resistant Warranty
    • Algae resistance comes from copper flecks being added to the asphalt mixture, the thicker the shingle, the longer the algae resistant warranty as it will contain more copper versus a thinner shingle with less asphalt material
  • Increase home values & curb appeal
    • The most economical residential re-roofing shingle option available today
  • Transferable Warranty (subsequent homeowner only)





 CertainTeed Presidential Shake (Color: Charcoal Black)

Also known as designer shingles, luxury shingles are the highest-quality laminated shingles available, offering a differentiated appearance of colors, patterns, and functionality that outclasses any other asphalt shingle type. Luxury shingles are designed to replicate the look of a natural slate of cedar shake roof at a fraction of the cost.

Luxury shingles are an excellent roofing alternative for period-style, historic homes that typically look best with a slate of cedar shake roof style. The multi-dimensional texture of luxury shingles creates shadows, angles, and depths that offer that natural feel. These products offer

the most realistic representation of the old-world wood shake and quarried slate roofing.

CertainTeed’s Grand Manor® and Carriage House® products are prime examples of Luxury roofing shingles.

Luxury shingles provide premium protection from the elements and weathering due to its extra weight. Luxury shingles are the heaviest asphalt shingle available today. In fact, they can weigh up to three [3] times as much per square versus the traditional 3-tab shingle option.

Luxury Shingle Advantages:

  • Highest-quality asphalt shingle with the widest selection of styles & colors
  • 50-Year (or Lifetime) Manufacturer’s Warranty
  • 15-Year Algae Resistance Warranty
  • 110 MPH Wind Warranty (up to 130 MPH)
     CertainTeed Grand Manor (Color: Weathered Wood)
  • Class IV Impact Resistant (for hail)
  • Highest fire rating of any asphalt shingle
  • Increased home value & enhanced curb appeal

Despite all of the benefits & qualities of luxury shingles, there some negative points to address. However, it’s these disadvantages that give the luxury shingle its advantages.

  • COST: The luxury shingle is the most expensive of all asphalt shingle options available today. Sometimes, depending on the type of shingle selected, the price could exceed twice that of the 3-dimensional architectural shingle.
  • INSTALLATION: Luxury shingles are more labor intensive than 3-tab or architectural shingles.
    • Luxury shingles are heavier than the 3-tab or architectural shingle making them more difficult to manage
    • Installation method; certain luxury shingles need to be installed in a designated, specific method. The process of installing a luxury shingle is more complicated than that of a 3-tab or architectural shingle
  • WEIGHT: Since the luxury shingle is the heaviest shingle, it may not be appropriate to install on certain homes. Please be sure to consult a structural engineer if you are not 100% positive your roof can withstand the added weight of a luxury shingle. You want to avoid overloading the roof. This is more of a concern in older homes with a wider roof span support structure.




The Dynamic Benefits of Asphalt

Due to modern engineering techniques and the dynamic properties of asphalt, manufacturers are capable of producing numerous specialty products that exist across all shingle types. These include shingles that fight algae growth, provide enhanced resistance to damaging hail, and offer cool roof color technologies that reflect the radiant heat of the sun to keep homes more comfortable in the summer while reducing your air conditioning expenses. Depending on your location, choosing a specialty shingle can even reduce the cost of your insurance premium….(such as an impact-resistant shingle installed on a home in a hail zone). In addition, asphalt shingles are naturally fire resistant, making them an ideal choice for areas where wildfires are prominent.

Interested in exploring the different options available to you? Try out CertainTeed’s ColorView® home exterior visualizer tool – you can even upload a picture of your own home to try out different roofing, siding, paint and trim combinations to help bring your remodeling vision to reality. Treat your home as if it’s a blank canvas.

Superior Craftsmanship. Award-Winning Customer Service. Honest, Transparent Pricing!

The Most Trusted Contractor In Our Area!

St Joseph’s Roofing is the #1 licensed and insured roofer in Northern Virginia’s for all your residential and commercial roofing needs. Our estimates are free and our work is world-class.

603 Carlisle Dr. Herndon, VA 20170
P: (703) 716-7663

10494 Business Center Ct.
Manassas, VA 20110

3305 Sage Rd
Markham, VA 22643

4533 Stanford St
Chevy Chase, MD 20815

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