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3-Tab, Dimensional, or Luxury: Which Asphalt Shingles Should I Choose?

September 6, 2021 | 5 min. read

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You’ve decided to take a plunge into the world of home improvement. Congratulations! 


A new roof can add that certain… sparkle to your home. You can finally stand outside with a fresh cup of coffee and stare in awe and wonder at your new roof. Feel the morning breeze on your face as you gaze with content at the added curb appeal to your home. Life is good.


That sounds amazing, doesn’t it? But if you’re here, it means you’re not there yet. You’re still debating on what materials your roof needs. Luckily, you’re in the right place.


With about a decade of installing roofs in the Milwaukee area, Rescue My Roof has the credentials to not only teach you what you need to know but wants to empower you to make the best decisions during your new roof installation. At the end of it all, you should be 1000% confident in the roofing experience you’ve crafted for yourself. 


Asphalt shingles have become one of the most popular options for shingles amongst new roof buyers. But, they come with a catch. There are three different types of asphalt shingles- and we’ve compared them here so that you can have an easier time choosing. 


What Different Types of Asphalt Shingles Are There?


Asphalt shingles are perfect for homes that experience all types of weather. For example, here in the midwest, we see it all. Rain, snow, hail, extreme heat, you name it. Asphalt shingles are common because they handle well in all weather conditions.


This may make initially choosing asphalt shingles relatively easy. Do I live in that type of climate? Yes? Sign me up! But, there are a few more things you need to know. 


There are three different types of asphalt shingles, 3-Tab, Dimensional, and Luxury. 

3-Tab Shingles

3-tab asphalt shingles 3-Tab shingles are designed to be deceptive. One shingle is 36 inches long, with three 12 inch sections (tabs). They look like three different shingles, but in reality, are all one piece. 


There are some benefits to 3-Tab Shingles, including:

  • More cost-effective than dimensional or luxury shingles
  • Provides a uniform look to your roof
  • One of the most common shingles


But, there are drawbacks. 3-tab shingles are more common amongst older homes. So if you want your home to have a more modern look, you may want to consider another option.


Dimensional Shingles

dimensional asphalt shinglesDimensional shingles are asphalt shingles, but with a little spice.


Dimensional shingles are growing in popularity because they look higher-end than the traditional asphalt shingle, but they are still budget-friendly. 


These shingles are layered, and the added thickness makes it look like cedar shake. If you like the look of cedar shake shingles like those pictured below but don’t like the added costs, these shingles may be for you.


Some benefits of dimensional shingles include:

  • Budget-friendly
  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Added curb appeal



  • More susceptible to mold or mildew due to the raw materials used to make them (this can be common with any Asphalt Shingle)


Luxury Shingles 

Luxury Asphalt Shingles If you want a very high-end finish to your home, luxury shingles are going to add that incredible look of, well, luxury.


What separates luxury shingles from the others? They are bigger, bolder, and fancier. But you pay for that high-end finish. They are much more expensive than their counterparts. 



  • A beautiful finish made to mimic slate shingles
  • A heavier tile may protect more against weather conditions like hail and wind



  • High cost


If you are in the market for something extremely budget-friendly and are not concerned about appearances, you may be able to save on costs with the traditional asphalt shingle. However, if you want that added curb appeal to match the aesthetic of your home and have the budget- dimensional or luxury shingles may be for you.


How Much Do Asphalt Shingles Cost?


3-tab shingles are the most cost-effective, averaging $1-2 per square foot. They are also less labor-intensive, so you will not have to pay additional costs associated with additional time spent.


Dimensional shingles are only a bit more expensive than 3-tab shingles at $2-4 per square foot. You get a higher-quality-looking shingle than the 3-tab for a bit higher cost. Fortunately, they also do not require much extra labor to install, therefore saving on costs.


As we said before, luxury shingles are luxury for a reason. Be ready to pay for the quality at $4-5 per square foot. Luxury shingles also require different installation techniques that not every company has experience in, so you may be paying more for a company that can do the work.


Some conditions make these prices fluctuate. In the age of Covid-19, we have all seen those price increases in materials like wood and other things necessary for most home projects. 


With shingles, costs can fluctuate with the rise and fall of prices in things like raw materials, transportation, fuel price increase, and more. 


Prices can also change depending on what area of the county you are in. Make sure to cover your bases, and check-in with companies near you to ensure accuracy. 


How Long Do Asphalt Shingles Last?


When we are discussing what shingles or materials customers want to use, we ask several questions. One of them being “how long are you planning to be in your home?” If the answer is “this is my forever house” you may want to consider the longevity of the different shingles.


3-Tab Shingles not only look older, but they function like older shingles. They are not as long-lasting as other asphalt shingles.


Typically, traditional asphalt shingles will only last 10-15 years before needing maintenance like repairs. And unfortunately, they are not as durable as other shingles, so if you live in an area affected by a lot of rain and high wind speeds, you may need repairs even sooner.


Dimensional shingles have a longer lifespan of 20-30 years. While they may come at a higher price tag, they also will have a better warranty. This can add additional years to your roof before needing repairs you’ll have to pay out-of-pocket.


Luxury shingles also have a very long lifespan of 25-40 years and include a better warranty. However, they are harder to install and may require a crew with a lot of experience. When installed incorrectly, they will not last as long. Make sure to read company reviews to ensure that you are getting the best installment possible to prevent any issues.


Will Asphalt Shingles Stand the Test of Time?


For every type of asphalt shingle, the lifespan will be impacted by things like workmanship during installation and issues caused by storm damage. 


While storm damage might be unavoidable, you can avoid workmanship issues. Reading reviews, picking a trusted company experienced in installing the shingles you want, and doing a final walkthrough with the project manager are all simple measures within your control that can add to the longevity of your roof.


How to Choose Which Asphalt Shingle Is Best For Me?


3-Tab, Dimensional, or Luxury- which one do I choose?


Considering the middle-range price, warranty, and modern look, dimensional shingles are one of the most popular shingle types. But, there is a shingle for every type of buyer.


Strictly considering budget? Traditional Asphalt shingles are your best bet. Redoing the roof on a home in a high-end neighborhood without a budget? Luxury shingles will give you that desired, polished, and expensive look. Want something budget-friendly, but still adds the modern curb appeal? Dimensional shingles are the way to go.


Choosing a particular product- especially when there are a billion different styles- can seem daunting. If we’ve done our job right, you now have a better understanding of the different types of shingles you can choose for your home. 


But that isn’t the last decision you’ll have to make. Once the job begins, there are a few other key things you need to know. 


Read more:

10 Steps to Installing a New Roof: What You Need to Know About The Process

How Long Will My Roof Replacement or Repair Take?