Architectural Shingles vs Composite Shingles

For most of the last century, there weren’t a lot of options for accessible, yet durable, roofing materials. Three-tab asphalt shingles were the mainstay, but they are nowhere near as popular as they once were, giving way to architectural or composite materials. But when it comes to architectural shingles vs composite shingles, what are the differences?

For all intents and purposes, they are essentially the same thing. A composition type of shingle is basically bulked up 3-tab asphalt shingles, using a composition of materials. Architectural shingles refer to the appearance of these composition shingles. Where three-tab shingles were uniform (those overlapping three tabs), architectural or dimensional shingles have a variety of profiles or patterns, which add an element of interest to your roof.

What are Architectural Shingles

New roof installation using Pabco Paramount architectural shingles to illustrate architectural shingles vs composite shingles.Architectural roof shingles are crafted using a sturdy fiberglass mat base and coated with ceramic-coated mineral granules. These components are combined with a waterproof asphalt mixture, shaped, and colored to imitate different roofing styles. Unlike standard three-tab types of asphalt shingles, architectural shingles offer a more distinctive appearance, avoiding the repetitive look of regular asphalt shingles.


Architectural shingles have a distinctive dimensional appearance. Unlike traditional three-tab shingles, which have a flat and uniform look, architectural shingles have a layered or textured appearance that mimics the look of natural materials such as wood shakes or slate.

Architectural shingles come in a variety of styles, too. They can be made to look like wood shakes with a textured surface, uneven edges, and distinctive colors to give your roof a rustic feel. For something more modern, shingles can be made to resemble the cool elegance of natural slate roofing. They feature a smooth surface with clean lines and often come in a variety of colors to resemble different types of slate.

Depending on the style of your home, this material can also be made to look like clay or concrete tiles. They have a distinct shape and texture that replicates the appearance of traditional tile roofing, finishing the look of a Mediterranean or Spanish-style home. Dimensional shingles have multiple layers and different shapes, creating a three-dimensional effect on the roof.


One of the key benefits of architectural shingles is their durability. They are thicker and heavier than traditional asphalt roofing, which makes them more wind resistant, better for impact, and handle other weather elements. Most architectural shingles come with warranties ranging from 25 to 50 years, depending on the manufacturer.


Architectural shingles are generally more expensive than traditional asphalt shingle roofs. But they offer better aesthetics, durability, and longevity, which can more than make up for the differences in price. Overall, architectural shingles are a popular choice for residential roofing due to their durability, aesthetic appeal, and long-lasting performance.

What are Composition Shingles

Conposition shingles on new construction to illustrate architectural shingles vs composite shingles

Composition shingles may be called synthetic roofing because of how they are constructed. They are primarily made of asphalt, which is mixed with a variety of other materials including fiberglass, organic felt, and mineral granules. The asphalt serves as a waterproofing agent, while the other materials provide strength, durability, and protection from the elements.

In some cases, composition shingles can also be made to resemble cedar or slate roofing. It can be kind of confusing when researching shingle roofing for your home as the roofing industry has used these terms interchangeably, or even different terminology altogether around the nation.

Architectural shingles will fall under the composition shingle umbrella at times. This means they can come in a variety of colors, styles, and textures too. They can mimic the appearance of natural materials such as wood shakes, slate, or tile. Some composition shingles have a uniform, flat appearance, while others have a more dimensional look with textured surfaces.


They are designed to withstand exposure to sunlight, rain, wind, and other weather conditions and are very impact resistant. The most common types of composition shingles typically last around 20 years or more, although high-quality composition shingles can last more than 30 years and some higher-end products may have longer warranties.

A mixture of Composite shingles and metal roofing on a beautiful custom home to illustrate architectural shingles vs composite shingles.Cost

Composition shingles are generally more affordable than other types of roofing materials such as metal, tile, or slate. Depending on the styles or roofing, they can even be cheaper than architectural roofing. They offer a cost-effective roofing solution for homeowners who want a durable and attractive roof without breaking the bank.

Overall, composition shingles are a popular choice for residential roofing due to their affordability, durability, and versatility. They offer homeowners a reliable and cost-effective roofing solution that can enhance the curb appeal and value of their homes.

Work With an Experienced Roofing Contractor

It doesn’t matter what you call your roofing material, if it isn’t properly installed, you’ll have to deal with poor protection from the elements. In turn, this leads to structural damage, mold growth, and other headaches that can be costly to correct. When considering a new roof, the contractor you choose is just as important as how much the shingles cost.

Warner Roofing and Construction has been installing composition architectural shingles for decades, along with a variety of other roofing materials. Our craftsmen go through rigorous training with composition, cedar shake, metal roofing, and more to deliver the roof you want and the protection you need.

We offer 10-year warranties on roof tear-offs and installations as well as 30- and 50-year warranties on our roofing materials. We work with the best manufacturers in the U.S., including IKO, Pabco, and CertainTeed roofing. When you work with Warner Roofing and Construction, you’re working with quality.

Time for a new roof? Feel free to reach out to us and set up an initial consultation. We’ll work with you to design a roofing system that not only meets your protection needs but also enhances the overall look of your home. Whether you go with architectural, laminate, dimensional, or other types of roofing, you can be confident it will be installed correctly, on time, and on budget.

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