Your Complete Guide to Dimensional Shingles

The most popular type of roofing material for homeowners is asphalt shingling. This is largely due to its unbeatable affordability. Asphalt shingles are not only inexpensive, but are also a charming way to upgrade your home. They come in a multitude of styles and colors that offer you the opportunity to choose a combination that best matches your specific needs. On the flip side, some believe traditional asphalt shingles are uninspiring and that they make all houses on the block look identical. However, these criticisms of asphalt shingles are no longer justifiable, thanks to dimensional shingles.

What Are Dimensional Shingles?

Before dimensional shingles hit the roofing scene, 3-tab shingles were the reigning roofing material for the average homeowner. Then, the 1970’s rolled around and so did dimensional shingles (aka laminate or architectural shingles). Their introduction brought fiberglass and organic materials to asphalt shingles, as well as added minerals to increase durability against the elements. In addition, dimensional shingles solved the problem of having to layer flat 3-tab shingles to create dimension.

Dimensional shingles are similar to traditional asphalt shingles. However, there is one essential difference. The thickness, depth, and layered appearance of dimensional shingles cause them to look like slate tiles or wood shakes. While traditional asphalt shingles give a roof a bland presentation that falls flat, dimensional shingles offer two layers bonded together. Moreover, there are random notches in dimensional shingles that expose the layer underneath. Therefore, dimensional shingles provide a 3-D appearance with alternating high and low tabs.

What Are Designer Shingles?

There are some dimensional shingle manufacturers that have taken this concept even further, creating styles that range from Old World and Victorian, to rugged and dramatic. These designer styles offer even more layers of asphalt and are typically cut, colored, and ornately shaped to be decorative. You may hear them described with other roofing terms like shake, tile, and slate. That’s because manufacturers often shape them to mimic these more costly roofing materials. In addition, you may also hear descriptions of designer shingles like premium, ultra-premium, high-definition, or architectural.

How Much Do Dimensional Shingles Cost?

On average, dimensional shingles cost around 20% more than traditional asphalt shingles. This puts them in the range of $3 to $5 per square foot. Designer shingles run a little higher at around $4 to $6 per square foot. It’s important to note that this price doesn’t include the cost of removing an old roof prior to roof replacement. It’s a good idea to call a reputable roofing company or two to get an accurate estimate for the cost of dimensional shingles in your area.

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How Well Do Dimensional Shingles Perform?

Typically, dimensional shingles are tougher than 3-tab shingles, offering more protection against high winds, heavy rain, and hail. In fact, the highest grade of dimensional shingles can withstand winds up to 130 mph. Additionally, their average lifespan is twice as long, with many dimensional shingle roofs lasting more than 40 years. Because of its robust nature, dimensional shingling often comes with longer-lasting warranties.

What Are the Benefits of Dimensional Shingles?

The advantages of dimensional shingles over traditional shingles include:

  • Superior strength and durability
  • Multi-dimensional look and texture
  • More attractive with many style and color options to give your roof a one-of-a-kind look
  • So aesthetically pleasing that some neighborhoods require them
  • Longer lifespan that ranges from 40 to 50 years
  • Heavier construction so less likely to warp
  • Better at masking structural imperfections
  • Very accessible due to massive popularity
  • Compatible with most roof types and pitches

What Are the Drawbacks of Dimensional Shingles?

Although there is a myriad of advantages to dimensional shingles, they do come with some cons. These include:

  • More expensive upfront costs than for traditional shingles
  • Higher costs in general due to double layer that adds 20% to overall costs
  • More susceptibility to algae, mold, and mildew due to notches and organic materials that these organisms love

Has the idea of a dimensional shingle roof piqued your interest? Titan Roofing would love to help you learn more. Use our Contact Form to schedule a free consultation. All of our roof replacements and new installations come with our No Leak Guarantee!

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