• Copeland Roofing

Ask the Expert: 3 Tab vs. Dimensional Shingles

Shingles, shingles, shingles! Who would have thought there would be so much to them? Whether it’s deciding on the perfect color to match your brick, knowing the wind rating, or how long of a life the shingles have, it’s a lot to think about! It may be confusing to know what type of shingles to use on a new roof when there are two main types of shingles: 3 tab and dimensional. We’ll give you the run-down.



The 3 tab shingles are the older-style shingles that lay flat on the roof. The tabs line up nice and neat in rows. Their expected life is approximately 20-25 years, sometimes less. They also have a low wind rating, around 60 mph. Unfortunately, they are fairly lightweight and are prone to coming loose easily. A benefit is that if you have a 3 tab roof, you have the option of installing another layer of shingles over top of them since they lay flat, as long as the underlying wood is secure.



Dimensional shingles are newer-style shingles that overlap each other for a “dimensional” look. Their expected life is 30 years or more. Their wind rating often exceeds 100 mph. They are heavier weight, durable shingles. They also have a more contemporary look to them.


In terms of what Copeland can install, we are able to use either 3 tab or dimensional shingles. There was a time when the 3 tab shingles would be a cost-saving choice, we are able to get dimensional shingles for the same price or lower anymore. We rarely install a 3 tab shingle unless a homeowner specifically requests it, as we recommend using the dimensional shingles for a sturdier and longer-lasting roof.


Now that you’re armed with this information, go forth and make the best choice for your roof!