Today we are discussing one of our favorite type of shingle materials. These are architectural shingles or dimensional shingles, as they are also known as. When its time to replace your roof, whether from old age, a hailstorm or wear and tear, many homeowners face different types of choices for their homes. One of these choices includes selecting the type of shingles that will be replacing the ones currently on right now. While we have previously written about innovative roof materials and environmentally friendly ones, the one tried and true material that over 80% of homeowners choose year after year is the asphalt shingle.

One of the positive benefits of dimensional shingles is that the options are endless. From different colors, tiers and installation techniques, it can be a bit overwhelming when shopping around for a new roof. One of the best options in the market is the architectural shingles.

Architectural Shingles

They are also known as dimensional shingles because of the dimensional look that they give to your roof. Instead of the older 3-tab shingle look, which gives the roof an overall flat look with no proportions, these shingles look more elegant and modern at a fraction of the price when comparing with other materials. Not only that, but they are sturdier and more resistant to storm damage than their older counterparts. Asphalt, fiberglass and ceramic-coat granules of mineral make up these type of shingles. They are also water and fire resistant thanks to these components.

When comparing with three-tab, dimensional shingles are heavier and are wider in thickness, hence their resistance and additional strength to durability. This also makes them harder to detach from the roof during period of high wind or bad storms. Dimensional shingles are made of two layers of asphalt laminated together. Comparing these to the 20 year lifespan of three-tab, they can last from 20-30 years. This, of course, depends on the region and what the weather looks like near your home. Harsher weather conditions do tear down your shingles quicker.

Architectural Shingles Pros

Here we take a look at the pros of installing these type of shingles.


As we said above, architectural shingles are resistant to fire,water and are even flexible enough to resist the weight of snow. In fact, these type of shingles are a Class 3 in impact-resistant. The classes only go up to 4, so we’d say a 3 out of 4 is not bad. Now, if you would like to arm your home with a class 4 shingle, then we suggest the Owens corning duration flex line, which is a higher end dimensional shingle. It is a bit pricier but the top-tier class in shingle options.

We work mostly with Owens Corning products and can attest to the fact that their Duration line of dimensional shingles is able to resist up to 130 miles per hour winds. This makes them extremely suitable to homes in high prone storm areas. Specifically the Northwest and east parts of the country. If there is any damage on a shingle or couple of shingles, then these can be replaced with new ones. These type of shingles do not make it difficult. By removing and adding new shingles to the area of damage should be enough. There is no need to remove the whole layer if the damage is small and easy to contain.


The primary function of your roof is durability, however, we are inclined to say that the aesthetic of your roof is a close second. After all, homeowners are paying top dollar to replace their roofs and in turn, increase their curb appeal. With dimensional shingles, you have a wide and we do mean wide range of colors designs, patterns to choose from. You can pick the same color currently on your roof or branch out and pick more earth tones to green and blue hues.

Additionally, many manufacturers are always updating their color line and adding new colors and color combinations for all types of homes.


Before embarking in any exterior home renovation project, you might want to contact different contractors and compare prices and materials. Its important to have realistic prices in mind, so that there are no surprises down the road. When it comes to these type of shingle installations, do remember that dimensional costs more than regular shingles. Typically, prices range from $5-$8 per square foot. Of course, prices are changing constantly due to material shortages. The sad reality is that due to the coronavirus pandemic and current economical state of the country, prices continue to fluctuate every couple of months.

Also, take into account that this price is for the installation only, other factors that go into the final price include labor, removal of current materials, steepness of roof, etc.

So if you request an estimate now, don’t be surprised if the numbers change down the road in a month or two. Many manufactures are struggling with this and continue to update their customers. We as a general contractor try to inform our customers of these changes as soon as they occur. We also try to explain ahead of time if there are current changes in every estimate we provide.



Dimensional shingle cons


While this was in our pros list, we also have decided to add it to the cons. This is due to the fact that, while asphalt is highly durable, its not the most durably available material option. Other materials like metal and slate are more durable than architectural and a better choice if durability is your number one factor. These also have a longer lifespan and require less maintenance. Hence, they are more expensive, both in price and installation.

Not Environmentally-Friendly

Since these type of shingles are made of asphalt and minerals and go through a rigorous process to make, they are not environmentally-friendly. The more budget friendly price has a drawback, in fact, its estimated that the U.S. wastes close to 20 billion pounds of asphalt shingles year after year. While some roofing contractors have in place a recycling program, not all do. Ask your roofing contractor before starting your project to see if they make the list.

Installation During Certain Times

Shingles require certain weather temperatures for installation. These typically range from 40 degrees to 90 degrees. So fall, summer and spring are the perfect time to replace them. However, what happens if your roof needs an emergency repair during the winter time? Here’s where the problem can come in. If the weather is too extreme, then the shingles installation might nor be properly done. You do not want the adhesive on the back to dry improperly. Plus, if the installers are not too careful, they could cause some damage during installation.

Lastly, its not advisable for installers to be out in extremely cold weather for long periods of time, as this can be a hazard. Wait until the temperature is at least 40 degrees(and hopefully sunny) if you do decide to replace your roof during the winter.Do advice with your chosen roofing contractor beforehand. They will be able to provide more information regarding how the weather affects their installs.

Main Takeaway of Dimensional/Architectural Shingles

To summarize, the pros of dimensional shingles over regular ones are:

  • Additional durability and longer lifespan
  • Heavier and more sturdy in size than other shingles, therefore, less susceptible to damages such as warping, cracking or flying off the roof
  • Class 4 shingle rating
  • Provide a more pleasant aesthetic to your home with numerous colors and blends to choose from
  • Lifespan of 30-40 years, which is longer when comparing to regular shingles
  • Installations can be done on many different types of roof structures and pitch numbers

Some drawbacks of dimensional shingles include:

  • Do cost more than regular asphalt shingles
  • Can be susceptible to algae growth(however, this is a constant in any type of shingle)
  • Can take a little longer than regular shingles to install, due to roofers needing to use 6 nails per shingle instead of 4 nails




Question: Can new shingles be installed over existing ones?

A: Yes,  they can! While we do not recommend this tactic, new shingles can go over existing ones on your roof. Its recommended that if you do decided to install a second layer, to make sure that the current shingles are in good condition as well as the plywood and underlayments. You do not want to install a new layer, then have to remove it if there’s a leak or other type of problem. Check the local building codes before proceeding as well.

Question: Should my roofer use nails or staples for fastening?

A: Oscar Roofing recommends and uses roofing nails for any type of roofing project. This is due to their better quality, durability and holding strength. Prior to installation, ask your roofer their methods and to explain these in detail. Typically, a good quality installation involves using four to six roofing nails per shingle, starting with underlayments and starter strips and placing all items in a straight line.

Question: Can hail storms affect my dimensional shingle?

A: Impact from hail can cause substantial damage. The roof is the first section of your home that comes into contact with the elements. Hail damage that occurs has two main categories: Aesthetic damage and Functional damage.

  • Aesthetic Damage: Occurs when the damage is minimal and does not affect the protective functionality of the shingles. There might be some granule loss and small scratches but overall, the shingle still works as intended.
  • Functional Damage: Is made when the shingle receives enough damage that the hail penetrates the shingle, and there is an opening where water or moisture can get through. This can lead to leaks over time if its not caught in time. It also means that the shingle or multiple shingles need to be replaced with new ones.

Other factors that affect roofing hail damage:

  • The size of the hail and speed at time of impact. Larger hail will cause more damage upon landing.
  • Angle and speed of impact. Hail that lands at a 90 degree angle is likely to cause more damage than hail that falls indirectly or slanted
  • The age of your roof – Newer shingles designs come with enhanced durability in mind. If you have newer shingles, you don’t need to worry about damage.
  • Conditions of decking. Roof decks that are well installed are able to support the roof better, with help from the trusses. However, if there is mold present or uneven support, then the shingles become flimsy and are more likely to become damaged.

Q: What dimensional shingle do you recommend?

A: We recommend and work with the Owens Corning TruDefinition Duration line. As a class 4 shingle, its highly resistant to wind and hailstorm damage. The specifications are as follows:

  • 110-130 miles per hour wind resistant
  • Has the SureNail technology, which adds an additional layer to the shingle
  • 6 nails per shingle installation is a requirement
  • Class 4 impact rating. The highest rating a shingle can have

dimensional shingles gray color

Dimensional shingles and you

Just like any material, these type of shingles have their strengths and weaknesses. As long as your benefits outweigh the costs, then you can be certain that architectural/dimensional shingles are the correct choice for your home. Do make sure that you receive the manufacturers warranty as well as the labor one, just in case. While no one anticipates issues down the road, its always good to know your options. Also, do not forget to ask your contractor all questions or concerns that you may have.

Contact Oscar Roofing and let us hep you decide the best shingle for your brand new roof! We work with all types of shingle materials and provide samples to find your perfect color. Fill out our contact form or give us a call. Our office hours are MON-FRI 8AM-7PM and SAT 8AM-2PM.