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What Are Dimensional Shingles?

In short, dimensional shingles are asphalt shingles with a twist. Dimensional shingles, also known as architectural or laminated shingles, have actually been popular for a number of years, but the question of what they are continues to grow as more stylish, eye-catching options come to market.

3-Tab Vs. Dimensional

We’ll begin with a comparison between 3-Tab Shingles and Dimensional Shingles:

3-Tab / Regular Shingle

Dimension Shingle

Regular (3-tab) asphalt shingles have three regularly spaced asphalt tabs, giving the roofing material a very repetitive pattern. In contrast, dimensional shingles have two layers of shingle material bonded together, giving them a three-dimensional appearance.

Dimensional Shingle Origin

While dimensional shingles have a number of benefits compared to 3-tab shingles, they were created primarily for appearance. They were originally developed in the '70s in response to luxury homeowners seeking a roofing material that looked like cedar shingles but performed like asphalt.

Designer Shingles

Many manufacturers have extended the dimensional shingle concept much further to create countless styles, ranging from Victorian or old world, to rugged and dramatic. A variety of marketing terms are used throughout the roofing industry (depending on manufacturer) to depict designer shingle collections:

Photos courtesy of GAF

You will notice very decorative and ornate shapes, colors and cuts in designer shingles. Many also exhibit additional layers of granules and asphalt.

It’s not uncommon to find other descriptive words that relate to other roofing materials, as manufacturers have tried to modify shingles in a way that simulates the appearance of other, more expensive roof types, including slate, shake & tile.


On average, dimensional shingles run around $3-5 per square foot installed, or about 20% more than 3-tab shingles. Designer shingles average $4-$6 per square foot installed. Please note that these are general averages, and do not include tear off of an existing roof. We recommend getting estimates from 2-3 reputable roofing contractors in your area to best determine the cost of a new dimensional shingle or designer shingle roof for your property.


Like most other roofing products, you’ll find a wide range in lifespan and warranties, and therefore cost, but they usually start at 25-30 years, and 40-50 years isn’t unusual with higher end products. Moreover, dimensional shingles are generally more robust compared to 3-tab shingles. 

Pros of Dimensional Shingles

Because of the double bonded layer, dimensional shingles actually offer more protection from wind and hail — with the heaviest grades able to withstand 130 mph winds. Other benefits include:

Cons of Dimensional Shingles

If you are interested in a more attractive option for your roof, call the professionals at Global Roofing Group. In business for over 40 years, we have extensive experience working with all types of shingle roofing for both residential and commercial properties.

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