Asphalt shingles are the most popular roofing material in Baltimore, and for good reason. They offer durability, affordability, and a wide range of styles and colors to suit various architectural designs. When it comes to asphalt shingles, there are three main types to choose from: 3-tab shingles, dimensional shingles, and luxury shingles. In this article, we'll explore the characteristics, benefits, and drawbacks of each type to help you make an informed decision for your roofing project.

3-Tab Asphalt Shingles

3-tab shingles, also known as strip shingles, are the most basic and economical type of asphalt shingle. They are named for the three uniform tabs that are cut into the lower edge of each shingle, giving the roof a flat, uniform appearance. 3-tab shingles are typically thinner and lighter than other asphalt shingle types, making them easier to install and more affordable.


  • Lower cost compared to other asphalt shingle types

  • Lightweight and easy to install

  • Classic, uniform appearance


  • Shorter lifespan (typically 20-25 years)

  • Less dimensional appearance compared to other options

  • More susceptible to wind uplift and damage

Dimensional Asphalt Shingles

Dimensional shingles, also called architectural or laminate shingles, are the most common type of asphalt shingle used in residential roofing today. These shingles are made with two or more layers of asphalt-coated material, giving them a thicker, more substantial look. The multi-layered design creates a three-dimensional appearance, adding depth and shadow lines to the roof.


  • Enhanced aesthetic appeal with a more dimensional look

  • Longer lifespan (typically 30-50 years)

  • Better resistance to wind uplift and damage

  • Wide variety of colors and styles available


  • Higher cost compared to 3-tab shingles

  • Heavier and more complex to install

Luxury Asphalt Shingles

Luxury shingles, also referred to as premium or designer shingles, are the highest-end asphalt shingle option. These shingles are designed to mimic the look of natural slate, cedar shake, or tile roofs while providing the benefits of asphalt shingles. Luxury shingles are typically thicker and heavier than dimensional shingles, offering superior durability and a more distinctive, upscale appearance.


  • Most attractive and realistic look, mimicking premium roofing materials

  • Longest lifespan (often 50 years or more)

  • Excellent resistance to wind, hail, and other weather-related damage

  • Unique designs and color blends for a custom look


  • Highest cost among asphalt shingle options

  • Heaviest and most complex to install, requiring experienced professionals

Choosing the Right Asphalt Shingle for Your Home

When selecting the type of asphalt shingle for your roof, consider factors such as your budget, desired aesthetic, and the climate in your area. 3-tab shingles are a cost-effective option for those looking for a classic, uniform look. Dimensional shingles offer a balance of affordability and enhanced appearance, making them a popular choice for many homeowners. Luxury shingles provide the most distinctive and upscale look but come with a higher price tag.

Regardless of the type you choose, it's essential to work with a reputable roofing contractor who has experience installing the specific asphalt shingle type you select. Proper installation is crucial to ensure your roof's longevity, performance, and warranty coverage.


Asphalt shingles are a versatile and reliable roofing option, with three main types to choose from: 3-tab, dimensional, and luxury. By understanding the characteristics, benefits, and drawbacks of each type, you can make an informed decision that best suits your home's aesthetic, budget, and performance requirements. With the right asphalt shingle and professional installation, you can enjoy a beautiful, protective roof for decades to come.