What are Architectural Roofing Shingles?

In recent years, enhancements to the dimensional shingle have resulted in a new generation of high-quality asphalt roofing products with distinctive, often dramatic, appearances. With these advancements came a new name: architectural roofing shingles. Also known as laminated or dimensional shingles, architectural roofing shingles are among the highest quality roofing products made.


Traditionally, they are composed of a heavy fiber glass mat base and ceramic-coated mineral granules that are tightly embedded in carefully refined, water-resistant asphalt. Recently, however, a new product has surfaced on the market, synthetic slate. Synthetic slate (such as CertainTeed’s Symphony Slate) is an innovative roofing product that simulates the appearance, texture and contours of traditional natural slate. It is a carefully engineered polymer composite roofing product that is formulated for beauty, durability and handling.

 Architectural roofing shingles provide a stunning three-dimensional appearance. Some of the most attractive architectural roofing shingles simulate cedar wood shakes (such as CertainTeed’s Presidential Shake TL and Presidential Shake shingles). These shingles are quite thick with random slots similar to real shakes. Another unique architectural shingle design imitates the look of slate (such as CertainTeed’s Symphony Slate, Grand Manor, Centennial Slate or Carriage House shingles) without the weight issues that normally accompany those materials. These architectural roofing shingles do not require any additional roof support as slate would.

 The products' random colors and textures better accent steep roof planes, turrets, and gables features of roofs. Many product lines offer hip and ridge pieces (such as CertainTeed’s Shangle Ridge, Shadow Ridge and Presidential Ridge) that highlight a roof's many sections and complement the shingle. New trends extend beyond mimicking the look of natural products. While colors like resawn shake and weathered wood are top sellers for CertainTeed, homeowners increasingly are turning to darker greens or terra-cotta tones.

 Because of their extra thickness, architectural roofing shingles weigh considerably more than conventional asphalt-based shingles and have longer warranties. Weights run up to about 480 pounds per square (100 square feet of roof area) and can carry up to a lifetime warranty.

 Besides offering a surplus of good looks, most asphalt architectural shingle products have a design feature that helps prevent a common aesthetic problem: black streaks caused by algae. This is commonly seen on roofing shingles in areas with high humidity and rainfall totals. Algae-resistant shingles are coated with copper or zinc granules, which leach over time, inhibiting algae growth.

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