5 Best 3-Tab Shingles 2021

When you're shopping around for materials for a new roof, you'll notice that there are multiple types of roofing. The most popular and affordable option is 3-tab asphalt shingles. So what are 3-tab shingles, and which brands are the best to use for your new roof? Keep reading as we look at five of the top 3-tab shingles on the market.

What are 3-tab Shingles?

Before we jump into the best shingle brands, let's discuss the definition and features of a 3-tab shingle. This type of roof covering is one of the most popular choices, with the majority of homes throughout North America having these traditional shingles.

3-tab shingles consist of a 36" long strip with three 12" tabs attached to each piece. These strip shingles have a designated nail zone, allowing the shingles to stay in place on the roof without getting damaged. 

A tar strip at the top of the 3-tab shingle fuses the shingle layers, ensuring a solid grip. The heat from the sun melts the tar, causing the shingles to stick together. 

A lot of people choose 3-tab shingles due to their affordability, but also for the ease of installation. If you're DIYing a new roof install, 3-tab shingles are the easiest to install.

Malarkey Dura-Seal AR

Malarkey has earned the number one best roofing manufacturer due to its high quality and high-performance shingles. But this reputation includes all of Malarkey's product lineup, including 3-tab, architectural (dimensional), and designer shingles. So first and foremost, Malarkey is a premium manufacturer, which you see reflected in the product costs.

In terms of 3-tabs, Malarkey only produces one product - the Dura-Seal AR. But there's plenty to love about this line. This 3-tab shingle consists of a polymer-modified asphalt that makes it highly resistant to storms, including impacts due to the Class 4 impact rating

The polymer and asphalt combination makes this shingle more flexible, reducing tears, cracks, dents, or ripoffs due to wind and hail. There's also five-year algae protection (AR stands for algae-resistant), a 60 mph (70 mph with enhanced installation) wind warranty, and a 25-year warranty against material defects.

Advanced features that set Malarkey apart from the competition include 3M Smog-Reducing granules, which reduce air pollution, a 7-year Sure Start period, and Energy Star CRRC (Cool Roof Rating Council) approved colors. There are eight colors total and one CRRC - Ivory Mist.

The Dura Seal AR has an actual life cycle of 17 to 25 years, depending on whether you do the proper maintenance or don't. 

  • Pricing

The Dura-Seal AR 3-tab shingle will run you $79 to $85 a roofing square (100 square feet - 1 square foot = 12" x 12"). 

Pros

  • Class 4 Impact Resistant
  • 7-year Sure Start period
  • Algae protection
  • Energy Star colors
  • Reduces air pollution

CONs

  • Low color selection
  • Only one 3-tab line
  • Expensive

CertainTeed XT 25 & XT 30

CertainTeed is another brand that can classify as the best of the best, although it falls slightly short of Malarkey for the number one spot. But the fact that CertainTeed offers two lines of 3-tab shingles certainly makes them look better when you need affordable options for new roofing.

If you need a basic, standard performance shingle, the XT 25 is the pick for you. But if you need enhanced protection, like a Class 4 impact rating to protect from debris and hail, go with the XT 30. The XT 30 also has a 70 mph wind rating, whereas the XT 25 has a 60 mph rating.

Both brands are Class A fire-rated, with 10-year StreakFighter algae protection and a limited lifetime warranty with a 5-year SureStart plan. 

You can expect to get 20 to 25 years out of the XT 25 and 25 to 30 years with the XT 30 shingles. However, you may start having to make repairs before then if you live in a climate with significant weather threats (snowstorms, tornadoes, hail storms, humidity, extreme temperatures - hot or cold - or hurricanes). 

The XT25 comes in 9 colors, including one CRRC Energy Star color - Shasta White - whereas the XT 30 is available in 7 colors with no ES colors.

  • Pricing 

CertainTeed is a mid-range priced brand, allowing you to shop on a budget without compromising quality performance and durability. The XT 25 will run you $70 to $85 a square, whereas the XT 30 costs $75 to $90 a square.

Pros

  • 10-year StreakFighter Algae Protection
  • 5-year SureStart plan
  • Basic or Class 4 impact rated
  • XT 25 has an Energy Star color option
  • Two 3-tab choices

CONs

  • Low wind ratings
  • Extreme weather conditions reduce the lifespan
  • Higher price

GAF Royal Sovereign

GAF is one of the most popular roofing brands, with over 25% of US homes using a GAF roof. They're also the world's largest roofing manufacturers, offering the largest selection of products compared to other competitors. 

In terms of 3-tab shingles, GAF's main product line is the Royal Sovereign, a superior option with a high wind rating of 110 to 130 mph, available in 9 colors. In addition, a Micro Weave core reduces cracks and splits, giving the shingles a longer lifespan and a Class A fire rating. You also get a limited 25-year warranty.

Another 3-tab option by GAF is the Marquis WeatherMax, which may not be available in all areas. This premium 3-tab also has a Micro Weave core, with a lower wind rating of 80 mph, three color choices, and a 30-year warranty. 

  • Pricing 

If you pick the Royal Sovereign, you'll pay $75 to $96 a square, with installation costs of $300 to $350. The Marquis WeatherMax runs between $44 and $62 a bundle (one bundle = 33.3 sq ft).

Pros

  • 25/30-year warranty
  • Micro Weave core
  • High wind rating
  • Class A fire rating
  • Multiple color choices

CONs

  • Marquis WeatherMax has poorer performance against severe storms and high winds
  • WeatherMax has fewer color choices
  • Warranty is limited

Owens Corning Supreme

Owens Corning is another top brand for asphalt shingles. The Supreme is Owens Corning's 3-tab line, an affordable asphalt shingle available in 13 dynamic colors.

You also get 10-year algae protection and a 25-year limited lifetime warranty. However, this line only has a 60 mph wind rating. So if you live in a location with extreme weather, the Supreme might not offer the protection and durability you'd need in a long-lasting roof.

If you're on a tight budget and need a basic-looking roof, the Owens Corning Supreme 3-tab shingle could be the right choice for your home.

  • Pricing 

Owens Corning Supreme line runs from $75 to $90 per roofing square. Owens Corning is a budget-friendly, basic 3-tab roofing solution that can meet most homeowners' budgets.

Pros

  • 13 color choices
  • 10-year algae protection
  • Limited lifetime warranty
  • Affordable
  • Reputable brand

CONs

  • Low wind rating
  • Minimal visual aesthetic
  • Not extreme weather resistant

Tamko Elite Glass-Seal

Almost all the colors of these two product lines are black, gray and brown. But Legend's five colors are dark, while Glassmaster's 10 colors range from dark to light.

For Legend Line, we recommend Hearthstone Gray and Weathered Wood, which are very elegant colors. For GlassMaster line, the browns provided in this line are a good choice of roof colors, suitable for a rustic style house, which can create a very warm atmosphere.

  • Pricing 

Tamko's Elite Glass-Seal 3-tab asphalt shingles cost $72 to $77 a square, making them an affordable solution for shopping on a budget.

Pros

  • 11 color choices
  • 10-year algae protection
  • 25-year limited warranty
  • Affordable

CONs

  • Low wind rating
  • No algae protection
  • Not extreme weather resistant

Installation Costs by Brand

The graph below demonstrates the installation and purchase costs of these five brands, including labor and materials. In addition, many of these brands offer experienced roofing contractors who have brand certifications. These installers cost more, but they often qualify you for manufacturer warranties.

Brand

Cost per square

Cost for installation per square

Malarkey Dura-Seal AR

$79 to $85

$200 to $350

CertainTeed XT 25/XT 30

$70 to $85

$300 to $450

GAF Royal Sovereign

$75 to $96

$200 to $250

Owens Corning Supreme

$75 to $90

$200 to $400

Tamko Elite Glass-Seal

$72 to $77

$200 to $300

In Closing

When you're shopping for a new roof on a budget, 3-tab shingles are the best choice. These affordable shingles offer moderate protection and curb appeal to your home. And they're easy to DIY install if you want to avoid the fees of a contractor. CertainTeed and Tamko offer the most affordable shingles but if you need impact resistance and wind protection, go with Malarkey or Certainteed XT 30.

Leave a Comment