There is a large selection of asphalt shingles on the market. Here we will go over the most popular types from lowest to highest value. The cheapest asphalt shingles is the three tab. Aptly named for having three tabs per shingle, the three tab is also the oldest type of asphalt shingle still on the market. Although they can still be seen covering roofs of mainly older houses, three tabs are barely ever installed anymore. Their design makes them especially susceptible to wind damage and their tolerance to hail is not great either. Even though the price is low, White Roofing does not recommend installing new three tabs roofs, because of their low quality.
The step up from three tabs is the 30 year dimensional shingle. This is the most popular shingle on the market and is not that much more expensive than the three tab. The benefits are great though as the dimensional shingle stands up far better to wind and hail. The 30 year dimensional asphalt has a dimensional appearance as well, making for a better looking finished product. Similar to the 30 year dimensional is the 50 year or Lifetime (depending on the brand) dimensional shingle. These shingles are a bit thicker than the 30 year, they can come in more exciting color options and are proportionately more expensive.
Lastly are the shake style or designer asphalt shingles. Don’t be mistaken, these asphalt shingles do not really look like wood shakes. They do have their own specific appearance which is more staggered and fancy looking than the regular dimensionals. These shingles come in double-ply and triple-ply options making them twice or three times as thick as a 30 year dimensional. The price tag on these shingles is also far greater than dimensionals. Often times in more upscale areas, this is the only type of asphalt roofing allowed by architectural committees and HOA’s. Below are links to the different shingle options so you can see them for yourself.
30 year dimensionals: http://tamko.com/ResidentialRoofing/LaminatedAsphalt/Heritage
50 year/lifetime dimesionals: http://www.gaf.com/Roofing/Residential/Products/Shingles/Timberline/Ultra_High_Definition