HOA guidelines, 3-tab vs architectural

Hi, I’m looking for professional guidance on the merits of architectural versus 3-tab shingles, and any other opinions that might be offered.
I’m a board member for a small, 30+ yr old community with identical facades / colors and 3-tab shingled roofs. In the last two years we have denied 3 requests for reroofing w/architectural shingles and had 1 homeowner replace unapproved architectural shingles. Now we have 2 more unapproved architectural shingle installations! The board is trying to decide whether to start allowing architectural shingles.
Advantages cited by homeowners are better warranties and wind gust resistance.

  1. What’s your experience with warranty claims? (I look at them more as just marketing, am I too cynical?)
  2. The highest wind gust recorded anywhere near here was 78mph during a rare hurricane (central MD). Has anyone seen 1st hand a comparison of wind damage to 3-tab vs architectural for properly installed roofs about the same age? What were the conditions?
  3. The cost difference for products/installations I compared is not that large.
    It’s also been mentioned there’s an insurance advantage but I made a bunch of phone calls and no carriers offered a discount for architectural shingles – just when upgraded for impact resistant for hail.
  4. Do you think any advantage might just be the insurance company’s due to lower damage claims?

Aesthetically, on a single home, the architectural shingles win. But our roofs are fairly visible and a mix of products will persist for decades because we don’t have the authority to require compliance to a changed guideline. There is also some concern that the property value of homes with 3-tab will suffer compared to architectural.
And then … it’s been a challenge to maintain a degree of uniformity in the community just with 3-tab where color was essentially the only variable. There are so many more “style” options with architectural, my head hurts.
What to do?
Info and thoughts appreciated!!!

HOA’s are demon spawn. That said in my area at least, 3-tabs are getting harder to find and many roofing comps actually charge more labor to install them.

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Why must you control everything?


At minimum, allow dimensional. I personally would never buy a house where the HOA was so stupid of construction to limit the owners to 3 tab shingles. Much heavier, more hail resistant and 40 mph better wind rating. And the obvious aesthetic difference.

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Is dimensional just another name for architectural? Or is there a difference I haven’t figured out? Is laminate another category? Or all same?
Why is a heavier shingle a better shingle?
Does the higher wind rating hold true if the installation isn’t top notch?

Dimensions, architectural and laminate are just different terms for the same product. They are the new standard of the shingle industry. Performance based once you get past the smoke and mirrors they don’t perform much better than the 3 tab (other than the wind resistance). But they need to be installed by a good roofer installing the nails in the right place (not a manic nailing as fast as possible) to get the extra wind resistance.

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My community is not high $ homes but the resident owners work hard to maintain their properties. We have an increasing number of absentee owners for whom maintenance is NOT a priority. The HOA is able to limit their impact on our property values by enforcing the covenants but we need to do this in a consistent and fair manner. There needs to be value to all homeowners for rule changes and as an engineer I’m looking for data to guide our decision.

Thank you.
When we disapproved the 1st request for architectural, a former board member with some construction background was dead-set against, for basically the reasons you stated.
If it is time to update our rules to the new “standard”, do you have any advice for our specifications (manufacturer/product)?

You could ask 10 different contractors their manufacturer preference and get 10 different answers. I think really all you can do is designate the closest matching color in the respective brand.

You’re an engineer and on the HOA board in charge of roof approvals and don’t know why architectural is better than three tab? That is a prime example of American homeowners and Americans in general, being ordered around by people who don’t know their ass from their elbow. Sorry to use you for an example but you seem like the epitome of our know nothing legislators.


Architectural shingles have been the standard of the industry for many years. 3- tabs are rarely used anymore, and the roofers nowadays probably couldn’t install a decent running bond.

I have 15 roofers and I would guess one at most knows how to cut a book. It’s been at least 30 years since I had to but…5 5/8”, 11 1/4”, 16 7/8”. Oh yeah, and flip the little piece to the gable.

Yeah, EE by education (many years ago) and no construction experience. The four other volunteer homeowner/board members have a variety of backgrounds. Our neighbors count on us to make sure their modest dues keep the grass cut, the snow shoveled, and the covenants enforced.

Thanks, that’s helpful information. Whatever a running bond might be :wink:

And no personal offense meant towards you. I am also on a HOA board for a property we own overseas so I do see the necessity.

3-tabs are typically offset, with the cutouts 6" OC. With a 36" shingle miscut 1/16" each, the pattern can wander 1/2" in 24’ or 8 shingles…not pleasant to the eye.

Wow. My brothers did a DIY job on our parents’ garage roof some years back. Now I have the right words to describe the bad result. But the price was right.

You might be surprised how smart “stupid roofers” have to be at times! : D


“I’m” not surprised! I found this board, signed up, and posted for benefit of the first-hand knowledge and experience I saw in other topics. I’ve only replaced 3-tab once @ about 25 years despite owning homes in 5 states over the last 45. Didn’t expect “snark” but I blame my communication skills.
3-tab availability and installation experience are definitely factors for our decision.
I’m still hoping for some input on:

  • Warranty claims? Any? 3-tab vs architectural? Are some manufacturers generally better than others (if that’s a question anyone is willing to answer here.)
  • Insurance claims? Are homeowner’s in about the same position after damage with either type of shingle?

As with any warranted product in the US, lawyers have written them so tight that the warranty is basically worthless. Insurance only replaces what is there. When I was doing residential, I charged pretty close to the same for both, due to the extra time to install 3 tabs vs higher price of architecturals. Go with the better shingle brands. GAF is considered garbage. As far as communication skills, I cut you slack when you mentioned you were an engineer! : P