What are the main differences between 3-tab shingles and architectural shingles?

3-tab shingles are a single layer of material with tabs cut into the lower section. This design is susceptible to wind damage and nail pull through. The tabs are light weight and if they don’t seal well the wind can lift the tabs and break them off or the entire shingle can lift tearing at the nail line leaving the nails in the roof. The cost difference between 3-tab shingles and laminated or dimensional shingles is nominal and most supply companies don’t actively stock them so they are hard to find.

In contrast architectural or laminated shingles are a solid sheet of material with a second layer of cut tabs laminated to the first. This creates two layers of material at the nail line which is much less likely to have pull through issues, in addition the solid bottom layer is now heavier and is going to be harder for the wind to lift it and damage it. The design of architectural shingles makes it easier to install and hide slight imperfections in the roof deck. 3-tab shingles are very uniform in shape and it is more difficult to compensate for roofs that are slightly out of square.

T-lock shingles on the other hand have been discontinued and it is very difficult to find replacements. Occasionally you can find them on Ebay or Craigslist. The best way to repair a T-lock shingled roof is to have it replaced, typically this will be covered by insurance. However, if that is not a possibility then your second best option is to find rolled roofing once called 90 lb. Remove an undamaged shingle from the roof and use this as a pattern to cut new shingles from the rolled roofing. Once you have the cut shingles you can use these to replace the missing or damaged ones. This is not an easy or fun task but if you only need a few shingles this is your best alternative.
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