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Types of Residential Roofing

Shingles & Their

Advantages & Disadvantages


The most common types of roof shingles and products used in St. Albert and Edmonton include Asphalt 3 Tab shingles, Architectural shingles, and Cedar shakes (wood shingles). The following describes their qualities as well as their advantages and disadvantages.







































Example IKO Asphalt 3 Tab Shingle: Marathon Earthtone


Asphalt 3 Tab Shingles (A3T) are the most common type of home shingle in Alberta, although Architectural shingles are becoming more popular, especially here in St. Albert. If asked to visual what a shingle looks like, you would probably think of an A3T shingle. As its name implies, an A3T shingle is mainly composed of asphalt and is similar to the oil-based product used on our roads. It also typically contains mineral granules, organic felt, and other materials. A3T shingles are easy to identify on roofs, primarily because they lay flat on roof decks and look very ordered and even. 


These shingles are known as “3-Tab” because each shingle is comprised of three (3), twelve (12) inch wide tabs or flaps. This staggered design helps transfer water to the shingles below it. A3T shingles have proven to be an effective defense against rain, snow, and wind for decades.


Depending on the shingle line, warranties can last even twenty-five (25) years. However, given our area's winter climate, A3T shingles typically offer fifteen (15) to twenty years (20) of warranty protection.


Finally, A3T shingles offer a vast range of colours or dye lots. Even if you are considering an obscure colour, there is bound to be an A3T shingle that will meet your exact needs.

1) Asphalt 3 Tab Shingles

2) Architectural Shingles

Paramount Roofing offers a wide range of asphalt, architectural, and cedar shingles that can meet any budget.

To request an estimate, click on the image above. It will lead you to a short form. You can also phone 780.455.0008 or e-mail us. 

Click on the image above or here to access links to our suppliers. You can use their online software to "visualize" how their shingles will look on your new roof.

Example IKO Architectural Shingle: Cambridge Dual Grey


While definitions differ, Architectural shingles are essentially high-end asphalt shingles offering homeowners added benefits. Unlike “flat” A3T shingles, Architectural shingles appear 3-dimensional, more textured, and thicker. Architectural shingles can, for example, mimic the look of slate, clay tiles, and even cedar shakes.


They are typically comprised of fibreglass and asphalt shingle strips that are laminated together. This process gives Architectural shingles unique textures and looks. The tabs widths also vary by design and have slightly different shades of colours. This also gives the shingle a more “dimensional” or 3-D appearance.


Architectural shingles are overtaking A3T in popularity for many reasons. First, they are more rugged and durable, and last much longer than A3Ts even in tough winter conditions. Second, depending on specific shingle product and weather conditions (e.g. snow), warranties range between 20-35 years. Third, unlike A3T shingles, Architectural shingles help hide any imperfections on the roof deck. Finally, they look much more attractive on roofs and typically increase a home’s value (the effect is quite striking). 

3) Cedar Shakes

Example Waldun Cedar Shakes: Split Cedar


Cedar shakes are tapered shingles made from the wood of the cedar tree. Most Cedar shakes are sourced from cedar trees grown on BC’s coast and parts of the interior. They are arguably the best cedar products in the world due to BC’s unique climate and the rate of cedar growth. While there are other types of wood shingles (e.g. pine), cedar shakes dominate the North American market.


These shingles come in a variety of grades and styles. However, they can be generally categorized into two groups. The first group, “Split & Re-sawn Cedar Shakes”, are “split” or rough looking on one side and “sawn” or smooth on the other side (the “split” side is the visible side). These shakes appear very rustic, as the split follows the natural grain of the wood.


The other group, “Taper-Sawn Cedar Shakes,” are produced by running a 24”-long block of cedar through a band saw only. The result is a tailored looking shake as both sides are smooth and flat lying with the butt and the sides trimmed square and uniform.


Cedar shakes, especially on heritage-themed homes (Victorian, Cape Cod, Tudor, etc.), look stunning, and add to a home’s value. At the same time, they do an outstanding job protecting roofs and can last for as long as 40 years. Cedar shakes can also be treated with fire retardants that reduce risks. Their only drawbacks are that they are more expensive than A3T and Architectural shingles, and offer limited design options.


Note: for a more detailed discussion of Cedar Shakes, please follow this link.

Types of Residential Roofing Shingles: Advantages and Disadvantages

Asphalt 3 Tab Shingles



  • Generally, the least expensive shingle option (e.g. for those with a limited budget)


  • Effective, proven roof protection


  • Require little maintenance


  • Available in many quality grades and colours


  • Fire resistant


  • Can be used on a variety of roof grades (angles)


  • Easy to install


  • Some product lines can be re-cycled



  • Lower lifespan than other roof products


  • Shorter warranty coverage (15-25 years)


  • Are vulnerable during extreme, high winds


  • Somewhat dated technology and look


  • Only offer one shingle tab size and shape


  • Do not add the same value to your home as Architectural or Cedar shakes do (are considered more attractive)


  • Do not hide minor imperfections on a roof deck (e.g. if roof boards are slightly warped / have small bumps)

Architectural Shingles



  • Better looking than A3T shingles and add value to a home


  • Very effective roof protection


  • Heavier and more durable than A3T


  • Offer much longer warranty protection period


  • Extensive range of shingle designs and colour options


  • Highly fire resistant


  • More wind resistant than A3T during intense storms


  • Dimensional and hides imperfections on the roof deck


  • Easier to install on complex roofs (e.g.  Heritage-designed homes with gables, turrets, dormer windows, etc.)





  • More expensive than A3T shingles


  • Cannot be re-cycled


  • Not recommended for “low-sloped” roofs (e.g. fairly flat roofs)

Cedar Shakes



  • Very attractive, high-end product


  • Adds to a home’s value


  • Offer much longer warranties than A3T shingles


  • Properly maintained Cedar roofs can last for decades


  • Durable and fairly easy to install


  • Dimensional and hides imperfections on the roof deck


  • Can be treated with fire retardant


  • Some lines can be recycled



  • More expensive than A3T & Architectural shingles


  • Highly flammable unless treated with fire retardant (common treatment)


  • Require regular maintenance


  • Certain types can rot and decay over time


  • In areas with intense, long-lasting sunlight, Cedar shingles can crack



Call Paramount for a free consultation or estimate at 780.455.0008. You can also complete our short Request an Estimate form or e-mail us. We look forward to hearing from you. Thank you!

Click on the image above or here to access links to our suppliers. You can use their online software to "visualize" how their shingles will look on your new roof.

Paramount Link Graphic to BBB Review.jpe
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