Both types, asphalt and architectural shingles are suitable for roofing a properly constructed pitched roof without any further reinforcement. The shingles come in two, three or four tab cutouts in 3 foot strips. Three-tab is the most common for asphalt shingles. The tab cutouts are to mimic the shapes of slate tile or wood shakes. Both types of shingles come in a wide range of colors to match your siding and trim. You can also get specially treated shingles if you live in a damp climate to prevent algae and molds.
Asphalt three-tab roof shingles have layers of asphalt, a base sheeting of fiberglass or felt and covered by mineral granules. In the United States, the three-tab shingle has been the most popular roofing material. They are lightweight, reasonably priced and can last anywhere from 8 to 30 years. The three-tab shingle is relatively easy to install or repair. High quality asphalt shingles can be fairly maintenance free and offer fire and wind resistance.
Architectural shingles or multi thickness asphalt shingles are other terms for laminated asphalt shingles. These shingles have the same material as the tree tab roof shingle but instead of a single shingle layer, two layers are bonded together to create a 3 dimensional appearance. Laminated shingles have wide randomly sized notches to look more like the inconsistencies of a cedar or shake roof.
Laminated shingles are heavier than standard asphalt shingles which gives them improved durability and wind resistance. Although they generally cost more, laminated shingles offer longer 30 to 50 year warranties.
Talking to a roofing professional can help you determine what are the best roofing materials for your home and climate.