How to Install Architectural Shingles

Installing architectural shingles can significantly enhance the appearance of your home’s roof. Unlike regular flat asphalt or composite shingles, architectural shingles have a thicker and more textured profile, creating a distinctive look even from a distance. In this blog, we’ll show you step-by-step procedures on how to install architectural shingles.

When installing architectural shingles, it’s crucial to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and local building codes. Proper installation ensures the shingles perform effectively and enhance your home’s overall aesthetic. Start by stripping the old roof down to the sheathing, as most warranties require this step. By choosing architectural shingles and installing them correctly, you can give your home a unique and appealing roofing system.

What Are Architectural Shingles?

Traditional three-tab asphalt or composite shingles are a popular, affordable, and durable roofing option. They are commonly used on many roofs and can last up to 30 years. While these shingles have a limited design, they do come in various colors to suit different preferences.

Compared to traditional shingles, these composite shingles are heavier and thicker. They are best suited for steeply sloped roofs where they are more visible. Additionally, they are an excellent choice for homes with a traditional and classic appearance. Their practicality and durability make them a reliable option for roofing needs.

Architectural Shingles Appearance

Architectural shingles have a higher profile, giving them a varied texture and creating dramatic shadows. The larger the shadow, the more striking the effect, although they can encourage additional growth on some surfaces.

These shingles serve as a substitute for slate or cedar shake shingles. Cedar shakes can be a fire hazard and lack durability, while slate is costly to buy and install and requires extra roof support due to its heaviness.

Architectural shingles, unlike cedar shakes, are more durable and fireproof because they contain no wood. Slate-look architectural shingles can be installed by most roofing contractors without the need for extra roof support.

While architectural shingles weigh slightly more than composite shingles (around 200 pounds per square foot compared to 240 pounds of composite), they are much lighter than real slate, which can weigh between 675 and 1,870 pounds for 100 square feet. This makes them a practical and attractive choice for various roofing needs.

Architectural Shingles Composition

Architectural shingles have a layered structure with a heavy fiberglass mat at the base, providing structural reinforcement and increased tear strength. On top of this base, ceramic-coated granules and mineral granules are added. These granules can be mixed with asphalt and embedded, and in some cases, recycled tires and plastics are used to make architectural shingles.


Simulating wood or slate: Architectural shingles can mimic the appearance of wood or slate, adding a high-quality look to your roof.

Dramatic effect: They create more shadows, resulting in a visually striking and dramatic effect on your roof.

Increased home value: Using premium shingles enhances the value of your home.


Higher cost: Architectural shingles are more expensive than standard composite shingles, which can impact your budget.

Limited options: There are fewer choices available compared to other roofing materials.

Moss growth: The shadows created by architectural shingles can cause moss to grow more quickly on the roof.

What You’ll Need

Equipment and Tools


How to Install Architectural Shingles

Before you start installing architectural shingles, it’s important to consider the following key points. Please consult the product instructions for detailed information and be sure to check your local building codes. Additionally, keep in mind that you might need a permit before proceeding with the installation.

Install Eave Flashing or Ice Dam Protection

Install rubber flashing along the lower 24 inches of the roofline in areas prone to snow and ice. This helps protect your roof from damage caused by ice dams. It’s essential because local building codes might require flashing, even in places where freezing is not common.

Install the Underlayment

Install the underlayment at the edge of the roof and work your way up to the ridge. Each row should overlap by 2 inches, and the sides should overlap by 4 inches. Use a few fasteners to secure the underlayment for the next stage. Apply one layer of underlayment along the eaves metal drip edge.

Fasten Shingles

To fasten the shingles, begin at the roof edge and create rows that go upwards to the roof ridge. For slopes with regular pitches, architectural shingles usually require four nails in a specific pattern. However, if the slopes are steeper, like a 60-degree slope, you might need to use six fasteners and asphalt roof cement.

Most manufacturers will require a starter strip beneath the first row of shingles. 

TIP: It’s important to use stainless steel or aluminum nails with a minimum 12-gauge shank and a 3/8-inch diameter. The fasteners must be able to penetrate the wood deck beneath the shingles by at least 3/4 inch. Following these guidelines ensures the proper installation of architectural shingles on your roof.

Safety Considerations

Safety is crucial when installing or accessing a roof. Roofs can be slippery, especially when wet or frozen. To stay safe, wear rubber-soled footwear, use a fall prevention system, and secure all roof materials. It’s also advisable to hire a professional roof contractor if you’re not experienced in roofing work. Taking these precautions ensures your safety while working on or near the roof.

Enhance Your Roof with All Star Roofing: Your Trusted Partner in Tampa!

Thank you for exploring the essential aspects of architectural shingles and their installation process with All Star Roofing in Tampa. With our expert guidance, you can transform your roof into a durable, visually appealing masterpiece. We understand the significance of a well-installed roof, ensuring your home stands strong and secure against various elements.

Choose All Star Roofing in Tampa for top-notch architectural shingle installations. Call us now for a free estimate!

Other Services We Offer