The roofing material we all see the most of these days — the one that covers the roofs of a great majority of houses across America — is the standard three-tab asphalt shingle. One of the least-expensive roofing options, asphalt shingles are available in a dozen or so different colors both solid and blended. The shingle products being made today are usually guaranteed for 20, or in some cases 30 years, making them an excellent value. Value is the principal advantage of this roofing material, which explains it's commonality. The disadvantage, however, if there could be said to be one, is the fact that it is so common. The next upgrade from a standard three-tab is a thicker variation called an architectural shingle. These shingles are built up to be about twice as thick as a normal shingle with the layers staggered to give them a heavier, more substantial or "architectural" look. In some colors they resemble slate, and in other colors wood shakes. With only a modest upgrade in cost and up to a 30-year guarantee, architectural shingles also represent an excellent value with an added touch of style.