Question for contractors about potential issues


All tabbed shingles need to be installed with vertical and horizontal lines in order to keep the key ways straight. Certainteed for example allowed 3 tabs to be racked or staggered, but for the higher end tabbed shingles, grand manor, carriage house, Belmont, racking is the only recommended method of installation. I have seen many jobs look horrible from the installer not racking the shingles.

There are a lot of very experienced people on this forum. As long as 3 tab shingles have been around 60-70 +Years? Racking was the recommended and preferred method of installation for a quality job. It was not until dimensional came around that staggering shingles came to be. Maybe you do have a brand of 3 tab that requires to be staggered, but I have personally never seen that. In my opinion Grand Manor is one of the best, if not the best asphault shingles on the market and I would never think of installing them any other method than snapping vertical lines on the roof and racking the shingles.


Majority of the 3 tan installs used to be done with racking. But they were also almost all single color without shading. So a black or gray or green roof looked fine. But today’s shading of granules have to be considered when choosing how to install. That’s why manufacturers put there requirements on every bundle instructions.


Most of the guys replying to this thread are highly experienced in all many types of roofing other than just shingles, metal, slate, cedar, tile, composites so we do know about following directions.

I have personally never seen a brand of 3 tabs that require to be staggered. We also haven’t sold a 3 tab roof in over 5 years. There is more labor involved to install an inferior product that shows any defects in the structure, so our “cheap” shingle is a landmark.


Not trying to be rude but you literally don’t like anyone’s answers unless it’s what you think… So I’m confused why your asking if you did it for 10 years and made a lot more money somewhere else why put 3tabs? Lol they don’t even sell those in the northeast anymore


The only way to avoid visual problems with shingles that have color shading issues is to shuffle shingles together from all bundles on the roof. This is a major pita and shouldn’t be an installers problem although bundles can be checked for same lot# or date code before hand to avoid potential problems. Its also very difficult to notice color shading issues while on the roof. Usually only noticable from the ground. Stair stepping the shingles in question here would only result in a noticable diagonal pattern running across the roof.


Malarkey Alaskans aren’t supposed to be racked.

They are a premium product and treated as such, we go through to pains to step them and keep them vertically aligned.

Excluding the laminated 3-tab Independence all other 3-tabs get racked.

I thought the picture looked like Nickel grey Royal Sovereigns but wasn’t sure.


Can’t get malarkey unfortiantly so wouldn know. This topic is like a throwback in time. Haven’t put independence on in like 15 years didn’t even know they still made them.


Your not rude. It’s not that I want like minded answers. It’s that at first no one could see anything wrong with the shingles, then with each counter, the issues could be seen but there was another excuse why it’s acceptable. Then ending up with “well I wouldn’t have used those inferior ones anyway because they show issues”.
It’s your group as a whole that appears offended if someone questions a roofer. Your pre disposed to defend another industry worker. Rather than being honest in the first place.


Lol ok…it looks like shit, that’s what Happens when you use cheap singles and unskilled roofer.


The very first response to your post was the right answer.

Keep in mind the answers you are receiving are from people who do this for a living and in their spare time answer questions like this as a general service to the Nationwide Community.

The knowledge here has required decades for the community to accumulate and it is mostly first hand knowledge & experience.

Take it for what it is worth.


Axiom is getting all calm ,collected and PC in his older age… hahaha


3tabs get racked, they don’t look as nice as laminates, but suit some styles of home.
3tabs should not be stepped If you want to maintain the half tab offset verticle orientation.
If you want the random tab look stepping is fine.


IIRC BP had a highly patterned three-tab (I want to say Mirage but I think that was an actual laminate) that required you to step them out as well. I think maybe you were even supposed to install them in the exact order they came out of the bundle.

It was cosmetic though – if installed per manufacturers directions they had quite a nice textured look, almost like laminates; if not they worked fine but looked kind of funky. This was just around the transition period of 3-tab to laminate, maybe 15-20 years ago – no idea if they are still available, but the photo does look kind of similar to what happened if you disobeyed directions on these.

Personally I can install 3-tab with straight keylines either way – you still need to snap (vertical) lines to start your stagger, the “half-tab” notches are not that dimensionally correct. I find staggered a bit faster most of the time, but there are certainly situations where racking works better. Fastest of all, but considered lazy on my crew, would be the ~5.5" offset stagger based on your hatchet gauge – I will confess to haveing done this sometimes, especially on big hip roofs as an alternative to starting in the middle and racking both ways.

It’s been quite a while, but my memory is that OP is not necessarily wrong about the manufacturers directions; in most cases if you read the label a staggered (straight tab or offset) installation is what is described.

@john2 – do you know the manufacturer of these specific shingles? If you actually want to convince the roofer to do something about this, looking at the manufacturers directions for that particular product is going to be a necessary first step.


The contractor in this situation did basically the same as most of these replies when confronted with the dissatisfaction of the homeowner. Dug in his heels on the belief that only dimensional shingles get installed offset and all 3tab get racking. Even after they were shown manufacturer instructions on bundle.
In honesty, that was my view until I saw this incident and did research. But I’m not in building trade anymore to keep up with codes and trends.


Which manufacturer? You’ve been asked many times and have yet to answer.


Yeah this is kind of important – sometimes there are bulletins etc from the manufacturer that don’t match the bundle directions.



Manufacturer would further identify geographical location and I would prefer the anonymity for possibility of contractor interference.


Don’t see how I can help you much more then – also not really aware of too many shingle manufacturers without more/less nationwide availability, but whatever.

The answer is that any of the three application methods I described are fine (if done right) so far as roof function is concerned – I have seen situations where racking can be a cosmetic issue, but without knowing the manufacturer wouldn’t know whether this is the case here.

That’s 20y direct roofing experience – I’ve been hands on and/or run crew from hatchets & handnails to present day, and installed miles of three-tab from most major brands. Very limited market nowadays though – some suppliers are even refusing to stock 3-tab in favour of snap-caps and starter strips exclusively.


Thanks for everyone’s answers. Weather they were adversarial or not. They were all needed.


Any one who uses 2 different shingle batch run numbers on the same roof is not a professional roofer. THAT is roofing 101, anyone who does not know that is an amature.