How Long Do Asphalt Shingles Last?

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Putting up or replacing a roof is an expensive and time-consuming project. After seeing the cost, you may be left wondering how long before you have to do it all again. Luckily, most manufacturers seem to be in close agreement as to how long asphalt shingles, one of the most common roofing materials, last.

In general, asphalt shingles can be expected to last approximately 20 years. Of course, your individual mileage may vary. The factors affecting your shingles can include:

  • Type of shingle
  • Climate
  • Existing roof system

However, 20 years is a good estimate. Most leading manufacturers offer at least a 20-year warranty for their asphalt shingles. But if you still have more questions about the longevity of asphalt shingles, don’t fret. We’ll cover that and more, just keep reading!

Asphalt Shingles on a Hip Roof, How Long Do Asphalt Shingles Last?

Factors That Affect The Longevity Of Asphalt Shingles

In this section, we’ll delve deeper into the factors that can determine how long asphalt shingles last.

Roof line with asphalt shingles, colored brick house

Type Of Shingle

Keep in mind that some areas, because of the weather they experience, have explicit building code regulations regarding the kind of shingles you can use. In Florida, 3 tab shingles are uncommon because they simply can’t meet the wind requirements written in Florida’s building code. Make sure you are familiar with any laws or restrictions in your area that you may need to consider.

Asphalt shingles are not all the same. All asphalt shingles have an asphalt exterior. Other than that, shingles come in a variety of dimensions. They can have a base made from fiberglass or organic material. There are 3 different basic types of asphalt shingles:

3-Tab

3-tab shingles are the most affordable kind. They are flat with virtually no dimension to them. They come in a uniform size (each tab is 12 inches wide). They also weigh considerably less than dimensional, or architectural, shingles.

Dimensional

Dimensional shingles can also be called architectural shingles. They come in a variety of sizes and are much heavier than 3-tab shingles. They are more expensive, but also generally considered more durable.

Luxury

Luxury shingles are the most expensive asphalt shingle and the most durable. For comparison, shingle manufacturer CertainTeed offers a 30-year warranty for luxury shingles and a 20-year warranty for 3-tab, according to their current warranty terms. They are also the heaviest. They come in a variety of sizes and shapes.

Climate

Attic skylight. Asphalt Shingles House Roofing Construction with Attic Roof windows, skylights waterproofing

Recalling the different types of shingles, different types are ideal for different climates. Climate directly affects the health of your shingles in the following ways:

Sun

High temperatures can cause shingles to expand with the heat, and contract when temperatures drop. This cycle can be damaging to shingles. In addition, exposure to UV rays starts to make shingles brittle. This can lead to cracking.

Snow

Most damage to shingles in winter-time comes from melting and refreezing ice. As ice piles up on the roof, the sun can allow it to melt just enough to seep under the shingles. Then, as cooling temperatures encourage refreezing, it lifts and breaks shingles. The weight of snow can also affect the roof.

Wind

Areas that are prone to frequent high-winds will need to keep a close eye on their roof to prevent damage. High winds can loosen and remove shingles, and the exposed space can be damaged by any weather that occurs while the roof is unprotected. Even everyday winds that occur outside of a storm can loosen the shingles bit by bit, leaving gaps of space where water can seep in at the next rainfall.

Hail

Frequent or large hail strikes will begin to wear down an asphalt shingle. With enough hits, it will fracture the shingle. The flat 3-tab shingles are the most vulnerable to this fate; the thicker dimensional shingles withstand the strain better. Hail can also knock off the special coating on shingles that protects them from UV rays, which leads back to the type of sun damage listed above.

Existing Roof System

Roofer worker in protective uniform wear and gloves,using air or pneumatic nail gun and installing asphalt shingle on top of the new roof

Shingles are one part of what comprises your roof system. Other factors on your roof can affect the new shingles. For example, new shingles placed on top of old ones tend to not hold up quite as long. This is why, unless your old roof was in good condition, you should remove old shingles before installing new ones.

A roof without adequate ventilation, flashing, or underlayment may still experience water leakage or other problems. This is why it’s important to talk to a manufacturer representative before purchase, and follow all the instructions in order to maintain a warranty. For example, Atlas Roofing typically offers at least a 30-year warranty for their asphalt shingles; however, their wind warranty can be void if shingles were not installed with enough nails.

What Are The Longest Lasting Roof Shingles?

Many would consider the longest-lasting roof shingles to be the laminated shingles that are now available, often with a lifetime warranty. GAF was the first manufacturer to offer such a warranty in 2011, according to the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association.

If you aren’t looking specifically at asphalt shingles, both metal and tile roofs have a long estimated lifespan. Metal roofs are predicted to last between 40 and 80 years by the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors. Tile roofs made of clay, slate, or concrete can last 100 years or more according to the National Association of Home Builders.

Are 50 Year Shingles Worth The Money?

Asphalt Shingles on a Hip Roof, How Long Do Asphalt Shingles Last?

Now that longer-lasting shingles, such as specially proclaimed “50 Year Shingles” are available, are they worth the money? Many experts agree that there’s no gain in resale value to a home with more durable shingles.

So, in short, if you plan on reselling the home in the future – they’re probably not worth it. There’s nothing to be gained at resale, and you’re shelling out for an investment that you won’t be there to enjoy. If you plan to be in the home for 50 more years, they may certainly be worth the initial expense.

In Closing

With modern changes to roofing, there are some notable (and more expensive) long-lasting options now available. 50-year shingles or limited lifetime warranty shingles will cost more and last longer. Other than those outliers, the 3 common asphalt shingle options will last approximately 20 years.

The more expensive luxury shingles last slightly longer while the cost-effective 3-tab shingles need to be replaced most frequently.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Afton Jackson

    It’s great how you explained that getting 50-year asphalt shingles will be worth it for anyone wanting to stay in their homes for a long time. After going through the process of buying a home, I never want to do it again, so I’m willing to do anything to make my house as durable as possible. Getting some durable asphalt shingles definitely sounds like a great start, so I’ll look for any roofers in the area that offer them right away.

  2. BOB

    I HAVE A TOLE ROOF WITH OMLY ONE LAYER OF TAT PAPER. HOW LONG CAN IT LAST BEFORE LEAKING? I LIVE IN SO CALIFORNIA

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