Asphalt shingles are a great option for residential roofs since they are relatively inexpensive compared to other types of roofing. In most cases, an asphalt shingle roof will be the most cost-effective option since it will also have a fairly long lifespan. However, exactly how long shingles will last can vary greatly depending on the type of shingles and various other factors.

How Long Different Types of Asphalt Shingles Usually Last

How long you can expect an asphalt shingle roof to last depends in large part on the type of shingles. The majority of asphalt shingles used nowadays are so-called architectural or dimensional shingles. Most architectural shingles are rated to last for up to 50 years. However, this 50-year rating assumes ideal conditions where the shingles aren’t exposed to extreme heat or cold and never experience damage from hail or strong winds. In real-world conditions, architectural shingles typically have a lifespan of 30 to 40 years.

Three-tab shingles used to be the most popular type of asphalt shingles before architectural shingles were introduced. They have since been mostly phased out, but there are a few roofing manufacturers who still offer them. Three-tab shingles are made of just a single layer of asphalt and are much thinner and more brittle than architectural shingles. This makes them more prone to damage from impacts, sun exposure and weathering, which is why they have a shorter lifespan. Most three-tab shingles are rated to last for 20 or 25 years, but they often only end up lasting for around 15 years.

Factors That Can Affect the Lifespan of Asphalt Shingle Roofs

It is important to note that the lifespans we listed above are merely averages, and there are many factors that can impact and potentially shorten the lifespan of a shingle roof. One obvious factor in this regard is whether the roof was properly installed. Improper installation greatly increases the chances of leaks developing. If a roof does start leaking and isn’t repaired promptly, it will end up failing and needing to be replaced much sooner. All of these other factors are also important in terms of how long you can expect asphalt shingles to last.

Climate and Weather

Local climate and weather are major factors that can affect the life of a roof. Heat and humidity will almost always cause any type of asphalt shingles to degrade and deteriorate more quickly. That’s why shingle roofs typically last longer in cooler, drier climates than they do in places where it is much hotter and more humid.

All types of asphalt shingles are also prone to damage from high winds and hail, but some are better able to withstand wind and hail than others. Nonetheless, the average lifespan of shingles is lower in places that frequently experience severe thunderstorms and hail due to the increased risk of storm damage.

Inspections and Maintenance

How often a roof is professionally inspected and maintained will also play a major role in how long it lasts. Ideally, you should always have your roof fully inspected every year. Inspections are important for identifying any damage or other issues so that they can be taken care of before they shorten the lifespan of the roof. Most roofs don’t really need that much maintenance other than refastening any loose shingles and resealing the roof flashing as necessary.

In humid climates, it is also often necessary to occasionally have shingles cleaned to remove any algae, mildew and moss. Algae can be a serious issue since it feeds on the limestone found in asphalt shingles and will cause them to deteriorate much more quickly if left unchecked. Moss can also shorten the life of a roof and make it more prone to leaks since it can start to lift the shingles and allow water underneath them.

Roof Ventilation

Having proper ventilation is also important for protecting the life of a shingle roof. This is especially true in places with cold, snowy winters. Without adequate ventilation, lots of heat collects in the attic and can lead to ice dams forming on the roof. When the attic is much hotter than the air outside, the bottom layer of snow on the roof will melt more quickly. This leads to water draining down and then refreezing on the overhangs and creating an ice dam that can cause major damage to the shingles and the underlying roof structure.

As one of the most trusted roofing contractors in West Lafayette, Hammer Down Exteriors is ready to take care of all of your residential and commercial roof repair and replacement needs. We work with most types of roofs and roofing materials, and we also offer expert siding, gutter and window installation services.

Contact us today to schedule a roof inspection or for a free roof replacement estimate.

Brent Hulsey

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