How long does a shingle roof last?

(Updated Sept. 28, 2022)

One of the most common types of roofing material in North America, composite or architectural shingles are relatively inexpensive, easy to work with, and come in a wide variety of styles. No matter the architecture of your home (flat roofs notwithstanding), asphalt shingles can be used to accentuate the home and are easily matched when repairs become necessary.

But how long does a roof using these shingles last? Not including accidents like fallen trees or other storm damage, shingle roofs are usually good for 25 to 30 years. A lot of this depends on their installation, so we always recommend using licensed roofing contractors for all re-roofs, installations, and repairs.

There’s more to a roofing system than just the shingles, however. Even the best shingles won’t keep a roof from failing if the underlayment, roof deck, and supporting trusses are poorly installed. In any roofing project, all roofing components should be professionally installed.

There is a matter of safety to consider as well, too. Warner Roofing and Construction has been in the industry for nearly 30 years and always uses the appropriate protective gear. This is especially important for heavily sloped roofing or during inclement weather.

Types of Shingles Roofs

There are three types of asphalt roofs: 3-tab shingles (rarely used anymore), architectural shingles (sometimes known as dimensional shingles or laminate shingles), and premium or luxury shingles. The premium shingles are by far the most expensive and don’t really make sense in most homes.

If you want to know how long does a shingle roof last, we need to look at different shingles. The most common roofing material in the past was asphalt 3-tab shingles because they fit into almost any budget. Although not as thick or durable as architectural or premium shingles, they still provided solid protection against the elements.

Like most composite shingles of today, 3-tab shingles came with mineral granules embedded on the surface. These acted as a fire retardant and helped block UV rays, too. But these shingles were also relatively thin and could break during high winds if they weren’t securely fastened to the decking. Their life expectancy was around 20 years.

Architectural shingles are much more heavy-duty than 3-tab, but of course, you’ll pay for that extra bit of protection. They also have more styles than 3-tab and can be made to look like other types of roofing, such as slate or wood shake roofing. They also come in a variety of colors to add to the curb appeal of your home.

Other Types of Roofing Material

When considering a new roof, or building a new home, think about the style of the home. If you’re building a home with Cape Cod architecture, architectural shingles will really complete the overall look. If you’re buying a starter home – a little two-bedroom bungalow – and the price is an issue, consider something less expensive.

If you’re building a 5,000-square-foot home with all of the bells and whistles, well, finances probably aren’t an issue. At least talk to the architect about premium shingles to see how they will fit into the overall aesthetic of the home. You paid top dollar for those travertine tiles in the foyer, don’t skimp on the roof!

Metal roofing and slate roof materials will last 50 years up to more than 100 years if properly installed and maintained. Cedar wood shingles or shakes have a very distinct look and are right at home atop a lakeside cabin. But they require the most maintenance and will need to be replaced every 30 years. There are also metal tile roofs that replicate cedar shake shingles, so you can have the look you want and the longevity you need.

Extending the Lifespan of an Asphalt Shingle Roof

No matter the shingles you decide to use, there are ways you can extend their use. Many of these steps can be done by the homeowner, although some jobs are better left to the experts. One of the easier things you can do is keep the gutters clean.

If gutters are allowed to fill with debris, water will be unable to make it to the downspouts and will pool. When winter arrives and snow and ice make an appearance, all of that standing water can expand under your shingles. When it melts, it can make a way to the underlayment and then the decking.

As temperatures dip below freezing once again, the ice will expand under the shingles, popping nails and allowing more water in. If this happens for three or four months, it could not only affect your roof but the interior of your home as well. Yes, it’s a messy job that usually has to take place when the weather isn’t that great. But if it helps you get a few more years out of your roof, isn’t it worth it?

When you notice moss or algae growing on your roof, it’s important to have it removed as soon as possible. This growth will hold rainwater in place, where it can find its way under and between the shingles. We’ve already discussed what can happen if the water is allowed to freeze.

If you decide to remove the moss yourself, you’ll want to use a soft touch to make sure you don’t do more harm than good. You can use a hose (spraying in a downward motion) to remove the moss, but don’t use a pressure washer. Use a soft-bristle brush (still in a downward motion) to get hard to remove growths. And be careful!

Working in an upward motion or being too aggressive on the shingle surface can remove granules or even damage the shingles themselves. There are also spray-on solutions to remove moss, but they may discolor sidewalks, patios, and decks or harm some plants. Make sure to do your research.

Other steps include replacing damaged shingles, removing debris from the roof, and even removing overhanging branches before they can cause problems. These quick actions and proactive solutions will keep the rest of the roof looking great and prevent any long-lasting problems.

Work With Roofing Experts

How long do asphalt shingle roof last depends on the quality of the materials for sure, but also how they’re used. If properly installed and maintained, your asphalt shingle roof should give you at least two decades worth of protection, even longer in some cases.

If you’re wondering about your roof, or are noticing tell-tale signs of leaking, reach out to Warner Roofing and Construction. We will perform a roof inspection to see the extent of the damage, examine how much life your asphalt shingles have left, and recommend repairs or a complete tear-off and roof replacement.

Interested in setting up an annual maintenance plan or have concerns about your roof? Get in touch with Warner Roofing and Construction and let’s see how we can help!

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