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How Long Do Roof Shingles Last? (Material Guide)

There comes a time in every homeowner’s life when you have to face the music of a roof replacement. Whether you just bought a new house with an older roof or you’ve lived in your home for many years, you’ll need a roof replacement at some point.

Asphalt shingles are the most popular roofing material in the country, so there’s a good chance that’s what you have on your roof. To give you a better picture of the question, “How long do roof shingles last?” we’re going to breakdown:

The Average Lifespan of Asphalt Shingles

Roof shingles can last anywhere from 15-25 years. Asphalt shingles are the most commonly installed material because they offer decent durability for a much more affordable price tag. Plus, they have a classic design that fits in and looks sleek in many regions of the country.

You can find asphalt shingles in a variety of colors produced by many different manufacturers. Some of the most high-quality shingle brands are:

  • GAF
  • Owens Corning
  • CertainTeed
  • Atlas
  • Malarkey

Since asphalt shingles are the most affordable roofing product that still offers quality protection, many homeowners opt for a shingle roof if they plan on selling their home within the next 10 years. However, if you plan on living in your home for decades, you might find a more valuable investment in a longer-lasting roofing material, which we’ll dissect at the end of this blog.

4 Factors That Can Impact the Lifespan of an Asphalt Roof

A range of 15-25 years can mean a lot for a homeowner. If you can get an extra 10 years out of your roof, that’s ideal! So what’s the difference between a roof that lasts 15 years and one that lasts 25 years? We break down the most common factors that can impact the lifespan of your shingles below.

1) Maintenance & Upkeep

Just like your car and lawn, your roof requires regular maintenance. You wouldn’t keep driving a car without getting an oil change, but many homeowners leave their roofs untouched until it’s too late. Ideally, you should schedule a professional roof inspection every 2-4 years or after any major storm event that includes hail or intense winds.

You should also stay on top of gutter cleaning and even roof cleaning to prevent algae growth! However, leave the roof cleaning to a professional roofing contractor for your safety.

It’s important to stay on top of roof repairs as needed so that you don’t welcome expensive water damage.

2) Weather Impact

If you’re lucky enough to live in a region with mild weather, your roof will probably last longer. But if you’re unlucky enough to get continuously struck by hail, high winds, or intense thunderstorms, your asphalt shingles may deteriorate faster.

If your roof was damaged because of a storm, you may be able to file an insurance claim and get coverage for repairs or even a full replacement. That’s why it’s so essential to schedule professional roof inspections after a major storm.

3) 3-Tab vs. Architectural Shingles

Did you know there are multiple types of asphalt shingles? Now you do! There are two main types of shingles: 3-tab and architectural.

  • 3-Tab Shingles are the original style of asphalt shingles. They have a flat design where one “strip” of shingles has three tabs to it. This is an older design product that many roofers won’t even install anymore. Although it’s more affordable, it has a shorter lifespan due to being a thinner product.
  • Architectural Shingles are also sometimes referred to as dimensional or laminated shingles. This is a more modern product that is thicker and has an eye-catching three-dimensional appearance. You’ll usually get closer to 20-30 years out of an architectural shingle roof.

4) Proper Installation

This may go without saying, but it’s very important to leave your roof installation to a reputable professional company. A DIY roof installation or one handled by an unlicensed handyman down the street is a recipe for a shorter roof lifespan. If an asphalt roof isn’t properly installed with the correct supporting materials like the underlayment, flashing, and vents, then your roofing materials aren’t set up for success.

Other Roofing Materials & Their Lifespans

If it’s almost time to replace your current asphalt shingle roof, it’s important to know that there are more roofing materials available to you than just shingles. While asphalt roofs are a solid choice for most homeowners, you may find it more financially beneficial to invest in a roofing material that lasts even longer— especially if you plan to live in your home for many years.

Here are other common roofing materials to consider:

  • Metal: Metal roofs are quickly gaining in popularity for residential homes. Once only considered for industrial or agricultural applications, modern standing seam metal roofs are sleek, fire-resistant, eco-friendly, and can last 40-70 years! You can even get metal shingles that resemble tiles or shingles if you prefer that aesthetic.
  • Clay or Concrete Tile: Clay tile roofs are more commonly seen in Florida and Western states, but you’ll see them sprinkled across the country on Spanish-style architecture. Clay or concrete tile roofs can last more than 75 years, but keep in mind that they have a price tag to match.
  • Composite: Synthetic or composite shingles are an all-star product. They’re made of durable recycled plastic and beautifully resemble real Spanish tiles, cedar shakes, or true slate. You’ll get the same beauty with much less maintenance and a roof that still lasts 30-50 years.
  • Cedar Shake: Cedar shake roofs aren’t for the faint of heart because they require a lot of hands-on maintenance. However, they look beautiful and can last up to 30 years.
  • Slate: A true slate roof is rare in the USA, but you’ll sometimes see slate on historical buildings. Slate roofs are made from real stone, and they get their nickname as the “forever roof” because they can last over 100 years!

Ready for a New Asphalt Shingle Roof?

You can consider yourself an expert in roofing material lifespans now! If your asphalt shingle roof is approaching the 15-year mark or even older, it might be time for a new roof.

North Carolina homeowners can reach out to Tidds Roofing for a local, high-quality shingle roof replacement that’s affordable and done right the first time. Get in touch with our team for a free inspection!

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