November 24, 2023
When it comes to home ownership, the roof over your head is more than a metaphor; it’s a literal safeguard against the elements. One of the most popular types of residential roofing materials is asphalt shingles, which are widely used because of their cost-effectiveness, ease of installation, and durability.
But like any investment, it’s natural to question how long an asphalt roof is going to last before you need to plan for replacement or extensive repairs. Here’s what you should know about the lifespan of your asphalt roof from expert asphalt shingle roofing contractors.
How Long an Asphalt Roof Should Last
Asphalt shingles come in various grades, but generally, you can expect an asphalt shingle roof to last between 15 to 30 years. The lower end of the spectrum usually applies to 3-tab shingles, which are relatively thin and less durable. Architectural or dimensional shingles, which are thicker and offer a more aesthetic appeal, tend to last on the higher end of that range.
High-quality premium asphalt shingles can even stretch towards a 40-year lifespan under ideal conditions. These general figures are more like guidelines rather than guarantees. Several factors contribute to how long an asphalt roof will last, and we’ll look into those next.
Factors Affecting Lifespan of an Asphalt Roof
The durability of an asphalt roof is influenced by many factors, some of which are beyond your control. The quality of the installation is one of the most critical factors. If the roof is poorly installed, even the best materials won’t last very long. This is why it’s essential to work with reputable professionals who can ensure proper installation.
Manufacturer quality is another factor. Lower-quality asphalt shingles might be more susceptible to issues like premature aging, cracking, or algae growth. To be on the safe side, always choose shingles from a reputable manufacturer and preferably ones that come with a substantial warranty.
Weather Conditions in Your Area
The local climate can have a significant impact on the lifespan of your asphalt roof. Areas that experience high winds, hail, or frequent storms tend to be hard on roofing materials. Prolonged exposure to extreme heat or cold can also weaken the shingles over time, making them more susceptible to damage.
Even if your area doesn’t experience extreme weather conditions, long-term exposure to sunlight can lead to the fading and aging of shingles. If your home is located in an area with harsh weather conditions, you may need to invest in higher-quality, more durable shingles and consider more frequent inspections and maintenance to prolong your roof’s lifespan.
Attic Ventilation and Other Structural Design Considerations
Believe it or not, the design of your home can also affect the lifespan of your roof. Proper attic ventilation is crucial in maintaining the temperature balance between the roof and the interior of the home. Poor ventilation can lead to heat and moisture buildup, which can, in turn, affect the roofing material from underneath. This can cause your shingles to degrade faster than they would otherwise, reducing the roof’s overall lifespan.
On top of this, the pitch of your roof, how well it sheds water, and whether or not it faces frequent direct sunlight can also contribute to how long the materials last. Steeper roofs often tend to last longer because they shed water more effectively, reducing the risk of moisture damage.
How Reputable was the Roofing Contractor?
The competence and credibility of the roofing contractor will ultimately determine how long your asphalt roof will last. Experienced contractors are familiar with the nuances of installation and can advise on the best type of asphalt shingles suitable for your specific situation. Their expertise ensures that the roof is installed to withstand the tests of time and nature.
Poorly installed roofs can lead to water leakage, structural damage, and a myriad of other problems that can dramatically reduce the lifespan of even the best materials. Always check for customer reviews, ask for references, and perhaps even inspect some of their previous work before hiring a contractor. A reputable roofing contractor is more likely to stand by their work and often provides warranties that are a testament to the quality of their workmanship.
Annual Roof Maintenance and Other Repairs
Another factor that significantly impacts the lifespan of your asphalt roof is the maintenance it receives. Annual inspections are recommended to identify and rectify potential problems before they escalate. This could involve replacing damaged shingles, cleaning gutters, or even treating moss and algae.
Small repairs over the years can substantially prolong the roof’s life, saving you money in the long run. An adequately maintained roof is more likely to reach or even exceed its expected lifespan. In contrast, a neglected roof may require replacement well before its time.
The Direction Your Asphalt Roof is Facing
Believe it or not, the direction your roof faces can affect its longevity. Roofs that face the south tend to age faster due to prolonged exposure to direct sunlight, which can degrade the asphalt shingles over time. On the other hand, the north-facing side may be more susceptible to moss and algae growth due to less exposure to the sun. Knowing the orientation of your roof can help you take proactive measures, like algae-resistant shingle choices or more frequent maintenance on the more exposed sides.
When You Should Fully Replace Your Asphalt Roof
Despite the best maintenance, there will come a time when repairs won’t work anymore, and a full replacement is necessary. If your roof is approaching the end of its expected lifespan or if you’re facing frequent issues such as leaks, missing shingles, or visible sagging, it’s probably time to consider a replacement.
Another sign is when the cost of repairs approaches or exceeds the value provided by keeping the older roof. At this point, it’s more economically sensible to invest in a new roof that will last you another couple of decades than to continually sink money into an aging structure.
Get a Free Estimate from Asphalt Shingle Roofing Contractors at Advanced Roofing Solutions
Choosing the right contractor and type of shingles are the first steps toward a long-lasting roof, but so is getting the best value for your investment. Many reputable roofing contractors, including here at Advanced Roofing Solutions, offer free estimates that allow you to gauge the costs upfront. This can help you compare different options and choose the one that offers the best balance between quality and affordability. Get in touch with our asphalt shingle roofing contractors to learn more and get an estimate for your project.