If you’re a new homeowner— or, let’s be honest, even if you’ve been doing this forever— you may start to feel on edge when your appliances are nearing the end of their lifespan. You’re constantly Googling how long your furnace, water heater, and air conditioning will last, and as they age, you’re always holding your breath, waiting for their inevitable demise.
But one important feature many homeowners forget about is their roof. As long as it looks okay and there’s no active dripping water, most people feel like their roof could last forever. But unless you’re one of the very few people with a natural slate roof, there’s a big chance you have an asphalt shingle roof, and those don’t last forever…
If you’re unsure as the state of your roof and haven’t done much maintenance over the years, it may be time to schedule an inspection to ensure a strong wind won’t blow it off. It’s important to keep up with minor roof repairs, gutters, and ventilation—and not ignore any problems.
So how long do asphalt shingles last? Let’s take a look at:
- The average lifespan of asphalt shingles
- Factors that can impact the lifespan
- How long other roofing materials last
How Long Do Asphalt Shingles Last?
Typically, asphalt shingle roofs last 15-25 years, while more premium products can last around 30 years.
Asphalt shingles are not the most durable or long-lasting roofing materials on the market, but they are, by far and away, the most popular. Why would shingles be the most popular if other materials last longer? Well, asphalt shingles have a lot of other benefits:
- 💵Affordable: The biggest factor driving the popularity of asphalt shingles is their price. Shingles are the most affordable roofing material that still offers a decent lifespan. Often, homeowners would rather save on the upfront cash, especially if they plan on selling the home before the roof needs replacing again.
- ✨Aesthetically-Pleasing: Asphalt shingles just have the look. Chances are, your home will fit in with the style of the rest of your neighborhood with a shingle roof, and it won’t stick out like a sore thumb. Modern shingles also come in a wide range of color options, so you can match your roof to your siding and trim for a cohesive look.
- 🔨Easy to Install: You’ll be hard-pressed to find a professional roofing contractor that doesn’t know how to install asphalt shingles. Since they are the most common roofing material, most professionals are well-versed in the necessary installation techniques. Since shingles are lightweight and readily available, installation is often quite quick— with most residential roof replacements only taking 1-2 days.
- 🧰Simple to Repair: The same sentiment goes for roof repairs. Even though you might deal with repairs more frequently than with a more durable roofing material, shingles are easy to replace and patch, so standard repairs typically don’t cost an arm and a leg. You may even be able to DIY certain repairs!
4 Factors That Can Increase or Decrease the Lifespan
While 15-25 years is the general lifespan for an asphalt roof, it isn’t a hard and fast rule. Of course, every homeowner hopes that their roof will last on the longer end of that spectrum, but certain factors can cause it to have a shorter lifespan. On the other hand, particular circumstances can allow you to get closer to 30 years out of your asphalt roof!
Take a closer look at the circumstances that play a major role in the longevity of your asphalt shingle roof.
1) Architectural Shingles vs. 3-Tab 🧱
Did you know that there’s more than one type of shingle? To the average passerby, shingles probably all look the same. But to roofing enthusiasts like us, the difference is pretty substantial!
3-tab shingles are the original, old-school style of asphalt shingles. These shingles lay flat and have a consistent, repetitive pattern. They get their name from the fact that each panel has 3 evenly spaced asphalt tabs, giving a very uniform look. While these were once the standard, they’re gradually getting phased out of the industry because:
- They’re not as durable
- Don’t last as long
- Aren’t as aesthetically-pleasing
Taking the place of 3-tab shingles is architectural shingles! You may also see architectural shingles referred to as “dimensional” or “laminated” shingles. Architectural shingles are the new standard because they have more layers of asphalt, making them more durable against wind and hail. You can recognize an asphalt shingle roof by overlapping shingles with different color tones that give the roof a three-dimensional look.
Typically, 3-tab shingle roofs cap out at around 20 years or less, while architectural shingles can reach 25 or even 30 years before needing replacement.
2) The Weather in Your Region ⛈️
If you live somewhere with mild weather, you can probably get a longer life out of your asphalt roof. However, if you’re stuck in Tornado Alley, the Florida Coast, or another region with intense wind and hail, your roof might take more of a beating.
Even though modern architectural shingle roofs stand up to wind and hail better than their 3-tab counterparts, repeated impact year after year can cause a shortened lifespan.
3) Professional vs. DIY Installation 👷
Do you know who your roof was installed by? Was it a professional, licensed roofing company? Or the previous owner of your home who watched a YouTube video?
Professional installations almost always set roofs up for a longer life compared to DIY installations. DIY installations often miss the important details, such as:
- Sturdy roof decking
- Properly adhered underlayment
- Quality flashing
- Enough roof vents
4) Regular Maintenance 🧹
It’s important to maintain your roof, just like how you regularly maintain your car with oil changes and tire rotations. Be sure to:
- Clean your gutters twice a year
- Get a roof inspection after every major storm or every 2 years
- Have your roof cleaned by a professional every 1-3 years
- Address leaks immediately
Putting off roof maintenance can cause your roof to age faster than if you stay on top of preventative maintenance.
The Lifespan of Other Popular Roofing Materials
Asphalt shingles are almost always a solid choice for a roof replacement. But if you’re planning on living in your home for more than 20 years, you may want to consider more durable roofing materials, such as:
- Composite Shingle Roofs: Composite shingles are asphalt shingles on steroids. (Popular brands are F-Wave, DaVinci, and Brava.) They are made from a synthetic substance made from recycled materials. These shingles are very thick and durable, and they are often styled to resemble beautiful cedar shakes or slate tiles. They usually last a minimum of 30-40 years.
- Metal Roofs: Metal is the up-and-coming material on the market. Modern metal roofing is ideal for residential properties, just as much as commercial properties. You can choose from standing seam metal, corrugated metal, and even metal tiles that resemble shingles. A metal roof lasts for 50-70 years on average.
- Clay Tile Roofs: Clay and concrete tiles are more popular in Florida and Western states than here in Indiana, but you’ll still see them! They offer a wonderful architectural flair and last roughly 75 years, but keep in mind that they’re quite expensive upfront. You’ll also need the proper structural support to support these heavier materials.
Ready for a New Asphalt Shingle Roof?
We hope you learned something new today about your roof! If your current asphalt shingle roof is nearing the end of its lifespan, give OpenBox Roofing a call. As the #1 roofing company in the Indianapolis area, we back the best asphalt shingle materials with impeccable workmanship, so you can trust you’re getting a long-lasting result.Reach out to OpenBox Roofing today to get started on your new roof!