Many clients ask a similar question about the longevity of their new roof shingles. How long are they expected to last? What could decrease the life expectancy? With most homeowners selecting asphalt shingles these days, the answer is almost always the same—around 15-20 years. However, because there are more than one kind of asphalt shingle, as well as roofing materials not of asphalt, that common response isn’t so “general” anymore.
That is why today we are going to discuss how long you can expect new roof shingles to last and what you can do to get the most out of your investment. Let’s get started.
Shingle Type and Quality
Shingles come in all kinds of shapes, sizes, colors, and with additional features, like algae and fire resistance. While these things can affect how long shingles will last, a new roof usually lasts anywhere between 15-50 years. Now, that’s a big range, right? Well, it’s because there are several kinds of asphalt shingles, including compositional shingles, dimensional shingles, asphalt shingles, 3-tab shingles, and so on.
What brings these shingles together is their life expectancy rating. You might be shopping around and see things like “30-year shingles” or “50-year shingles,” regardless of those shingles being laminate or asphalt or something else.
Standard Asphalt Shingles
Standard asphalt shingles, sometimes referred to as dimensional shingles, are the most common kind of roofing material used throughout North America. They are affordable, durable, and usually last between 15-30 years, depending on their thickness and ingredients. The ones that are made with multiple layers are going to generally last longer than those that aren’t.
Keep in mind that, if you do not perform proper maintenance, or if the asphalt shingles have been installed incorrectly, the usual 15-30 years life expectancy can quickly become 8-10 years or less.
Architectural and Luxury Asphalt Shingles
Although architectural and luxury shingles are also dimensional shingles, they are made with better quality, and are thus more expensive. These shingles are usually 2-3 times thicker than regular asphalt shingles and are heavier, thicker, and coated with more UV and water-resistant seals. Most architectural shingles last between 30-50 years with proper maintenance and come with lifetime limited warranties.
Other Roofing Materials
Did you use something other than asphalt shingles? There are plenty of other roofing materials out there, after all. Here is a glimpse at the lifespans of other common shingle materials:
- Wooden shingles/shakes – 30 years with annual upkeep
- Clay tiles – 50 years or more (often with 30-year or lifetime warranties)
- Metal roofing – thinner, cheaper metal lasts around 20-25 years; more expensive metals may last up to 70 years
- Slate roofing – 100 years or more; but due to the weight, slate is not recommended for most houses
External Factors That Affect Roof Shingles
Even if you purchase superior quality shingles, there are certain factors that can limit their lifespan and durability. Knowing these factors and taking steps to mitigate them can help you get the most life out of your roofing shingles:
Weather and Climate
The most obvious factor in the lifespan of new roofing shingles is where you live. Some shingles are better suited to extreme temperature changes, high winds, freeze/thaw cycles, and intense UV rays. Others, especially less expensive shingles, are not designed to hold up as long. Keep this in mind throughout the year and do maintenance. Make sure you are checking for brittle shingles, ones with missing nails, tearing, missing granules, algae growth, and more.
The darker the shingle, the more heat it may absorb (unless constructed to reflect UV rays). The more heat shingles absorb, the faster it will age and breakdown. Lighter colored shingles are often recommended for roofs that get a lot of sun throughout the day.
The steeper the pitch, the longer your shingles will last. Why? Because there is less of a chance of things sitting around or accumulating. Water and moisture will be shed from the roof swiftly and funneled away by the gutters. Flatter roofs allow for snow and debris to gather, and that opens up the window to damage.
While poor installation may be difficult to spot, that doesn’t mean it won’t affect your whole roofing system. For instance, if your new shingles haven’t been properly nailed down, they could be stripped off during a windstorm. Without proper priming, adhesion will be inadequate. These little issues can result in tremendous damages down the road, so be sure to hire a professional roofing contractor you can trust.
Although surprising, a lack of proper ventilation in the attic can make your shingles decay faster. Make sure that excess heat in your attic space isn’t accidentally baking your roof.
So, how long will your new roof shingles last, you ask? Depending on the shingles you purchased, it will usually fall into a 20, 30, 40, or 50-year lifespan. Common asphalt shingles last anywhere between 15-20 years with proper upkeep, but the more expensive brands and shingles may last much, much longer than that.
Now that you know, why not learn a little more? We have plenty of blogs about roofing and shingles for you to read. Check them out.
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