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How Long Your Asphalt Shingle Roof Should Last

08 June 2022

Your roof is one of the most important investments you’ll make for your home. It protects you, your loved ones, and your property from the elements. Ohio and Northern Kentucky weather can put asphalt shingles through a beating, so you might be wondering: How long do asphalt roofs last? Will your roof replacement remain secure long enough for your kids to get through school? How about your retirement?

Asphalt Shingles Lifespan

Asphalt roof shingles typically last anywhere from 15-30 years. 3-tab asphalt roof shingles usually are in good condition for around 15-20. Architectural shingles, which are made with multiple layers of asphalt-coated fiberglass, usually last around 30 years. GAF Asphalt Roofs come with a 50-year non-prorated warranty when installed by a Master Elite Roofer.

What factors affect how long asphalt roof shingles last?

Several variables affect your asphalt shingle roof life expectancy: Climate and weather, roof color, ventilation, roof orientation, slope, installation process, material quality, and proximity of trees. If you’re not sure about the status of your roof, check it out for warning signs that there are roof problems ahead.

Climate and Weather Impacts Asphalt Roof Lifespan

A roof located somewhere with extreme temperature variations will have a shorter asphalt shingles lifespan than a roof in a temperate climate with mild weather. Shingles are supposed to expand and contract to handle the weather, but if the heat and cold swing back and forth too much, the shingles may not be able to handle it- leading to cracks that can let water in and shorten the asphalt shingle lifespan of your roof. Freezing and thawing cycles in cooler climates do the same thing over time. Wind also can shorten your asphalt shingle roof’s life expectancy if it’s strong enough. 

Asphalt Shingle Roof color

Dark colors absorb heat, which is why experts recommend that people should wear light colors to reflect the sunlight when it’s hot outside. A dark roof in a cold climate can be a good thing, but it can cause problems and a shorter asphalt shingle lifespan in hot environments. Manufacturers offer a variety of shingle styles and colors to help homeowners find the right option for where they live. 

Attic & Roof Ventilation

Attic ventilation is extremely important for the longevity of an asphalt shingle roof. Without the right ventilation, the roof can’t “breathe”, so hot and cold air both get trapped inside the home. This trapped air can cause major damage to your roof. Ventilation is a key part of the system that keeps your roof, insulation, and gutters working together to protect your home. 

Roof orientation and slope

Have you ever wondered why houses face the directions they do? Sometimes, architects plan for the best views of sunrise and sunset. Sometimes, the nearest road or street is the determining factor. In any case, homes with a roof slope facing south will get more sunlight than homes that face another direction. With the sun beating down onto the roof, that adds wear and tear, shortening the lifespan of your shingle roof. 

Steeper slopes help your roof last longer. When rain, snow, and debris fall on your roof, a steep pitch works with gravity to get that material off your asphalt shingles so it can’t cause damage. 

Trees & Foliage

Is your home surrounded by trees? How close are they to your roof? If you have many trees in your yard, you’re likely already familiar with the chore of cleaning leaves out of your gutters. Those same leaves build up in your valleys too, and that accumulation of debris shortens the life of your roof. The moisture in leaves can speed up decay in your asphalt shingles. 

In addition, if your trees are close enough that branches rub against the shingles, that can cause damage to your roof and shorten its lifespan. 

Material quality

Not all shingles are created equally. Some asphalt shingles come at a relatively low price, but the construction isn’t built to last. The best shingles are made to hold up to heavy rain, high winds, and other weather conditions. If you protect your home with quality roof material, you’re likely to get a much longer asphalt roof lifespan than you would with other products. 

Roof Installation

Great material is essential, but the most important factor in how long your asphalt shingle roof will last is how well it is installed. Expert roof contractors know the best way to prepare your roof deck, position the asphalt roof shingles, and secure them. 

So, how long do asphalt roofs last?

It depends. 

The best way to find out what condition your roof is in and how many years you can expect to get out of your asphalt shingles is to schedule a roof inspection. Experts can examine the factors that impact your home and point out any potential problems. If your roof is in danger, they can help prevent further damage and advise you on next steps. That way, your roof doesn’t have to get in the way of your life plans. Get a complimentary estimate today!