Asphalt shingles are far and away the most popular roofing option in the United States. The main reason is that they balance durability and price fairly, making them superior to most other roofing options. That said, you must consider what type of asphalt shingles to use when reroofing your home since not all are equal. In this article, we’ll look at the typical life expectancy for different types of asphalt shingles and some of the factors that can affect the lifespan of shingles.

Typical Lifespan for Asphalt Shingles

Most asphalt shingles sold nowadays are known as architectural or dimensional shingles, and these usually have a life expectancy of around 30 to 40 years. Some architectural shingles are rated to last for 50 years. However, rarely will the shingles end up lasting that long without the roof starting to leak or having other issues. The reason is that shingle ratings are based on optimal conditions where the roof experiences minimal weathering and doesn’t suffer storm damage. It also assumes that the roof doesn’t have issues with algae, mold, and mildew growth, which can shorten the lifespan of asphalt shingles.

A few manufacturers still produce the older-style three-tab asphalt shingles. This type of shingle typically only lasts 15 to 20 years, so it’s mostly been phased out in favor of the more durable, longer-lasting architectural shingles. The main issue with three-tab shingles is that they’re quite thin and flimsy since they’re only made with a single layer of asphalt. That means that they deteriorate quite quickly due to heat and sun exposure. They’re also reasonably brittle, which makes them highly prone to storm damage.

Factors That Affect How Long Asphalt Shingles Can Last

One of the biggest factors that affects how long an asphalt shingle roof lasts is where you live. Shingles typically have a longer life expectancy in cooler climates. In places like California, however, where there are fairly hot summers, asphalt shingles usually won’t last quite as long. Heat and sunlight damage asphalt shingles over time and lead to them slowly deteriorating.

Asphalt shingles typically have the shortest lifespan in hot and humid places for much of the year since humidity increases the chances of mold, mildew, and algae issues. Algae is especially problematic since it feeds on the limestone found in all asphalt shingles, weakening them and making them more prone to damage.

One factor you may not realize makes a difference in the lifespan of asphalt shingles is their color. Darker-colored shingles absorb a tremendous amount of sun heat, leading to them deteriorating more quickly. This is why lighter-colored shingles are the better choice in hotter climates since they reflect much more sunlight and thus don’t absorb nearly as much heat. That’s also why lighter-colored shingles help to make a home more energy efficient since they prevent the house from getting as hot during the summer and lessen the workload on the AC system.

Another essential factor in how long asphalt shingles can last is how often the roof is professionally inspected and maintained. Even minor damage to a few shingles can lead to issues such as the roof starting to leak. Water runs straight into the gutters when a roof is in good shape. If any shingles are damaged, it often leads to water being able to seep underneath them. Water can start seeping into the wooden roof deck under the shingles when this happens. This can lead to the wood rotting, which will almost always force you to replace the roof much sooner.

Any damage to your shingles can greatly shorten the lifespan of your roof, which is why it’s a good idea to have a professional roof inspection performed annually. You should also immediately schedule an inspection if you suspect your roof suffered damage from a major storm. If your roof does have damage, getting it repaired promptly is essential for ensuring that your roof can last as long as possible.

As the most trusted roofing contractor in Placer County, Clark's Gables Roofing is the company to turn to for all of your residential roofing needs. We’ve been serving Roseville and the surrounding areas for over 35 years and are ready to help if you need roof repairs or a replacement. For more information on your different roofing options, contact us today.

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