How Long Do Roof Shingles Last? A Comprehensive Guide on Shingle Lifespan
Learn about the different types of roof shingles and how long each one should last on your home.
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Does your roof look like it’s seen better days? Nobody likes the idea of roof replacement but sometimes it’s just necessary. And, when that day comes, more than likely you’ll be asking yourself “How long do roof shingles last?”
The unfortunate truth is that there is no one-size-fits-all answer for this question. Each type of shingle can last a different length of time. In addition, weather and other conditions can heavily affect the life expectancy of roof shingles.
How long do roof shingles last? Each type of roof shingle has its own lifespan. In this article we will cover different types of shingles and general life spans as well as offer some tips on how to protect them and make them last longer.
Table of Contents
Understanding Roof Shingles
There are many different types of roof shingles and they are made of different types of materials. Each material has its unique characteristics that result in how long it lasts when subjected to weather year after year. In understanding roof shingles, let’s begin by defining what is a shingles roof.
What Are Roof Shingles
Roof shingles are a covering on the roof of your house that consist of overlapping elements. These elements are usually flat, rectangular shapes that are laid in a specific path from the bottom edge of the roof and then upward. Each path is successive and overlaps the elements below. Shingles are attached to the parallel beams on the roof (rafters).
Types of Roof Shingles
There are 16 different types of roof shingles you can choose to have installed on your home.
- Asphalt 3 Tab
- TPO - PVC Roofing
- Aluminum Shingles
- Metal Shingles
- Corrugated Steel
- Concrete Tile
- Rubber Shingles
- Asphalt Architectural Shingles
- Asphalt Fiberglass 3D
- Steel Shingles
- Cedar Wood Shake
- Slate Tiles
- Clay Tiles
- Standing Seam Metal
- Solar Shingles
- Copper Roofing
Each type of shingle has a different cost per square foot and for installation. How to measure a roof for shingles is by the square foot. A new shingled roof is a large investment, so it’s important to take into consideration not only the cost to install certain roof shingle types but also the lifespan for each. What roof shingles are best? From this list of 16 types of shingles, the most common types that homeowners select for their home are asphalt, wood, metal, and tile, with asphalt being the most popular. You determine the best for you after taking into consideration many factors, as discussed in this article.
Factors that Affect Roof Shingle Lifespan
Roof shingles begin to age as soon as they are exposed to the air. Other factors like heat or pressure can speed up the aging process. Wind, rain, ice, and sun exposure all play a part in causing shingles to age.
Basically, there are five factors that contribute to the length of time roof shingles will last:
- The workmanship of the roofing contractor who installs the shingles
- Adequate roof ventilation
- The amount of extreme weather the roof is exposed to
- How often your roof has maintenance
- The quality of the materials
Location of the Home and Climate in the Area
The location and the climate where you live make a huge difference in the longevity of your roof. If you live in an area that has extreme weather like hail storms, cold temperatures, and/or intense heat, your roof shingles won’t last as long as they would otherwise. Constant exposure to sun and UV rays cause shingles to become brittle and crack. Extreme heat and temperatures can cause roofing materials to expand and shrink, which leads to damage over time.
Quality of the Roof Installation
The quality of installing your roof shingles has a distinct impact on how long your roof will last. Poor installation will result in leaks, water damage, inadequate roof ventilation, and other vulnerabilities that shorten the lifespan of your roof. It’s critical that you hire a reputable roofing contractor who is experienced in installing the type of roofing material you have selected.
Maintenance and Roof Repairs
Even after a top-notch installation, over time your roof will need maintenance and repairs. Having a roof maintenance schedule ensures that you catch issues before they become significant problems. Here are some of the benefits you get when performing preemptive maintenance.
By keeping a check on the state of your roof you control any damage that has occurred and avoid costly repairs. Many times, damage to the roof isn’t evident until you see extensive damage such as leaks inside the house. At that juncture, repair work isn’t just needed on the roof but in the home as well.
Extending the Life of Your Roof
With proper maintenance and repairs, you prolong the life of the roof and avoid needing a premature roof replacement. Therefore, you protect your investment.
Boosting Energy Efficiency
Keeping your home as energy efficient as possible should be everyone’s goal. The roof plays a big part in having an energy-efficient home. Maintaining and repairing the roof when necessary will ensure that you have better insulation and can effectively reduce energy loss, resulting in lower energy bills.
Healthy and Safe Home
With proper maintenance of the roof, you ensure that your home is kept in a healthy and safe condition for its inhabitants. When you have roof damage that isn’t addressed, you can have leaks that are chronic and lead to interior mold and mildew growth. These are health risks to your family that can be severe.
Quality of Materials
Using a high-quality roof shingle undoubtedly prolongs the lifespan of your roof. A lower-quality roof deteriorates much more quickly under the harsh conditions of the climate. Sun exposure and weather wreak more harm if the roof shingles are not a good quality. A high-quality roofing material is designed to be sturdy, durable, and resistant to the elements. Quality roofs will stand up to strong storms, high winds, snow, and ice, keeping your home safe from water damage.
How Long Do Asphalt Shingles Last?
Not all asphalt shingles last the same number of years. There are three primary types of asphalt shingles and the longevity differs with each type–3-tab, architectural, and asphalt fiberglass 3-D. Asphalt shingles consist of a base material coated with asphalt and topped with ceramic-coated granules. Generally speaking, the average lifespan of an asphalt shingle roof is 10 to 30 years, depending on the type of asphalt shingle you use. Asphalt shingles last longer in colder climates such as the north and northeastern regions than they do in warmer climates like the southwest or southern regions.
The 3-tab asphalt shingle is the most affordable type of roof shingle. With proper maintenance, this type of shingle can last 10 to 30 years. It is durable and lightweight and provides UV protection. The architectural asphalt shingle is priced in the mid-range and usually lasts between 20 to 30 years. The longest-lasting asphalt shingle is the fiberglass asphalt shingle. The base consists of woven fiberglass strands that are bonded by resins and coated with a thin layer and a mineral coating. They look virtually identical to asphalt shingles and last twice as long–30 to 50 years.
Signs of Wear and Tear
Here are four (4) signs of worn asphalt shingles:
When you see buckling on roof shingles, as exhibited by a wavy shape, you are going to need a repair or replacement. Buckled shingles can easily be torn off in a windstorm. Causes for buckling are age or poor installation.
Missing Granules and Bare Spots
If you can see shingles that look bare as compared to the others, the shingles are missing granules. Granules protect the shingles from exposure to the elements. Without granules, the shingles can become brittle and are susceptible to leaking.
If you have areas on the roof where shingles are missing, the entire structure of the roof is in danger.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Asphalt Shingles
Some of the benefits and drawbacks of asphalt shingles include the following. With asphalt roof shingles being the most commonly purchased, it’s no surprise that there are many benefits.
Benefits of Asphalt Shingles
- Variety of designs and colors
- Energy efficient
- Higher-priced shingles hold up in extreme weather, high winds, and hail storms
- Class A fire rating
- Resistant to algae
- Easy to install
- Repair easily
Drawbacks of Asphalt Shingles
- Lower-priced shingles may detach in strong winds
- Vulnerable to cracks
- Should install during warmer temperatures
- Don’t last as long as other types of shingles
- Susceptible to mildew
How Long Do Wood Shingles Last?
Generally, wood shingles last far longer than asphalt shingles.
Average Lifespan of Wood Shingles
The most common types of wood shingles are cedar, teak, or wallaba. With proper maintenance cedar shingles typically will last 30 to 50 years or more, teak shingles last 50 to 80 years or more, and wallaba shingles last 35 to 60 years or more.
Signs of Wear and Tear of Wood Shingles
Wood shingles last a long time, but they are still vulnerable to wear and tear from the elements. Some of the signs of wear and tear include:
Curling and Cupping
A properly placed wood shingle lies flat against the roof. Weathering is typical and actually desired on a wood shingle. But, when the wood shingles begin to degrade, the shingle corners will begin to lift. This is called curling and cupping. When you see wood shingles curling, your roof may be in need of repair.
Over time, wood shingles may develop cracks that are normal wear. These cracks usually don’t go all the way through. However, signs of excessive splitting can include 1) rounded edges on the shingles, 2) the upper surface matches the hue of the split’s interior, and 3) sharp edges from hail damage.
If your roof is shaded, the ability of the shingles to evaporate water may be impeded. This allows mold, lichen, and other microorganisms to build up around the bottom edges of wood shingles. A big factor in degradation, especially with cedar shingles, is moisture. Moisture that seeps into the shingles over a period of time will cause the shingles to break down.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Wood Shingles
Some of the benefits and drawbacks of asphalt shingles include the following.
Benefits of Wood Shingles
- Beautiful aesthetics
- Energy efficient
- Easy to install
- Resistant to wind
- Resistant to hail
Drawbacks of Wood Shingles
- Higher price
- Vulnerability to fire
- Susceptible to moisture
- Prone to insects
- Need higher level of maintenance
How Long Do Metal Roofs Last?
Average Lifespan of a Metal Roof
Metal roofs last a very long time–40 to 70 years. A metal roof is the most unique and one of the longest lasting roofs you can purchase.
Signs of Wear and Tear
Even though a metal roof is more durable than other roofing shingles, it is still vulnerable to harsh weather conditions that can cause wear and tear. Metal roofs still require annual maintenance to have the best performance possible. Leaks, dents, scratching, degradation, and corrosion can occur on a metal roof.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Metal Roofs
Benefits of Metal Roofs
- Durable and long-lasting
- Environmentally friendly
- Energy efficient
Drawbacks of Metal Roofs
- Can be dented by large hail and falling branches
- Can be noisy (maybe)
How Long Do Tile Shingles Roofs Last?
Tile roofs are either made of slate, clay, or concrete.
Average Lifespan of Tile Roofs
Tile roofs last a very long time. Generally, a well-maintained tile roof can last 50 years; however, there are buildings in Europe whose tile roofs have lasted for centuries.
Signs of Wear and Tear Tile Roofs
Wear and tear can occur with tile roof shingles. Usually, clay tiles may show more wear than concrete and slate. Clay tiles can have broken edges that occur when they have had weight on them. For example, if someone has been on the roof and stepped on clay tiles that are old, cracks and broken edges can result.
Benefits and Drawbacks Tile Roofs
Benefits of Tile Roofs
- Resistant to water, frost, fire, wind, and insect damage
- Environmentally friendly
- Recyclable and reusable
- Beautiful aesthetic
Drawbacks of Tile Roofs
- Heavy - strong structural support is necessary
- Expert installation is necessary
- Can be brittle
- May get dirty
Extending the Lifespan of Your Roof Shingles
Regardless of the type of roof shingles your home has, it is essential to have regular roof inspections and do proper maintenance to get the most longevity.
Regular Roof Inspections
Having regular roof inspections annually ensures that a problem doesn’t become exacerbated into a major issue. Inspections will show those areas that are experiencing wear and tear and resulting in leaks and so forth. Your roof will last longer when you have inspections that point to areas that need repairs and then you perform those repairs.
Proper Roof Maintenance Routines
The spring and fall give you opportunities to perform roof maintenance to ensure your home is protected from the weather. Once summer and winter are in full swing the weather may not allow you to do maintenance.
Here are some tasks to keep your roof in good shape all year:
- Check the gutters
- Check the shingles
- Look for mold or algae
- Inspect around chimneys and vents
- Look inside the attic for leaks
- Clean the gutters and downspouts
- Clean gutters to avoid water buildup
- Check for problems like missing shingles or shingles with missing granules
- Trim branches around the roof
- Check the flashing around chimneys
In conclusion, the lifespan of roof shingles depends on several factors such as the quality of installation, location, and climate. On average, asphalt shingles last for 20-30 years, wood shingles last for 30-50 years, metal shingles last for 50-70 years, and tile shingles last for over 100 years. However, proper maintenance and repairs can help extend the lifespan of your roof shingles. If you need help with installing or maintaining your roof shingles, contact a professional roofing contractor today.
Contact Allied Roofing Solutions for all your Roofing Needs
When you need to replace your current roof or install a roof on a newly constructed home, call our team of professionals. We can help you understand the different types of roof shingles so you can make an informed decision. We can provide a roof inspection to assist in keeping your roof in great shape for a long time. Call us if you need roof repair or roof replacement. We serve New Jersey residents in Bergen County, Essex County, Hudson County, Middlesex County, Morris County, Passaic County, and Somerset County. Call us at (201) 773-0633 or complete the contact form to schedule a free estimate appointment. Let us help you keep your roof in tip-top shape to get the most out of it for the long-term.