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How Long Does a Asphalt Roof Last

Did you recently install a new asphalt shingle roof? Curious about its lifespan? As homeowners, it’s perfectly reasonable to want your brand-new roof to last as long as possible.

A roofing professional might assure you of a 25 or 30-year lifespan, but you might remain skeptical. The fact is, with proper care, your roof should ideally last close to the manufacturer-suggested lifespan. However, numerous factors can influence the longevity of an asphalt roof.

Since 2009, Nitro Roofing has been providing Columbus, Ohio with expert asphalt roof installations. We are well-versed in all aspects of asphalt roofing and can vouch for your roof’s durability due to our technical skill and meticulous attention to detail.

Fortunately, we are here to enlighten you on the lifespan of an asphalt roof. By reading this, you’ll gain a solid understanding of how long an asphalt roof typically lasts and what factors can affect its lifespan.

How long can you expect your asphalt roof to last? 

When buying or building a home, understanding the roofing essentials can be a daunting task. It’s important to determine the roof’s age, its current condition, and any unique requirements related to the roof material and design.

Equally important is knowing the average lifespan of roofs in your area, factoring in the local weather conditions. Regular roof inspections, particularly before buying a home, are essential for ensuring its durability and longevity.

For those who have recently invested in an asphalt roof, you might be curious about its lifespan. Given that a new roof is a substantial financial commitment, it’s natural to wish for it to last as long as feasibly possible.

Read more about How Long Does TPO Roof Last

And check out How long does tile roof last in Columbus Ohio

How long can you expect your asphalt roof to last
5 factors that determine how long your asphalt roof lasts

5 factors that determine how long your asphalt roof lasts 

Once you have an idea of the expected lifespan of your asphalt roof, delve into the factors that influence its longevity. By doing so, you can proactively take measures to ensure that your asphalt roof endures for many years to come.

  1. The type of asphalt shingles do you have installed  

When installed and ventilated correctly, the three primary categories of asphalt shingles – 3-tab, dimensional, and premium – should each achieve roughly 80% to 85% of their advertised lifespan.

To put it another way, a roof with 3-tab shingles can typically endure for 20-22 years, while roofs with dimensional shingles have a slightly longer lifespan, usually lasting 25-28 years. It’s important to note that these lifespans are directly influenced by the quality of the roof installation and the adequacy of its ventilation.

3-tab shingles: 

3-tab shingles are distinguished by the presence of three asphalt tabs on each piece, and they’re crafted in a single flat layer. These shingles feature a fiberglass base and are coated with mineral granules designed to scatter and bounce back the heat of the sun.

Roofs with a slope often favor 3-tab shingles due to their wide availability, cost-effectiveness, and durability. They generally last between 10 to 20 years and come with a standard manufacturer warranty of 25 years. Their affordability, easy portability, straightforward installation process, and sleek aesthetic make them an ideal choice for budget-conscious households.

Regions with moderate climates, such as the East Coast and Midwest, are best suited for 3-tab shingle roofs. However, if your property is located in an area with extreme winter conditions or regular storms or blizzards, you might want to explore alternative roofing options.[1]

Dimensional shingles: 

Often referred to as architectural shingles, dimensional shingles are constructed from fiberglass and coated with a slim layer of asphalt. This composition lends them a three-dimensional look and texture. Renowned for their superior durability, these shingles typically have a lifespan of about 25 years.

Most manufacturers offer warranties for dimensional shingles that extend up to 30 years, reflecting their sturdy construction. These shingles are built with multiple layers for additional strength and reinforcement.

As a result, you should anticipate investing a bit more in dimensional shingles compared to the cost of 3-tab shingles.

Premium shingles: 

Premium asphalt shingles are designed with a more pronounced profile than 3-tab shingles, enhancing the depth of your roof. They also have an extended lifespan, typically lasting between 20 to 30 years. These premium shingles often exhibit a more luxurious aesthetic and are commonly used in upscale residences.

One of their key benefits is their ability to mimic the appearance of pricier materials such as genuine slate or cedar shake shingles, while being significantly more cost-effective.

If your home is situated in an area that frequently experiences extreme weather conditions like tornadoes, hurricanes, or sizable hail, premium asphalt shingles can be a worthwhile investment. Depending on the installation method, they can resist wind speeds ranging from 110 MPH to 130 MPH.

  1. The quality of the roofer’s workmanship  

The longevity of your asphalt roof, whether you need minor repairs or a total replacement, heavily relies on the contractor you choose. Engaging a well-established roofing company ensures you receive top-notch service and roofing materials backed by both manufacturer and workmanship warranties.

To safeguard your roofing investment, it’s crucial to employ a reliable roofing contractor. A commitment to high-quality roofing materials coupled with professional installation will maximize your roof’s lifespan.

Hence, it’s vital to hire a roofing contractor with a solid history of quality workmanship. Poor installation techniques can drastically reduce the life expectancy of your roof, leading to premature replacement.

When on the hunt for a local roofing contractor, merely asking for references from their past projects isn’t sufficient.

  1. The weather conditions in your area  

Every roof inevitably undergoes wear and tear due to weather conditions over its lifespan. The rate of deterioration of your asphalt roof is directly related to the harshness of the climate in your locality.

Living in areas with intense sunlight exposure, such as southern California, Texas, Nevada, New Mexico, or Arizona, may result in your asphalt shingle roof having a shorter lifespan compared to those in the Midwest or Northeast.

This is because asphalt roofs in hotter climates are more susceptible to thermal shock or heat-induced issues that can cause cracking, leading to early roof failure.

Moreover, if you live in an area frequently hit by small hail, your shingles will experience accelerated granular loss. This will shorten your asphalt roof’s lifespan, and it’s important to note that this may not be covered by insurance claims.

Therefore, if you reside in a warmer region with an asphalt shingle roof, regular inspections are advisable. If you’re considering installing an asphalt shingle roof in a warm climate, it’s crucial to get a professional roofer’s endorsement first. While you can’t control the weather, being aware of its impact on your roof’s longevity is essential.

  1. Do you have proper attic ventilation? 

The condition of your roof largely depends on the effectiveness of your attic’s ventilation. A properly ventilated attic helps maintain a consistent temperature throughout the year by minimizing the accumulation of heat and moisture during various seasons.

Roof vents play a crucial role in ensuring adequate air circulation as they aid in releasing excess heat and moisture, which if untreated, could potentially damage your property. Preventing your attic from overheating can lead to savings on your energy bills and reduce the risk of destructive ice dams forming on your roof.

Regions experiencing both scorching summers and freezing winters are vulnerable to the effects of heat and moisture accumulation in the attic, though for varied reasons. Damage from extreme temperatures and moisture build-up in a poorly ventilated attic can significantly shorten the lifespan of an asphalt roof.

Unchecked moisture accumulation in your attic may also result in a leaky roof. Moreover, inadequate ventilation could render your roofing materials’ manufacturer warranty null and void.

  1. Your asphalt roof’s maintenance 

Can you recall the last time you checked your roof? Have you spotted any cracks or tears, or perhaps an attractive layer of moss? If the state of your roof concerns you, it’s crucial to have regular inspections and maintenance.

Allowing debris to pile up on the roof keeps it damp, providing a conducive environment for moss growth. Constantly wet shingles lose their protective properties, leaving your home exposed to the elements.

Hence, annual preventative roof maintenance is key to extending its lifespan. It’s important not to let anything accumulate on your roof, valleys, or gutter lines and downspouts, as this could potentially lead to roof leaks.

Regular roof maintenance allows for early detection and resolution of common roofing problems, preventing them from causing significant damage.

When should you replace your asphalt roof? 

After reading this, you should have a clear understanding of the expected lifespan of your asphalt roof and the five elements that influence it. This knowledge can be beneficial if you’re thinking about replacing your roof.

Luckily, we’ve thought this through in advance. Like any significant investment, knowing when to repair your asphalt roof is all about recognizing the signs:

  • Your roof was damaged by last night’s storm.
  • A few shingles are missing from your roof.
  • It’s been 20 years since you installed asphalt on your roof.
  • The damage to your roof is clearly visible.

Asphalt shingles’ black asphalt top layer forms a waterproof, UV-resistant, and wind-resistant cover over a base of organic material and cement fibers when heated by the sun. If your asphalt shingles are cracked, curled, or missing granules, they need to be repaired or replaced.

When should you replace your asphalt roof

You should have a professional inspect your roof after 15 years, particularly if you’ve experienced severe weather. It’s possible that a hailstorm, blizzard, or tornado could significantly shorten your roof’s lifespan, necessitating extensive repairs or replacement.

Since 2009, Nitro Roofing has been providing its services to the people of Ohio and the surrounding areas. Our skilled and experienced team can handle all your roofing needs, from regular maintenance and repairs to full replacement.

Are you trying to decide if it’s time to replace your asphalt roof? Or are you trying to choose the right shingle? Regardless of your situation, it’s essential to know how long an asphalt roof lasts.

While manufacturers might claim 25 or 30 years, that’s not the whole story. That’s why homeowners often ask, “Will my 30-year shingle actually last 30 years?”

For over 30 years, the team at Nitro Roofing has assisted homeowners in navigating the intricacies of the roofing industry. As a result, I’ll provide you with a transparent overview of an asphalt roof’s lifespan.

This article answers the following questions:

  • What is the average lifespan of an asphalt roof?
  • How long does a 3-tab asphalt roof last?
  • How long does an architectural asphalt roof last?
  • How long does a luxury asphalt roof last?
  • What factors affect the lifespan of an asphalt roof?

6 factors that shorten asphalt roof life

The choice of shingle plays a crucial role in determining the lifespan of your asphalt roof. However, it’s important to note that several factors can influence the ultimate durability of your roof. Here are six key factors that directly impact the longevity of an asphalt roof.

  1. Installation quality

The primary factor that determines the lifespan of your asphalt roof is the quality of its installation. Regardless of the type of shingle you choose, an asphalt roof that’s not properly installed will never be able to reach its maximum potential.

Poor installation can result from substandard workmanship, insufficient attic ventilation, incorrect nailing, and adverse weather conditions during the roof replacement process. If your asphalt roof is not correctly installed, it will require frequent repairs throughout its life until it fails prematurely.

Regrettably, this often results in the need for another replacement much sooner than expected. Fortunately, you can prevent improper installation by engaging a reliable roofing contractor with a solid track record of successful installations.

6 factors that shorten asphalt roof life
  1. Attic ventilation

Beyond the quality of installation, appropriate attic ventilation is a critical factor in determining the longevity of an asphalt roof. Although insufficient attic ventilation can be a result of poor roof installation, it’s significant enough to be considered separately.

If your attic isn’t adequately ventilated, the trapped air can drastically reduce the lifespan of your asphalt roof. For instance, insufficient attic ventilation during the summer can cause heat to accumulate to the point where it literally scorches your roof, deteriorates the adhesives in the decking, and results in cracked or curled shingles.

Regardless of whether it’s cold air in the winter or hot air in the summer, the lifespan of your asphalt roof will be adversely affected by a poorly ventilated attic.

  1. Investing in quality materials and components

Investing in a new asphalt roof can be costly, but the value you receive is proportional to your investment. Consequently, the longevity of your asphalt roof is significantly influenced by the quality of the materials and components used.

Opting for a budget-friendly roof often means settling for not just the lowest-cost roofing materials, but also the least expensive labor to install them. I can assure you that this will reflect in the final quality of your roof, resulting in an asphalt roof that doesn’t last as long as it should.

I am not suggesting that you exhaust your resources by purchasing the priciest asphalt roof available. However, it’s always wise to prioritize and invest in quality over choosing the least expensive option.

  1. The weather in your area

Every roof inevitably undergoes weather-related wear and tear over time. However, the frequency of severe weather in your location plays a significant role in determining the lifespan of an asphalt roof.

For instance, asphalt shingles tend to lose their granules more rapidly in regions prone to hail storms, which can reduce the roof’s longevity. Some states even mandate the use of impact-resistant shingles due to the regular occurrence of these storms.

The more your asphalt roof is exposed to harsh weather conditions, the more it affects its durability. Be aware that you have the option to file an insurance claim (unless explicitly excluded) for damage caused by hail or wind if your asphalt roof suffers from a severe storm.

  1. The direction your asphalt roof faces

While it somewhat relates to weather, the orientation of your asphalt roof significantly affects its longevity. Although shingles are designed to resist UV light, those parts of your roof that endure prolonged exposure to sunlight tend to show signs of wear and tear earlier.

For instance, if your roof faces either east or west, both sides receive an equal amount of direct sunlight throughout the day. However, if it faces south, only the south side is subjected to direct sunlight all day, absorbing the majority of weather-related damage.

This situation can also result in parts of your roof not drying out after rainfall, encouraging moss growth and leaving damp debris on your roof for extended periods. This not only potentially leads to leaks but also reduces the lifespan of the asphalt shingles.

  1. Maintaining your asphalt roof after installation

While it somewhat relates to weather, the orientation of your asphalt roof significantly affects its longevity. Although shingles are designed to resist UV light, those parts of your roof that endure prolonged exposure to sunlight tend to show signs of wear and tear earlier.

For instance, if your roof faces either east or west, both sides receive an equal amount of direct sunlight throughout the day. However, if it faces south, only the south side is subjected to direct sunlight all day, absorbing the majority of weather-related damage.

This situation can also result in parts of your roof not drying out after rainfall, encouraging moss growth and leaving damp debris on your roof for extended periods. This not only potentially leads to leaks but also reduces the lifespan of the asphalt shingles.