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How Long Does an Asphalt Roof Last?

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The demand for asphalt shingles in the United States is expected to reach a staggering 136.9 million squares in 2021. This growth will be spurred by, among other things, the increase in expenditure on residential building construction.

As of 2020, asphalt shingles are still the most preferred shingle type in the United States. That’s because an asphalt roof is comparatively easier to install and more cost-effective compared to most other roofs.

But perhaps the top reason many builders opt for asphalt roof installation is that these roofs are quite durable. But exactly how long does an asphalt roof last? What factors affect its lifespan, and what can you do to increase it?

These are some of the issues that we discuss in this comprehensive guide. By the time you’re through reading, we hope you’ll have all the information you need as you invest in this one-of-a-kind roofing option.

What’s the Average Lifespan of Asphalt Roof?

Fiberglass shingles are typically made using a glass fiber mat that’s in the shape of a shingle. The fiberglass mat itself isn’t waterproof. Fillers used as an adhesive are mixed with asphalt before being applied to the fiberglass mat to make it waterproof.

The asphalt usually clings to the mat, filling any little holes and gaps. Next, granules are embedded on top of the asphalt. These granules are for aesthetic purposes, although they also help protect the shingle from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation.

So how long does the typical asphalt shingle roof last? The best way to answer this question is by examining the three popular kinds of fiberglass asphalt shingles.

3-Tab Shingles

3-tab shingles are arguably the most popular material when it comes to sloped asphalt roof installation. That’s because these shingles are relatively inexpensive, widely available, and quite durable. Generally, 3-tab shingles last between 10 and 20 years.

The most important thing to keep in mind when considering 3-tab shingles is that they perform best in more temperate climates. If you live on the east coast or mid-west, then a 3-tab shingle roof is a great option. Property owners in very cold winters or areas prone to blizzards and storms should consider alternative options.

Architectural or Dimensional Shingles

Architectural or dimensional shingles tend to be thicker than 3-tab shingles. They’re therefore more durable and can work well in areas with extreme weather conditions. As expected, these shingles are pricier than their 3-tab counterparts.

Architectural or dimensional shingles typically last between 15 and 25 years.

Premium Shingles

Just like their name suggests, premium shingles are top quality and luxurious. These shingles can also withstand extreme weather. On average, premium shingles last between 20 and 30 years.

Factors That Can Affect the Lifespan of Your Asphalt Roof

Regardless of the type of asphalt shingles you use for your roof, there are certain factors that can affect how long your roof lasts. Some of these factors are within your control, while some are natural. Below, we discuss these factors.

Weather Conditions

The primary purpose of your roof is to offer protection against weather elements. But when weather conditions are too harsh, they can put excessive pressure on your asphalt roof and damage it over time, reducing its lifespan. Strong winds, hailstorms, and heavy downpours can damage your roof.

Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do to control the elements. However, you can make sure you opt for architectural or premium shingles as these perform better in areas that usually experience extreme weather.


Installation errors are among the top causes of premature roof problems. It’s why asphalt roofs should always be installed by experienced roofing contractors. That helps you avoid early deterioration and premature roof replacements.

Hire a contractor from a good roofing company who understands asphalt roofing and whose laborers have the required expertise to get the job done. Even better, find a good roofing company that offers a service warranty as this shows that they trust their workmanship.

Sun Exposure

The sun may be beneficial to your health, but it can hurt your asphalt roof. Too much heat can speed up wear and tear. In many cases, asphalt roofs are dark in color, which leads to greater absorption of heat.

UV radiation usually increases a roof’s degradation, sometimes causing cracks. Of course, you can choose brightly colored shingles that better reflect the sun’s rays to minimize damage.


The pitch of your roof determines how the roof sheds rainwater. Flat and low-sloped roofs tend to have a drainage problem. Standing water and snow on the roof can lead to water or hail damage on the roof’s material over time.

However, a seasoned contractor will usually know the ideal angle to set the roof to avoid water paddling and snow dams.


Your attics ventilation plays a huge role in the health of your roof. Poor ventilation causes asphalt shingles to weaken as there’s no escape route for moisture and heat in your home. Once the heat and moisture build-up within your attic, they start to damage the shingles from the inside.

On the other hand, proper ventilation allows heat and moisture to escape, keeping the space comfortable and your roof secure.


Poor insulation has a similar effect as poor ventilation. It makes it more difficult to regulate indoor temperatures. Too much heat and humidity, as we mentioned earlier, can cause damage to the shingles.

The added advantage of insulating every corner of your living space, of course, is that it cuts your heating and cooling expenses.


All roofs need proper maintenance to last their full lifespan. Lack of maintenance or poor care can cause your asphalt roof to deteriorate faster than it should. It can also cause your roof’s warranty to lapse.

Get in contact with a professional to regularly inspect your roof for any problems such as missing, cracked, or broken shingles. A roofing expert can also check for leaks and other potential problems and fix the issues promptly.

Signs It’s Time to Repair or Replace Your Asphalt Shingle Roof

The roof is an essential part of your home, so it’s paramount that it stays in good condition at all times. But, as you already know, every roof will at some point need to be repaired replaced. In this section, we discuss four tell-tale signs that you should start thinking of repairing or replacing your asphalt shingle roof.

Missing Granules

Missing granules usually look like dark patches on brightly colored shingles when viewed from the ground. If the shingles are dark or black, missing granules look like lighter patches. Another indication that your roof has missing granules is lots of granules in your gutters when you’re cleaning them.

The loss of granules will not adversely affect the waterproofing features of your roof, so you don’t need to worry about leaks. However, the shingles will experience faster wear. That’s because the primary function of granules is to protect the asphalt in shingles from damage by the sun’s harmful UV rays.

For this reason, get a roof repair expert to address the problem promptly.

Curling Shingles

Curling is caused by the drying and shrinking of the asphalt in the shingles over time. This causes the shingles to become brittle. The main problem is that these shingles tend to get blown off during high winds.

Unfortunately, there’s no repair for this problem besides replacing the affected tiles. Where the problem is widespread on your asphalt roof, it’s time to think of a new roof.

Too Much Moss

Moss growth on asphalt shingles doesn’t necessarily indicate that your roof is old or worn out, especially if the issue is in only one part of your roof. In most cases, the solution is to simply clean the affected shingles to remove the moss.

Sometimes, however, the moss growth is widespread and has been on your roof for some time. This may cause the shingles to get damaged. Usually, the moss gets under the shingles and starts to lift them, affecting your roof’s drainage and causing leaks.

If you take care of the moss early enough, then it won’t affect your roof. However, when the problem is left unchecked, it can damage your roof and shorten its lifespan.

Your Roof Has Aged

Earlier, we mentioned that various kinds of asphalt shingles have different lifespans. Depending on the type of shingles you are using, you need to prepare when the shingles approach their end of life. If your roof is 15-20 years old, shingles will inevitably start to fail.

Instead of spending money on frequent repairs, it’s time to start thinking of a complete roof replacement.

How Long Does an Asphalt Roof Last? You Now Have the Answer

Installing an asphalt roof on your property can significantly enhance its visual appeal and value. Of course, one of the first questions you may ask before making the investment is: how long does an asphalt roof last? The answer depends on a variety of factors, including the specific asphalt shingles you’re using, environmental factors, installation, sun exposure, and ventilation.

Are you looking for the ideal asphalt roof installation, repair, or maintenance services for your property? Please contact us today.

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