How long do asphalt shingles last? The immediate answer is between 15 and 25 years depending on the conditions they face. There are even cases in which these shingles can leak, but it does not necessarily mean that we must replace the entire roof if they remain within their useful life. In some cases, roof repair may be sufficient to address the issue.

The roof in the homes is, in general, an element that is not taken into consideration until it is too late to make small repairs, which causes us to have a large number of leaks inside the construction.

A frequent mistake is to think that since the roof lifespan is 30 years, we do not have to carry out frequent inspections to see its status. This is false, since, regardless of the guarantee of the roof, there are always factors that can shorten its life.

The National Roofing Contractors Association recommends that all owners carry out two annual inspections of the roof, one being in spring and the other in autumn, so that we can check if the construction is prepared to face the cold of winter and the scorching heat of summer.

When it comes to ceilings, perhaps one of the most common materials for its construction is asphalt. This allows the structure to be waterproofed, in addition to coming in many different shapes and colors.

Although a roof built with asphalt shingles has considerable durability and strength, it will not last forever. How long does a roof last? We will answer this question in more detail below so that you become an expert in roof design.

How long do asphalt shingles last? Let’s find out

Not all asphalt shingles are the same

Image source: Patriot Roofing

The market is saturated with asphalt or composite shingles. These are economical, and as we mentioned before, they have a wide variety of designs, so we can install them in virtually any home.

The average lifetime of an asphalt shingle is lower than that of other types of roofs, but this can be increased depending on the type we select. Among the different options available are:

– 3-tab shingle: this is the most basic of asphalt shingles. These are not very thick or resistant, which makes them practically disposable. Although their lifespan is between 10 to 20 years, they are the most economical, so they are not difficult to replace. These do not support winds greater than 70MPH, so they are mostly used in temperate regions.

Image source: Custom Home Group

– Architectural shingles: the thickness of the architectural shingles is greater than that of the previous option, which makes them much more durable to different climates. Its lifespan extends over 5 years and can last between 15 and 25 years. They are also known in the market as dimensional shingles.

– Premium asphalt shingles: the most expensive and most durable alternative. These shingles seem to be made of natural slate because of their thickness and lamination. The great advantage of these shingles is that their useful life is up to 50 years.

How often should I replace my roof?

Here are some tips so you know when the best time to change your roof is.

When was the last modification?

Image source: Tyler Karu Design + Interiors

How long do asphalt shingles last? Ask yourself this question while you remember when was the last time you changed or repaired your roof. Keep in mind that after 20 years, an asphalt roof can begin to present serious failures, so it is important to remember the date of when you installed it.

Additionally, if you have previously repaired your roof using an overlay technique (that is, repairs on the existing roof), the roof life may be much smaller than you think. Although overlapping is a quick way to repair small problems, it can hide major faults, so it is recommended to replace the roof.

Shingles curling and buckling – signs of wear

Either because they exceeded their useful life, or because the manufacturing of the shingles was defective, they may begin to present curling or buckling, which means that it is time to replace them.

These damages occur more frequently where the sun falls directly on the roof. The curling can be identified because the sides of the shingles are rising as if to roll up.

Another possibility is that the sides remain flat while the center of the shingle begins to peel off or lose granules. How long do asphalt shingles last when they present these imperfections? Between 1 and 5 years.

Rust in the roof valleys

It is defined as a valley to the convergence of two sloping roofs (downwards) through which snow or water is guided to reach the gutters. As this part is constantly exposed to moisture, it can start to rust at any time, which will lead to unwanted leaks.

Dark stripes on the roof

Do not panic, the dark stripes on the asphalt shingles do not have anything to do with the average roof life, so you should not run to replace it. The first thing is to know that these stripes are generated by the existence of an algae called Gloeocapsa Magma, which travels through airborne spores.

These adhere to the ceiling, causing those nasty dark stains. However, these can be removed using a mixture of water and bleach. Simply spray the roof gently with a low-pressure hose to avoid damaging the shingles.

Check the gutters constantly

If you find granules of the asphalt shingles in the gutters, then you will most likely have to replace the roof. Although it is normal for these to lose some granules during their useful life, when the loss is very constant, it means that they will not be able to endure much.

A large chessboard

There is no problem with replacing only a pair of shingles that have worn out (as long as these are not due to major problems). The integrity of the roof should be maintained even with minor repairs. However, you should be aware that a new asphalt shingle will stand out from the rest for its color.

It does not matter if it is the same brand, the sun and the rain will have already deteriorated the old ones, which will leave it with different tones. Some people do not enjoy this uneven aesthetic, so they prefer to change the entire roof, and it is a valid option.

Dark streaks in the leaks

If you begin to notice moisture spots on the bottom edges of the roof (or on the top of the walls), then it is likely that the water is leaking somewhere. You should try to quickly identify the leak, or it could compromise your home’s structure.

Moisture wreaks havoc

How long do asphalt shingles last? Well, in case of moisture damage, very little. Like cardboard, asphalt can be seriously compromised by water. When you see a sunken section on your roof, run immediately to see if it is affected by moisture.

Slightly prick the sunken areas on the shingles, and if you feel them soft and wet, then they have already absorbed enough water to start causing damage. This sign of rot is an alert to call an expert to inspect your roof.

The sunlight does not lie

One of the easiest ways to identify a leak is if, when walking inside your home, you can see rays of light coming from your roof. If so, it means that the shingle has a hole and that it must be replaced.

Shingle cracks

In areas where the wind is relentless, asphalt shingles can begin to crack. If the cracked shingles are concentrated in one area, it is possible to replace only a few. If, on the contrary, cracks are forming in random shingles throughout the roof, you will most likely have to change the entire roof.

Broken or worn joints

The joints or flashings are the areas that are filled with concrete, tar or metal on the roof and that can usually be found around the elements that protrude from the ceiling, such as chimneys or ventilation pipes. If these joints are cracked, the water will begin to leak.

Ice damming is a serious problem.

Although they can look very beautiful in a winter landscape, the appearance of ice damming on a roof is a sign that the ventilation is not working.

This occurs because the heat of the attic is not well distributed, which causes the ice on the roof to melt, and moves to the gutters to freeze again. If we do not remove them quickly, we will soon have large amounts of ice accumulated on our roof.

Think ahead for your roof

Don’t just be guided by what is more economical. Think ahead about the installation of your roof. For example, today there are many options for maximum energy efficiency. These cold roofs specialize in reflecting the sun’s rays to maintain a cool temperature inside the home, which will reduce our energy bill in the hottest months.

Remember to keep the perimeter of your home free of trees, as these can be deadly projectiles during a storm. They are also a ladder for wild animals.

After a storm, be it snow or rain; check your roof carefully for any kind of damage. This will prevent us from having future problems. Also, have the guarantee of your roof on hand in case it starts to fail before the due time.

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