Roofers started using asphalt material for shingles in the 1920s, and it has continued to be a popular roofing option. Now, asphalt shingles are the most common roof shingle material, and they are known for their durability, easy maintenance and waterproof features. However, asphalt shingles naturally deteriorate as they age, meaning you will eventually need a roof replacement.
The aging process of asphalt roofing systems can be affected by various things, including the following:
1. Shingle Quality
High-quality shingles will last longer than the low-quality “economy” ones. The lifespan and quality of shingles vary among manufacturers.
2. Thermal Cycling
Thermal cycling is the process of roofs getting hot during the day and cold during the night. Temperature changes can cause asphalt shingles to expand in the heat and contract in the cold. Severe temperature changes in a short amount of time are damaging to shingles because they cannot expand and contract at their natural pace. Since the shingles cannot adapt, it may cause splits and cracks where water can seep in. Constant exposure to thermal cycling can shorten a roof’s lifespan.
3. Roof Orientation
Roofs that face east and west receive an equal amount of sunlight on each side throughout the day. North and south-facing roof slopes tend to deteriorate faster due to increased sunlight exposure on the south side and thermal cycling. Also, some areas of the roof are more exposed to prevailing winds.
4. Roof Slope
Flat roofs usually have a shorter lifespan since they shed water slower. They are also more exposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation than sloped roofs. Steeped roofs naturally shed water better, so it can’t accumulate.
5. Multiple Layers
A multiple layer roof is when there is a new roof layer on top of an existing roof. The asphalt shingle roof’s average life is short in these circumstances.
Houses located at higher elevations are more exposed to UV radiation, which can deteriorate most roofing materials.
How often do you contact roofers to get your system checked? Neglect and delaying repairs can cause your roof to deteriorate faster. Proper maintenance can help prolong the life of your roof and prevent leaks that would otherwise result in costly water damage.
8. Roof Ventilation
Insufficient ventilation reduces the lifespan of shingles because hot and cold air gets trapped in the attic. Failure to keep shingles cool results in increased volatile loss and greater amounts of thermal cycling. Heat can also burn your roof system, requiring a full roof replacement.
Harsh climate and weather conditions can reduce roof lifespans. Wind, moisture and thermal cycling can compromise the structural integrity of your roofing system. As the freezing and thawing cycles in the colder months cause the roof to move, and water in the cracks will expand and can cause damage. Moisture can also promote algae and fungus growth.
Lighter roofs reflect heat while darker ones absorb it. Heat can accelerate volatile loss and increase thermal cycling. Houses in warmer climates should have light-colored shingles to help them absorb less heat and last longer.
11. Installation Quality
The asphalt shingle quality depends on how it was installed. Roofs that were poorly installed will not last as long.
12. Trees Near the Roof
If a tree grows too close to the roof, its branches can rub on the asphalt shingles, causing excess wear. The tree’s leaves, which can be acidic, can also accumulate on the roof. Additionally, debris traps moisture, which can cause the shingles to deteriorate since they can’t dry out. The rubbing, acidity and moisture can lower asphalt shingles’ lifespan.
What Is the Average Life of an Asphalt Shingle Roof?
Your asphalt shingle lifespan will depend on the factors listed above. Keeping an eye on your roof can help you identify problems and get repairs right away, which helps extend your roof’s life. However, the climate and installation quality can reduce the lifespan.
The average life of an asphalt shingle roof depends on the materials used. Three-tab asphalt shingles generally last 15 to 18 years, and architectural asphalt shingles can last 24 to 30 years.
Climate is a big factor in the longevity of an asphalt shingle roof, though. For instance, the average lifespan of asphalt shingles is around 14 years in warm climates like the Southwest and 19 to 20 years in the cooler regions of the North and Northeast.
In Raleigh, NC, and throughout the Triangle region, your roof endures all four seasons, which causes wear and tear on your asphalt roof. Our asphalt shingle repair service at Scro’s Roofing will restore your roof, so it can protect your home and family for years.
Get a Free Estimate for Your Asphalt Shingle Roof
Turn to Scro’s Roofing Company for reliable roofing services. We specialize in roof replacement, repair and maintenance. You can also count on us for seamless aluminum gutter and downspout installation. We are proud to serve Raleigh, NC, and the Triangle since 1995. As a family-owned roofing company, we deeply care about and are invested in our community. We are the area’s asphalt roof experts with our GAF Master Elite® certification, a credential that only a few roofing companies in the country have.
Call us at 919-551-5104, or complete our contact form to request a free estimate.
*last updated: 1/18/21