How long do asphalt shingle roofs last?

The most common type of roofing material in North America, asphalt shingles are relatively inexpensive, easy to work with and come in a wide variety of styles. No matter the architecture of your home (flat roofs notwithstanding), asphalt shingles can be used to accentuate the home and are easily matched when repairs become necessary.

So how long can you expect your asphalt roof to last? Not including accidents like fallen trees or other storm damage, asphalt shingle roofs are usually good for 25 to 50 years. A lot of this depends on their installation, so we always recommend using licensed roofing contractors for all re-roofs, installations, and repairs.

There’s more to a roofing system than just the shingles, however. Even the best shingles won’t keep a roof from failing if the underlayment, roof deck, and supporting trusses are poorly installed. In any roofing project, all roofing components should be professionally installed.

There is a matter of safety to consider as well, too. Warner Roofing and Construction has been in the industry for nearly 30 years and always use the appropriate protective gear. This is especially important for heavily sloped roofing or in inclement weather.

Types of Asphalt Shingles Roofs

There are three types of asphalt roofs: 3-tab shingles, architectural shingles (sometimes known as dimensional shingles or laminate shingles), and premium or luxury shingles. The premium shingles are by far the most expensive and don’t really make sense on most homes.

The most common asphalt roof shingles are 3-tab because they fit into almost any budget. Although not as thick or durable as architectural or premium shingles, they still provide a great way to protect your home from the elements. Like all asphalt shingles, mineral granules embedded on the surface as a fire retardant and to help block UV rays.

Architectural shingles are much more heavy-duty than 3-tab, but of course, you’ll pay for that extra bit of protection. They also have more styles than 3-tab and can be made to look like other types of roofing, such as slate or wood shake roofing.

When considering a new roof, or building a new home, think about the style of the home. If you’re building a home with a Cape Cod architecture, architectural shingles will really complete the overall look. If you’re buying a starter home – a little two-bedroom bungalow – and the price is an issue, consider something less expensive.

If you’re building a 5,000 square foot home with all of the bells and whistles, well, finances probably aren’t an issue. At least talk to the architect about premium shingles to see how they will fit into the overall aesthetic of the home. You paid top dollar for those travertine tiles in the foyer, don’t skimp on the roof!

Extending the Lifespan of an Asphalt Shingle Roof

No matter the shingles you decide to use, there are ways you can extend their use. Many of these steps can be done by the homeowner, although some jobs are better left to the experts. One of the easier things you can do is keep the gutters clean.

If gutters are allowed to fill with debris, water will be unable to make it to the downspouts and will pool. When winter arrives and snow and ice make an appearance, all of that standing water can expand under your shingles. When it melts, it can make a way to the underlayment and then the decking.

As temperatures dip below freezing once again, the ice will expand under the shingles, popping nails and allowing more water in. If this happens for three or four months, it could not only affect your roof but the interior of your home as well. Yes, it’s a messy job that usually has to take place when the weather isn’t that great. But if it helps you get a few more years out of your roof, isn’t it worth it?

When you notice moss or algae growing on your roof, it’s important to have it removed as soon as possible. This growth will hold rainwater in place, where it can find the way under and between the shingles. We’ve already discussed what can happen if the water is allowed to freeze.

If you decide to remove the moss yourself, you’ll want to use a soft touch to make sure you don’t do more harm than good. You can use a hose (spraying in a downward motion) to remove the moss, but don’t use a pressure washer. Use a soft-bristle brush (still in a downward motion) to get hard to remove growths. And be careful!

Working in an upward motion or being too aggressive on the shingle surface can remove granules or even damage the shingles themselves. There are also spray-on solutions to remove moss, but they may discolor sidewalks, patios, and decks or harm some plants. Make sure to do your research.

Other steps include replacing damaged shingles, removing debris from the roof, and even remove overhanging branches before they can cause problems. These quick actions and proactive solutions will keep the rest of the roof looking great and prevent any long-lasting problems.

If properly installed and maintained, your asphalt shingle roof should give you at least two decades worth of protection, even longer in some cases. Interested in setting up an annual maintenance plan or have concerns about your roof? Get in touch with Warner Roofing and Construction and let’s see how we can help!

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