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What's the Life Expectancy of an Asphalt Roof

Asphalt Shingled Home

High-quality asphalt shingles can last up to 40 years with proper installation.

Asphalt shingles are the most popular roofing material around. They're affordable and most are covered by either a 25 or 30-year warranty. But if you've recently bought a house with an asphalt roof, you may be wondering how long you can expect the roof to last. Even if you've been living in your home for several years, it's a good idea to know if your roof is close to the end of its life expectancy to avoid potential problems.

How often should a roof be replaced?

You don't want to invest in a new roof before it's necessary. Worse, you don't want to have to deal with a leaky roof. The lifespan of a roof is determined by the materials and workmanship, as well as weather conditions. Asphalt shingles have been used since the 1920s and are still installed on the majority of homes today. 3-tab shingles generally last 15 to 18 years on average and are cheaper, while architectural shingles can last 24 to 40 years. When installed by a quality roofing company, like Klaus Larsen, many asphalt shingle roofs installed in the Northeastern region of the United States last longer than 15 years; some can hold up well for 40 years or longer, except in the event of a severe storm or a large fallen tree that causes severe structural damage. Read on to learn about the factors that impact the life expectancy of asphalt shingles so you can better decide when it's time for a roof replacement.

These are the most common factors that can shorten the lifespan of your asphalt roof:

1. Temperature and weather

Asphalt roofs are affected by weather, so shingles in colder places such as the North and Northeast tend to last 19-20+ years, while those found in the South and Southwest last around 14 years. Shingles are affected by drastic temperature changes, as they cannot expand and contract as they should during normal temperature variations. Due to this, splits, cracks, and other damage, allowing water to leak through, causing algae growth, fungal growth, and leaks. The excess water buildup can also increase shingle breakage in the wintertime due to excessive freezing and thawing, causing the shingles to wear down and lose their integrity.

The internal temperature of the house affects the shingles as well. Poor attic ventilation can cause extra heat to build up in the attic over the summer, effectively cooking the shingles and causing them to deteriorate prematurely and warp. Condensation can also cause the roof deck to swell, making the deck and the shingles buckle and warp, eventually rotting the roofing deck. In the winter, warm air travels up from the living space below, and if it's not vented out, it can cause the snow on top of the roof to melt and then refreeze, creating ice dams.

2. Roof design

Other factors affecting life expectancy include the roof's angle, slope, and orientation. Higher pitch roofs tend to last longer because water quickly runs off the steeper slopes and into the gutter. Roofs facing the south will get more sunlight and therefore have a shorter life due to excessive heat, and so will a roof installed over an existing roof. Even shingle color can affect their performance, as darker roofs tend to absorb more heat if the attic doesn't have adequate insulation.

3. Type of shingles and manufacturer

Not all shingles are created equal. Asphalt shingles can provide a durable layer of protection from UV rays, wind, and rain. However, the type of shingles you choose and their manufacturing can greatly impact the durability and life expectancy of your roof. Architectural shingles are significantly denser than standard asphalt shingles, so they create a thicker, more durable roof. An asphalt coating is what makes shingles last longer. These multiple layers that enhance their durability also mimic the patterns and textures found in more expensive roofing materials, including wood, slate, or tile. When it's time for a roof replacement, keep in mind that cheaper types of shingles don't typically last as long as premium shingles.

Klaus Larsen uses IKO shingles that contain higher levels of asphalt than shingle products from other manufacturers. IKO shingles also have four strips of sealant to better hold the shingles together and a larger nailing strip to firmly keep the shingles in place.

Klaus Larsen contractor installs asphalt shingles

Klaus Larsen uses premium shingles to ensure a long-lasting roof.

4. Installation

A roof is only as good as its materials and installation. Even the highest quality shingles won't last as long if they're installed incorrectly. Although asphalt shingles are the easiest roofing material to install, it’s always a good idea to have a roof installed by a professional roofing contractor.

Along with having knowledge of proper techniques, many professional roofers, including Klaus Larsen, offer warranties and discounts on labor and other benefits. Klaus Larsen offers a 50-year labor warranty on roof replacements.

How do you know your roof needs to be replaced?

These are the eight most common signs that your asphalt shingles have reached the end of their lifespan.

  • The roof is past its expected lifespan - even if it looks to be in good condition
  • Damage from hail or falling branches
  • Curling, cracked, buckling, or damaged shingles
  • Missing shingles or bald patches on shingles
  • Cracked or damaged flashing around vents, chimneys, or skylights
  • Sagging roof or rotted wood
  • Moss growth on shingles
  • Roof leaks

Not all roof damage is visible, so if you suspect damage, call a roofing pro like Klaus Larsen to come out and assess the roof to determine if you need a roof repair or if it's time for a roof replacement.

Worried your roof is on its last leg? Put a Klaus on your house!

If you're worried your roof may not survive much longer, contact Klaus Larsen Roofing right away! We can further examine your roof to determine whether your roof can be repaired, or if it's nearing the end of its usable life and you need a new roof. If you live in Granby, Bloomfield, Simsbury, or nearby areas in Eastern Connecticut or Rhode Island, contact us to schedule a free estimate today!

Updated: August 16, 2022

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