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How Long Do 30-Year Architectural Shingles Really Last?

July 1st, 2022 | 6 min. read

How Long Do 30-Year Architectural Shingles Really Last?

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Architectural asphalt shingles have a manufacturer-specified lifespan of 30 years. So, you probably think you’ll get 30 years out of your roof. 

Unfortunately, this is one of the biggest misconceptions in the roofing industry. The truth is, architectural asphalt shingles won’t last the full 30 years. 

So, how long will they really last? 

For over 30 years, the team at Bill Ragan Roofing has provided unbiased roofing information to homeowners like you. Because of this, I want to give you an honest answer about the lifespan of 30-year shingles. 

I’ll start this article by answering how long architectural shingles really last upfront. After that, you’ll learn the 3 signs that it’s time to replace your shingles.  

How long do 30-year architectural shingles really last?

So, if architectural shingles won’t last 30 years, how long will they really last? Architectural asphalt shingles should live around 80-85% of their maximum lifespan. 

This means architectural shingles should realistically last around 22-25 years. Now, keep in mind that your shingles may not even last this long. 

How long they’ll ultimately last comes down to the multiple factors that impact the lifespan of architectural shingles. These factors include:

  • The quality of asphalt shingle installation
  • Adequate attic ventilated 
  • The weather the shingles are exposed to
  • The direction the roof faces 
  • The amount of maintenance 

If the shingles aren’t properly installed and your attic isn’t properly ventilated, you won’t get near the 25-year mark. You’ll honestly be lucky to get 10, maybe 15, years out of your roof without these two crucial roofing practices. 

But as long as you hire a great roofing contractor and invest in maintenance, your architectural shingles should get as close as possible to their maximum lifespan.  

The 3 signs that it’s time to replace asphalt shingles

Now you know how long asphalt shingles should really last. But the truth is, most homeowners don’t keep track of their roof’s age. 

That’s why you need to know when your roof is telling you it’s time to replace your asphalt shingles. Let’s get to the 3 signs that it’s time to replace your asphalt shingles. 

1. The asphalt shingles fail prematurely

When your roofing contractor doesn’t use correct roofing techniques, your roof will not get anywhere near its maximum lifespan. In fact, this leads to premature roof failure most of the time. 

Premature roof failure means you need a new roof well before you should need one. Two of the main causes are improper roof installation and inadequate attic ventilation. 

improperly installed asphalt shingles

If your shingles aren’t installed correctly, they’ll look uneven or wavy, you’ll find them in your yard, or even have full sections sliding off your roof. You’ll also have a leak show up immediately or at some point in the near future. 

If your attic isn’t properly ventilated, the damage caused by trapped hot and cold air will drastically shorten your roof’s life. Trapped hot air literally burns your roof up, causes the adhesives in the decking to deteriorate, and leads to your asphalt shingles cracking or curling.

roof damage from inadequate ventilation

On the other hand, trapped cold air mixes with the heat and moisture from the interior of your home, which causes condensation. This condensation causes your roof’s decking to swell and leads to your roof having a wavy look.

Not only does improper installation and inadequate ventilation lead to premature roof failure, but they also void the warranties on your shingles and other roofing materials. This leaves you with only the contractor’s workmanship warranty to fall back on to fix or replace your prematurely failed roof. 

2. Storm damage to the asphalt shingles

Every roof goes through wear and tear throughout its lifetime. But the weather where you live and the kind of storms your roof faces determines how fast this wear and tear affects its lifespan. hail and wind damage to asphalt shingles(Left: hail damage, Right: wind damage)

While normal weather events lead to wear and tear, extreme weather poses a real problem when it comes to your asphalt shingles. Straight-line winds, hail, and tornadoes can do heavy damage to your roof and lead to a roof replacement if the shingles are compromised. 

Some common signs of the storm damage are:

  • Missing, lifted, or creased shingles
  • A full tree or tree limbs on/through your roof  
  • 1” diameter hail dents on the shingles
  • Dents or dings on roof flashing or roof vents
  • Granules on the ground or gutters after a storm

If you have noticed any of the above after a strong storm, it’s a sign you probably need a new asphalt roof. This is where your homeowners insurance policy comes into play. 

Depending on your policy, you could get your full roof replaced by having even one of the common signs. However, your insurance company and adjuster have the final say on whether or not you have a claim. 

3. Your asphalt shingles are around 20 years old

The last sign you need to replace your asphalt shingles is that it’s the right time. If everything was done correctly during installation, no extreme weather hit it, and it was properly maintained, your roofing materials have simply reached the end of their lifespan. 

Because architectural shingles last around 25 years, you should start considering a roof replacement around the 20-year mark. I’m not saying you have to replace it immediately, but I recommend starting to budget once you get past 20 years. 

This ensures that you’ll be financially ready when the time comes for the replacement. I understand that spending money on a new roof is not fun. 

But reaching this point means your original roof investment was worth it, and you got the return that was expected. 

How much will a new asphalt shingle roof cost?

Now you know the 3 signs that your asphalt shingles need to be replaced. As long as you hired a great roofing contractor and it doesn’t get hit by extreme weather, you should have no problem with your roof failing prematurely. 

But remember, you need to start budgeting around the 20-year mark for an architectural asphalt shingle roof replacement. The problem is that you can’t budget if you don’t know the price point. 

Unfortunately, I can’t put an exact number on the cost because of multiple pricing factors. However, I can at least give you a good budgeting number.

That’s why I wrote another article breaking down how much a new asphalt shingle roof costs. 

The team at Bill Ragan Roofing has provided high-quality asphalt roof replacements to thousands of homeowners in Nashville and surrounding Middle Tennessee areas since 1990. We take pride in our workmanship and offer a lifetime craftsmanship guarantee to back it up. 

Check out How Much Does a New Asphalt Roof Cost: Pricing, Factors & Considerations to learn the budget you’ll need for an asphalt roof replacement.

roof cost calculator


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