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How Long Do Architectural Asphalt Shingles Last?

June 22nd, 2022 | 5 min. read

How Long Do Architectural Asphalt Shingles Last?

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Architectural asphalt shingles are the most common type of roofing material used today. But even though they're the most common, most homeowners don’t know much about them. 

One of the most important things to know about architectural asphalt shingles is their lifespan. Their lifespan tells you the return on investment and, most importantly, when you’ll have to replace your roof down the road. 

So, how long do architectural asphalt shingles last?

For over 30 years, the team at Bill Ragan Roofing has provided honest and unbiased roofing information. Now we’ll do the same for you. 

I start this article by breaking down how long architectural asphalt shingles last. After that, I’ll give you 5 factors that impact an asphalt roof’s lifespan. 

How long do architectural asphalt shingles last?

Architectural asphalt shingles have a manufacturer-specified lifespan of 30 years. But not all architectural asphalt roofs will last this long due to the factors that impact the life of a roof.

architectural asphalt shingles

Architectural asphalt shingles should last around 80-85% of their maximum lifespan. This means architectural shingles will last around 25-28 years if everything is done correctly during your roof replacement.

As I said, plenty of factors determine how long a roof ultimately lasts. But architectural asphalt shingles should get as close as possible to their maximum lifespan as long as your roof is properly installed and properly ventilated.  

5 factors that impact the lifespan of architectural asphalt shingles

Now you know the lifespan of architectural asphalt shingles. I’m sure you also noticed I mentioned “the factors that impact a roof’s lifespan” several times. 

So, what are these factors? For the rest of this article, I’ll break down the 5 main factors that impact the lifespan of architectural asphalt shingles. 

1. Hiring a quality roofing contractor

The roofing contractor you hire to install your architectural asphalt shingles has a huge impact on their lifespan. When they’re installed properly, the lifespan of your shingles and the rest of your roofing materials will be maximized. 

This makes hiring a roofing contractor with a strong installation history crucial. If you hire one that cuts corners or doesn’t use correct roofing techniques, I guarantee your architectural asphalt shingle roof’s life will be cut short.

This leads to a roof replacement well before you should need one. Whether you need architectural asphalt shingle repairs or a full roof replacement, the contractor’s workmanship determines the final quality.

2. Proper attic ventilation

Your attic’s ventilation system allows your home and roof to breathe properly. If your attic isn’t properly ventilated, damage from the trapped hot or cold air will drastically shorten your architectural asphalt shingle roof’s lifespan. 

Along with proper installation, adequate attic ventilation is the biggest factor that plays into a roof’s lifespan. Without it, heat will literally burn up your roof system and lead to a full roof replacement. 

But inadequate attic ventilation doesn't just impact a roof’s lifespan. If it’s not done properly, the material warranties from the manufacturer will be voided.

3. The weather your architectural asphalt shingles are exposed to

Every type of roofing material goes through wear and tear from the weather throughout its life. The climate and temperature in your area play a role in the lifespan of architectural asphalt shingles. 

But it’s really about the amount of extreme weather events the shingles are exposed to. The more extreme weather that hits your roof determines how quickly the wear and tear affect its lifespan.  

For example, let’s say you live in an area that gets a lot of small hail. Well, the more hail that hits the shingles leads to the loss of their protective granules a lot quicker than normal. 

You won’t be able to file an insurance claim for small hail, but it will definitely shorten the lifespan of architectural asphalt shingles over time.

4. The direction your roof faces

The next one on our list is a lesser-known lifespan factor, but it’s still important. This factor is the direction your home faces and the amount of direct sunlight that hits your roof. 

If the architectural asphalt shingle roof faces east and west, each side gets an equal amount of direct sunlight as the day goes on. If it faces the south, only the south side receives direct sunlight all day and takes all the wear and tear from the weather. 

While this factor isn’t talked about a lot, all outside elements impact the life of architectural asphalt shingles. 

5. Getting roof maintenance 

Just like your car needs an oil change, your roof needs maintenance to keep it running smoothly. Because of this, getting roof maintenance is one of the most important factors in the lifespan of architectural asphalt shingles. 

Maintenance lets you know exactly how your entire roof is doing and how much life is left. It even catches common roof problems before they can cause too much expensive damage. 

Roof maintenance is also the perfect time to clear debris off the roof, out of the valleys, and off the gutter line. Without maintenance, wet debris sitting on your architectural asphalt shingles for prolonged periods of time will saturate them. 

They won’t be able to perform their main function when this happens. For all the reasons listed here and more, it’s important to have your architectural asphalt shingle roof maintained at least once a year.  

Is it time to replace your architectural asphalt shingles?

Now you know the main 5 factors that impact how long architectural asphalt shingles last. While it’s great to know how long they should last, you probably don’t actually know how old your roof is. 

That’s why you need to know the signs that your architectural asphalt shingles are ready to be replaced. Because of this, I wrote another article breaking down the 3 signs that it’s time for an asphalt roof replacement. 

The team at Bill Ragan Roofing has installed architectural asphalt shingle roofs for thousands of homeowners in Nashville and surrounding Middle Tennessee areas since 1990. We take pride in our workmanship and offer a lifetime warranty to back it up. 

Check out 3 Signs That You Need to Replace Your Asphalt Roof to learn when your roof is telling you it’s time for a new roof.

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