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What is an Asphalt Roof Replacement? (5 Things to Know About It)

March 22nd, 2024 | 9 min. read

What is an Asphalt Roof Replacement? (5 Things to Know About It)

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Having a roofing contractor tell you it’s time to replace your asphalt roof is never fun to hear. Not only will it be a big expense, but there’s a lot to an asphalt roof replacement you probably wouldn’t think about. 

Unfortunately, bad roofers use this to their advantage to provide misinformation. I don’t want this to happen to you. 

For over 30 years, the team at Bill Ragan Roofing has helped homeowners understand every aspect of their roofing project so there are no surprises. That’s why I’ll break down what an asphalt roof replacement is and the things you need to know about it. 

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • What is an asphalt roof replacement?
  • 5 things to know before replacing your asphalt roof

What is an asphalt roof replacement?

An asphalt roof replacement is tearing off your old roof and shingles (or other roofing material) down to a clear deck before installing new asphalt shingles. While shingles make up the bulk of an asphalt roof replacement, other roofing components also get replaced. 

asphalt roof installation during a roof replacement

These materials and components include: 

Every single component above, combined with asphalt shingles, fit together like a puzzle to make your home watertight and completely sealed. That’s why it’s crucial that each component gets replaced when getting a new roof.

5 things to know before replacing your asphalt roof

Now you know what an asphalt roof replacement is and what gets replaced. However, there’s much more to know before getting a new roof. 

Below are the 5 things to know before replacing your asphalt roof. 

1. Don’t look for a cheap asphalt roof replacement

A quality asphalt roof replacement isn’t cheap by any means. I’m not saying to find the most expensive roof, but it’s crucial not to go looking for the lowest price and cheapest roofing company in your area. 

Bad roofers finding out you’re looking for the cheapest asphalt roof replacement is like blood in the water for sharks. They’ll lower their prices to outbid other companies by using cheaper quality materials, cheap labor, or leaving crucial components off your roof completely.

I guarantee you’ll have problems if you get the cheapest asphalt roof replacement possible. If a price seems too good to be true, there’s always a reason why.

2. Get a full asphalt roof replacement

Speaking of going cheap, some homeowners try to save money by nailing over their asphalt roof with new shingles. It’s cheaper than a full asphalt roof replacement, but major drawbacks make it risky. 

These drawbacks include:

  • You won’t qualify for an enhanced warranty
  • Aesthetic issues if you upgrade the type of shingle
  • Your current roof flashing has to be used
  • It’s harder to repair a roof leak
  • You can’t check the condition of your roof decking
  • Added cost when replacing the roof in the future

Your asphalt roof must be at the end of its lifespan, lying down flat, have a few penetrations, a little flashing, and no walls that butt up against the shingles to even consider a nail-over. Most roofs won’t fit this criteria, but you’ll still find roofers willing to do it.  

That’s why you should always get a tear-off asphalt reroof (aka asphalt roof replacement) instead of nailing over your old one. 

3. The three types of asphalt shingle options

You have the option to replace your asphalt roof with its current type of shingle or upgrade to a different one. It’s 100% your decision, but you need to be sure you’re making the right one. 

Below are the three types of asphalt shingles, plus their pros and cons. 

3-tab asphalt shingles

3-tab asphalt shingles come with 3 tabs on each shingle strip (hence the name) that lay completely flat when installed. They were the dominant asphalt shingle in the residential roofing industry until improved technology created architectural shingles.

3 tab asphalt shingles

3-tab asphalt shingle pros:

  • Cheapest roofing material on the market
  • Ease of repair and installation

3-tab asphalt shingle cons:

Architectural asphalt shingles

Architectural (also called dimensional) shingles provide dimension with a random pattern or simulate the look of a wood-shake roof. They are the most popular asphalt shingle and also the most common roofing material used in residential roofing.

architectural asphalt shingles

Architectural asphalt shingle pros:

  • Affordability
  • Ease of repair and installation
  • Readily available materials and colors

Architectural asphalt shingle cons:

  • Low curb appeal compared to other materials
  • Needs yearly maintenance
  • Prone to hail damage

Luxury asphalt shingles

Luxury (also called designer or premium) shingles are the high-end line designed to look like a natural slate tile roof. They are larger, thicker, more durable, and offer the highest curb appeal, but they are the most expensive option.

luxury asphalt shingles

Luxury asphalt shingle pros:

  • Durability
  • Longevity
  • High curb appeal
  • Stands up well to storm damage

Luxury asphalt shingle cons:

  • Expensive
  • Longer installation compared to the other asphalt shingles
  • Needs yearly maintenance

4. The warranties you get after your asphalt roof replacement

An asphalt roof replacement comes with warranties on the materials and your roofing contractor’s workmanship. Both warranties provide protection, but they cover very different things. 

Workmanship warranty

A workmanship roof warranty covers any future problems caused by installation errors. Every roofing contractor should provide one, with the length varying from anywhere between 2, 5, 10, or 25 years to even a lifetime warranty (life of the materials).

I recommend looking for at least a 10-year workmanship warranty, but don’t be afraid to find one that provides a lifetime warranty or close to it (20 years). Some shingle manufacturers also offer the opportunity to purchase a workmanship warranty. 

Depending on the manufacturer and conditional on passing their inspection, they’ll stand behind the workmanship for 25 years.

Roofing material warranties

A material warranty covers your asphalt shingles and other components to protect against defects or other manufacturing errors. Each type of asphalt shingle and component comes out of the package with a standard warranty from the manufacturer. 

manufacturer defect on architectural asphalt shingles(Manufacturer defect on architectural asphalt shingles)

However, architectural and luxury shingles can qualify for the 50-year non-prorated enhanced warranty if you get an entire roof system from a single manufacturer. The enhanced warranty ensures if just one component fails, they’ll pay to replace your entire asphalt roof (both labor and materials).

Just know your roofer must be certified with the shingle manufacturer to offer an enhanced warranty.

5. How long an asphalt roof replacement lasts

Besides the increase in home value and curb appeal, your asphalt roof replacement’s ROI is how long it lasts. An asphalt roof will get around 80% of the manufactured-stated life span as long as it's properly installed and properly ventilated.

For example, an architectural asphalt shingle roof has a stated lifespan of 30 years but will realistically last around 22-25 years. Now, there are other factors that impact how long an asphalt roof lasts after it’s replaced. 

So, it’s always possible for an asphalt roof to need replacing earlier than expected. But it’ll last close to its maximum lifespan if it’s properly installed with adequate attic ventilation. 

How much does an asphalt roof replacement cost?

You just learned the main things you need to know for an asphalt roof replacement. However, there’s one crucial thing we didn’t touch on: cost. 

Pricing is the biggest concern, pain point, and decision-making factor when homeowners get an asphalt roof replacement. And as I said earlier, a new asphalt roof isn’t cheap. 

Unfortunately, finding accurate pricing information is hard because it tends to scare homeowners. I believe in full transparency, even if it’s a touchy subject. 

That’s why I wrote another article breaking how much an asphalt roof costs on average, based on shingle type, and what directly impacts the final price.

Check out How Much Does a New Asphalt Roof Cost to learn the budget you’ll need for your asphalt roof replacement.

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