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What is an Asphalt Shingle Roof? (Materials, Lifespan, and More)

November 18th, 2020 | 5 min. read

What is an Asphalt Shingle Roof? (Materials, Lifespan, and More)

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Are you ready for a new roof? Are you trying to find the right roofing material for you? If so, you’re probably considering the widely popular asphalt shingle for your roof. 

But what is an asphalt shingle roof? Luckily we’re here to break it down for you. 

The team at Bill Ragan Roofing Company has provided high-quality asphalt roof repairs and replacements to the residents of Nashville since 1990. We offer an experience rare in the roofing industry with our customer service and workmanship. When you work with us, you’ll never worry about your roof again. 

By the end of this article, you'll learn what an asphalt roof is, the types of asphalt shingles, and 3 things you need to know about asphalt shingle roofs. 

What is an asphalt shingle roof?

An asphalt shingle roof is the most common type of roof you see on homes today. It’s a roof system made primarily out of asphalt shingles and other asphalt roofing components. 

There are three types of asphalt shingles to choose from: 3-tab, dimensional, and luxury. 

3-tab asphalt shingles lay flat and get their name from the 3 tabs on each shingle strip.

3 tab asphalt shingles

Dimensional shingles give you a good looking random pattern or simulate the look of a wood shake roof.

dimensional asphalt shingles

Luxury or premium shingles are actually larger than the other asphalt shingles and are made to look like slate.

luxury asphalt shingles

While 3-tab used to dominate the market, dimensional shingles are the most common type installed on roofs today. Luxury style shingles are just as heavily marketed as dimensional but are almost double the price.

This is just a general overview of the types of asphalt shingles. For a deeper breakdown of the different asphalt shingles, read this article on the 3 types of asphalt shingles


3 things to know about an asphalt shingle roof 

You just learned what an asphalt shingle roof is and the three types of asphalt shingles. However, there’s still more you need to know about asphalt shingle roofs. 

You need to know things like the other roofing materials that make it a complete roof system, how long it should last, and more. Continue reading to learn the 3 things you need to know about an asphalt roof. 

1. The other roofing materials that make up an asphalt roof

An asphalt roof is more than just the shingles you see from the street. It’s a combination of different key roofing components and materials to ensure your home stays leak-free.

While the asphalt shingles are the bulk of an asphalt roof, all the other roofing materials are just as important. 

The main materials and components that make up an asphalt roof are: 

  • Roof decking
  • Roof flashing 
  • Underlayment 
  • Drip edge 
  • Ice and water shield 
  • Shingles 
  • Ridge capping 
  • Roof vents 
  • Pipe boots
  • Flashing

All of these materials are important to help your roof do what it does best, protecting you and your family. To learn more about the functions of each roofing component and material, read this article on the 9 materials included in your roof replacement

2. How long an asphalt roof will last 

The lifespan of your roof is how many years of life you get out of it. With that in mind, each of the three types of asphalt shingles has a specified lifespan from the manufacturer. 

3-tab shingles have a lifespan of 25 years and live the shortest of the three types. Dimensional and luxury shingles both have a lifespan of 30 years, but the luxury style has the possibility to go over 30 years and up to 50 under the right conditions.

Even though these numbers are specified by the shingle manufacturer, will an asphalt roof actually live that long?

As long as the asphalt roof is properly installed and your attic is adequately ventilated, it’s going to get as close as possible to the manufacturer’s specified lifespan. This means you should get around 80-85% of the lifespan out of an asphalt roof.

For example, you can expect to get about 20-22 years out of your 3-tab shingle roof and 25-28 years out of your dimensional shingles.

There are multiple factors that impact the lifespan of your asphalt roof. To learn more about what affects the life of your asphalt shingle roof, read this article on how long you can expect your asphalt roof to last.

3. Roof maintenance can maximize an asphalt roof 

Your car needs its oil changed to keep it maintained and running smoothly, the same goes for your roof. To keep an asphalt roof functioning perfectly, it’s important to have it periodically checked over.

Whether it’s once or twice a year, regular roof maintenance ensures you get the most life out of your asphalt shingle roof. It will catch any problems with your asphalt shingles and prevent future leaks before they can cause damage to your home. 

It’s also a chance to clear your roof and gutters of any debris. Wet debris sitting on your asphalt roof will shorten the lifespan of your asphalt shingles. Because of this, it’s absolutely crucial to keep your roof running smoothly throughout its life with roof maintenance. 

To learn more about why roof maintenance is crucial to all roof types, read this article on why regular roof maintenance is important

How much does an asphalt roof cost? 

You now know what an asphalt roof is and 3 things you need to know about asphalt shingle roofs.

After reading this article, you’re better equipped to decide if asphalt shingles are the right roofing material for your roof replacement. But there are still some things you need to know about getting a new asphalt roof. 

One of those things is how much your new asphalt roof will cost. Always eager to educate you further, we’ve already answered that for you. 

The team at Bill Ragan Roofing has provided the residents of Nashville with high-quality asphalt roofing services since 1990. Whether you need repairs or a full roof replacement, our workmanship ensures the job is done right. That’s why we offer a lifetime warranty

To learn what you can expect to pay for your asphalt roof replacement, check out How Much Does a New Asphalt Roof Cost: Pricing, Factors & Considerations.

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