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Roof Replacement | Asphalt Shingle Roof

What is an Asphalt Shingle Roof?

April 10th, 2024 | 7 min. read

What is an Asphalt Shingle Roof?

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If you look at roofs while driving down the street, you’ll likely see asphalt shingles. No, I don’t have a crystal ball telling me this.

It’s simply because asphalt roofing is the most commonly used residential roofing material. But even though it’s so common, most homeowners don’t actually know what an asphalt shingle roof is. 

For over 30 years, Bill Ragan Roofing has helped homeowners understand the ins and outs of asphalt shingle roofing. Unfortunately, I can’t be too specific without knowing your shingle type (more on this at the very end). 

So, let’s start with basic, general information about asphalt shingle roofs and what you get out of them.

This article answers the following questions:

  • What is an asphalt shingle roof?
  • Does an asphalt shingle roof have warranties to protect against leaks?
  • How long does an asphalt shingle roof last?
  • Does an asphalt shingle roof increase your home’s value?
  • How do you know when to replace an asphalt shingle roof?

What is an asphalt shingle roof?

An asphalt shingle roof is a roof system made primarily of asphalt shingles and other roofing components. Asphalt shingles consist of fiberglass, tar, and asphalt granules that sit on a fiberglass mat.

architectural asphalt shingle roof(Architectural asphalt shingle roof)

While the asphalt shingles are what you see on the outside, the roofing components underneath are just as important to an asphalt shingle roof system. 

different components and materials for an asphalt shingle roof

An asphalt shingle roof is made up of the following: 

Every component above fits together like puzzle pieces before the asphalt shingles come in to close everything up. Unfortunately, you’ll have costly problems if your asphalt shingle roof is missing even just one component.

Does an asphalt shingle roof have warranties to protect against leaks?

After installation, an asphalt shingle roof comes with a workmanship warranty from the roofing contractor and another from the shingle manufacturer. They both protect against leaks, but cover completely different things.

A workmanship roof warranty covers any problems or leaks caused by installation errors. The length varies from 2, 5, 10, or 25 years to even a lifetime warranty (life of the materials), but every roofer should provide one.

You shouldn’t settle for anything less than 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 opportunities to purchase a workmanship warranty on condition it passes an inspection.

A material warranty covers defects or manufacturing errors to your asphalt shingles and other components defects. They all come with a standard warranty, but most manufacturers offer an enhanced warranty or extended warranty to protect the entire roof system. 

However, this is only offered on certain shingles, and the roofer must be certified by the shingle manufacturer to offer it.

How long does an asphalt shingle roof last?

An asphalt shingle roof’s main ROI after installation is its lifespan. Every asphalt shingle has a manufactured-stated lifespan, but they’ll realistically last around 80% of the maximum lifespan. 

With that in mind, 3-tab shingles max out at around 15-20 years, architectural shingles last around 22-25 years, and luxury shingles should last 30 years (and even longer in the right conditions). Just know multiple factors ultimately impact how long an asphalt roof lasts. 

So, it’s always possible for an asphalt roof not to reach its full potential. However, it’ll get as close to its maximum lifespan if it’s properly installed with adequate attic ventilation.

Does an asphalt shingle roof increase your home’s value?

As I just said, an asphalt shingle roof’s main ROI after installation is its lifespan. However, this only matters if you’re in your forever home. 

So, what if you plan on selling in the future? Getting a new asphalt shingle roof before selling your home years can yield up to a 30%-60% return on the original price. 

For example, let’s say you paid $20,000 when replacing your roof. According to the 2023 COST VS VALUE REPORT, the national average ROI when replacing an asphalt roof is 61.1%.

If you decide to sell your home a year or two later, its value will increase by around $12,000 of the original $20,000 you spent on an asphalt shingle roof. Just keep in mind that the ROI percentage is based on averages around the country and doesn't account for shingle type or future housing market trends.

The return percentage also decreases in value as the years pass due to general wear and tear that happens as an asphalt shingle roof ages. That’s why you should always consider your future plans when replacing your roof

How do you know when to replace an asphalt shingle roof?

While you should get anywhere from 15 to 30 years out of an asphalt shingle roof (depending on the shingle), it will need to be replaced in the future if you still own your home. Unfortunately, homeowners usually don’t recognize it’s time until a leak creates costly damage. 

However, asphalt shingle roofs actually show clear signs that it’s time for a replacement. You simply just need to know how to spot these signs before it’s too late. 

examples of asphalt shingle roofs that need to be replaced(Examples of asphalt shingle roofs that need to be replaced)

The main signs that you need a new asphalt shingle roof include:

  • Continuous roof leaks
  • Curling and cracked asphalt shingles
  • Lifted asphalt shingles
  • Bald asphalt shingles (severe granule loss)
  • Loose granules in the gutters or ground
  • Vegetation growing on the asphalt shingles

You’ll need to be on the roof to identify a few of these, but spotting them from the ground is easier now that you know what to look for. Just know that the above signs are geared towards an asphalt shingle roof that's close to the end of its lifespan. 

It’s always possible to need one earlier due to premature roof failure caused by improper installation, poor attic ventilation, or storm damage. But as long as you hire a reputable roofing contractor, the only thing to worry about is an act of God damaging your roof

What are your asphalt shingle options? 

Now you know what an asphalt shingle roof is, how long it’ll last, its warranties, when to replace it, and how it increases your home’s value. This simply helps you understand what it is and what you’ll get out of it. 

But remember, this is all general information about asphalt shingle roofing. The only way to get relevant information about your roof is by knowing the specifics of your asphalt shingle type. 

I mentioned them briefly in this article, but they have major differences that impact everything related to your roof. That’s why I wrote another article breaking down the cost, lifespan, warranty, plus the pros and cons of each asphalt shingle. 

Check out The 3 Types of Asphalt Shingles to learn more about the asphalt shingle currently on your roof or to ensure you choose the right one for an upcoming roof replacement.

roofing material quiz

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