How Long Do Asphalt Shingles Last?


For more than a thousand years, shingles are the primary materials used in shedding water and snow off your roof. For the most part, shingles have also been used to protect roofs in the United States from strong winds and devastating hailstorms for decades and it is one of the mainstays when it comes to roofing materials.


Now that we are in the golden age of roofing, we have a plethora of different roofing materials that we can choose from. For now, we’ll be discussing one of the most common and the most cost-effective roofing material that we can find in the market. Almost two-thirds of residential buildings across the United States use asphalt shingles.

Being readily available in the market means that it can be easily replaced when it gets damaged. But first, we have to know how long asphalt shingles last before making any final decisions. What is the best way to maintain them? We’ll be discussing that in this article. But before we do that, we have to first identify asphalt shingles and what are some that are available in the market.

What Are Asphalt Shingles?

Contrary to what most people know, asphalt shingles are not exactly made out of asphalt. This is usually a general term for a family of shingles that have the same texture, design, and overall aesthetic impact. In most cases, these types of shingles have are comprised of mineral fiber and other compositions. Around 35% of asphalt shingles do have some asphalt as a way of increasing the overall durability of the product. Moreover, asphalt is also a good way of decreasing the water permeability of the shingles.

3-tab Shingles

You can easily find this type of roofing in residential areas across your city. The name comes from the shingles evoking a three-layer appeal that looks like it is stacked on top of each other. This is one of the most common and highly affordable roofing materials that you can find in the market. Having an organic mat paper-based means that this is also highly resistant to the effects of roof leaks. Usually, this has a lifespan of 10 – 20 years under the right conditions.

Architectural Shingles

This type of shingles is the answer to the limited lifespan of most asphalt shingles in the market. The sculpted look and an added layer of composite materials give it a more durable defensive matrix. As the name suggests, this type of shingles is known for its three-dimensional look as opposed to the usual flat look of most shingles in the market. This will usually last you around 20 – 35 years.

Fiberglass Shingles 

This type of shingles is made out of a woven mat of fiberglass which gives it an extra amount of durability that other types of shingles. Moreover, fiberglass is known for being waterproof and can easily hold its own against some of the strongest winds recorded. The lifespan of this type of roofing material will depend on the quality that’s available. Usually, the highest quality will last you around 25 – 35 years.

Life Expectancy and Other Things To Consider

On average, asphalt shingles will have a lifespan of around 15 – 20 years. However, there are also some factors that can influence the life expectancy of your roof. The roofing material that’s used for your roof will also determine the lifespan of the roof. Additionally, certain roofing materials work better on certain weather conditions and environments. If you’re going to be placing 3-tab shingles in an area that’s prone to strong winds, then you’ll have to expect some shingles to go missing.

Another thing that homeowners have to consider are the prices of the shingles. Usually, 3-tab shingles are easy to find and replace since they are readily available in the market. Architectural shingles are a bit harder to find in your local builder’s depot since this is tailored towards a certain market. Moreover, architectural shingles will cost you around $550 a square as opposed to the $150 a square that you have to spend for 3-tab shingles. If you’re confused about where to find the right materials or the pricing for the area of your roof, then you can always ask your roofing contractor on this matter.

At the end of the day, this will all boil down to the durability of the product that you’re choosing and on how it will fair for certain areas and weather conditions. Having a manufacturer’s or a roofing specialist’s professional opinion on your roof system can help give a clear impression on what type of asphalt shingles would work well for your home and will last the longest.

Related Articles