When you own a home, there’s a lot of responsibility that comes along with it. On the financial end, one of the biggest expenses you’ll likely have at some point is your roof. Knowing how long you can expect a shingle roof to last can help you to better financially prepare for its cost.

A General Lifespan Guideline

When you decide to put on a new shingle roof, it’s important to realize that there are several choices that you’ll have as far as materials go. Most shingles fall into three main categories, which are three-tab, architectural, and premium. In general, three-tab shingles are the most commonly used due to their highly affordable cost. They have a lifespan ranging between 15 and 20 years.

Architectural shingles, also referred to as 3D shingles, are of a slightly higher quality than traditional three-tab shingles. At a higher price point, architectural shingles have a typical lifespan of between 20 and 30 years. Lastly, we have the premium shingles. These are going to be the most expensive and highest quality roofing shingles you can buy. Premium shingles will last anywhere from 25 to 50 years. It’s best to ask your roofing professional the expected lifespan of any shingle product you’re thinking of investing in to ensure you know how far your money will go.

Installation Workmanship

Apart from the shingles themselves, there are many other factors that can affect how long your new roof lasts. One of the most obvious is the workmanship of your chosen roofing provider. It’s imperative that you pick an experienced roofer who has a plethora of great reviews. You don’t want to fall victim to a fly-by-night roofing company that sets your roof up for failure. Special attention must be given to your roofline, valleys, vents, and chimneys to ensure that your new roof will do its job for a long time.


Another factor that’s going to play a huge role in the overall lifespan of your shingle roof is your climate. Areas where there are constant high winds and nasty storms are going to wreak havoc on your shingles over time. Even an unexpected hail storm could crack or cause unwanted divots in your shingles. You can expect a decreased lifespan if you live in one of these unfortunate weather areas.

Apart from thunderstorms and bustling winds, sun exposure can play a role in diminishing the lifespan of your new shingle roof. UV rays from the sun can penetrate the top protective layers of your shingles over time. When this happens, the shingles will dry out and start to crack into pieces. While most shingles are constructed with a UV barrier, areas of the country where intense high altitudes are present can allow for quicker UV deterioration of asphalt shingles.

Lastly, an oceanic climate can greatly affect the lifespan of your shingles. The sea salt present in the air along the ocean will work to damage the granules atop your shingles over time. You’ll notice that your shingles will lose their granules at a much faster rate than shingles placed on a home away from oceanic weather.

Roof Pitch

Not all roofs are created equal. Some roofs have an integrated system of peaks and valleys, while others may have a relatively flat-like appearance. All roof pitches are given in measurements to help roofing contractors determine your roofing needs. You may hear a roof pitch be called a 6/12. This means that for every 12 inches that you move from the roofline straight into the peak, the roof rises 6 inches. This is a relatively decent roof pitch that will easily shed water.

However, if you have a roof pitch such as a 3/12, it’s an indication that your roof is more on the flatter side of things. The flatter a residential roof is, the worse it’s going to be at shedding water and snow. For this reason, flatter roofs tend to be more susceptible to moisture-based wear and tear of their shingles than steeper roofs. Additionally, flatter roofs tend to have much less attic ventilation, which can cause unnecessary overheating of the shingles. This will shorten their lifespan.


Shingle roofs that receive regular maintenance are going to last much longer than shingle roofs that are left neglected. Roofing maintenance can be broken down into two main types, which are professional and DIY. You should have a professional inspect your roof every year so that they can catch any problems while they’re small. Additionally, if you notice any damage to your roof, you’ll want to get it fixed as quickly as possible to prevent even costlier damage.

Apart from professional maintenance, there’s some DIY maintenance you’ll need to do. If you live in a location where leaves and other debris ends up on your roof, you need to remove it. Letting algae, leaves, twigs, or other debris lay on your shingles for an extended period of time can lead to premature wear of your asphalt shingles.

Attic Ventilation

The temperature in your attic can play a large role in the overall health and longevity of your shingles. When your attic is improperly vented throughout the hot summer months, hot air can become trapped. This hot air will penetrate through the underlayment and into the bottom of your asphalt shingles. This can cause unwanted warping and curling of your shingles that will take years off of their total lifespan.

Shingle Color

One factor of your shingles that you may not even think to take into consideration is their color. However, it’s common knowledge that darker materials are more likely to trap heat than lighter materials. If you opt for black or darker shingles, they’re going to retain a lot of heat during the hot summer months. Much like problems with attic ventilation, that excess heat in your shingles can cause them to prematurely wear out. You’ll want to opt for a lighter color shingle, such as gray.

Multi-Layered Shingles

When you decide to invest in a new roof, you may be given the option by your shingle installer to simply have your new shingles installed over the old, existing ones. This is typically much cheaper and quicker to do since there’s no need to remove the old shingle layer and have to get rid of all the waste.

However, multi-layered shingle roofs can spell trouble for homeowners. The added layer will increase the effect of heat on your roof. Instead of just one shingle layer being hot, you’ll now have a second layer that maintains that unwanted heat during the hot summer months. This will cause a quicker deterioration of your newly placed shingles.

Expert Roofing Service

Blue Fox Roofing & Renovations provides expert roofing service to the Charlotte, NC area. We can also help with all of your storm damage and inspection needs. Contact our friendly staff today to schedule your next service appointment.

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