How Long Do Roof Shingles Last? Asphalt, Wood, Tile

Are you looking to upgrade the shingles on your roof? Maybe you are building a new home and are deciding which shingles to choose? A big consideration when choosing shingles is their lifespan.

How long do roof shingles last? Roof shingles last for different amounts of time depending on the type of shingle and the weather.

  • Three-Tab Asphalt: 10 to 12 years
  • Architectural Asphalt: 15 to 25 years
  • Premium Asphalt: 20 to 30 years
  • Wood: 30 to 40 years
  • Tile, Composite, Slate, and Metal: 50+ years

Shingles were designed to provide protection for your roof and ultimately your home from the harsh conditions outside your home. There are many roof shingles to choose between in the market, ranging in quality, cost, and longevity.

In this article, I’ll list the types of shingles available in the market today, including the life expectancy of each type of shingle. Read on to learn which shingles are best for your home.

How Long Do Roof Shingles Last?

The first type of shingle I’ll be discussing is the asphalt shingle, followed by tile, wood, slate, composite shingles, and metal. Asphalt shingles are further divided into three separate types.

1. Asphalt

asphalt roof shingle lifespan

Three-Tab Asphalt Shingles 

Three-tab asphalt shingles are the most commonly used and popular shingles because they are the cheapest and easiest to install you can find today on the market. An asphalt shingle is made from fiberglass basemat with mineral granules (imparts color). There are some asphalt shingles that are partly made up of limestone. 

This type of shingle is said to last for 10 to 12 years with proper maintenance. One of the biggest things that can shorten their lifespan is fungi. If you see fungi on these shingles (dark streaks on them), I suggest that you spray them with pressurized water (enough pressure to remove fungi but not too much that can cause damage on your roof).

This type of shingle is a good option for those places with a temperate climate. But since asphalt shingles can only withstand a wind uplift of about 60 MPH to 70 MPH, these shingles are not good enough for those areas experiencing storms. 

However, when these types of shingles were exposed to too much direct sunlight (such as in Texas, Arizona, California desserts, etc) a problem will also arise – cracks can develop. These cracks are caused by rapid changes in temperature. 

Asphalt three-tab shingles are the most affordable and so are best for those on a budget. The drawbacks are that they don’t look as great as other options, have a shorter life expectancy, and could blow off during very strong storms.

Architectural, Dimensional, or Laminate Asphalt Shingles

These types of asphalt of shingles are composed of two or more layers of shingles – that’s why they are more durable and can last longer than asphalt three-tab shingles. They last about 15 to 25 years (instead of asphalt shingles 10 – 12 years). Another thing that people love about this shingle is that they look good and come in a variety of colors. 

Architectural shingles have a wind uplift of 110 MPH which can be increased to 130 MPH if roof bracing is utilized. These additional benefits come at a higher price though than your asphalt three-tab shingles (about 20% more expensive). 

Premium or Luxury Asphalt Shingles

Premium asphalt shingles are designed for premium homes; they come in different geometric shapes and styles. They are thicker, last longer (20 to 30 years), and usually have improved solar reflectance and impact resistance made for areas that usually experience hail. Their wind uplift is similar to that of Architectural Shingles. 

2. Wood

Wood shingles come in different sizes and shapes to cater to the needs of those who want modern and traditional design. Cedar, pinewood, and redwood are your options when you want your roof to be protected by an earthy-looking shingle.

The downside that comes with wood shingles is that they lack durability. Wood shingles are also susceptible to the negative effects of weather changes as well as fire. Wood shingles can, however, be treated with fire retardant to make them more fire-resistant.

Moss, algae, and mold can grow on your wood shingles without proper maintenance. This will result in the loss of wood color. So in order to achieve the earthy effect, homeowners settle with asphalt shingles that look a lot like wood. Wood shingles last about 30 to 40 years.

3. Tile 

Tile shingles can be made from Terracotta clay, concrete, or other material blends. Tile shingles come in different sizes and shapes. Shingles made up of Terracotta clay are often utilized for historical restorations.

Tile shingles, in general, are commonly being utilized in the Southwest region of America (sunny, hot weather) because they are very good at blocking the sun and heat. But this type of shingle cannot withstand tornadoes and hurricanes. Tile shingles can last at least 50 years.

4. Composite  

Composite shingles can be made up of materials such as polymer and rubber. Composite materials can be modified to give you the look that you want to achieve with your home without having to deal with weight issues. The life expectancy of these types of shingles is 50 years or more.

Another property with composite shingles is that they can be added with additives that protect your home from UV light rays. Shingles made up of low-quality composite shingles easily absorb water, thus this is not recommended to be installed in places with colder, wetter climates. 

5. Slate

Slate shingles come in different colors such as red, blue, and gray hues. Slate shingles can last for over a century. The downside, however, is that this type of shingle requires a costly investment. Another downside is that slate shingles are heavy, so your home needs to be strong enough to support this type of shingle. Slate shingles last at least 50 years.

6. Metal

When you have metal shingles installed on your roof, you can relax in your home without worrying about your roof. Metal shingles are designed to withstand extreme weather conditions and fire. Shingles made up of metal can be made from zinc, copper, and aluminum. This is also the reason why metal shingles are lightweight.

These metals require less attention because they need less maintenance. Metal shingles, however, are expensive but the cost is worth it because they can last for a lifetime.  

Factors That Shorten the Lifespan of Shingles

shingles on roof lifespan

Next, I’ll list different factors that shorten how long shingles last. By knowing these factors, you’ll know how to take care of your roof’s shingles better: 

1. Weather

Homeowners who reside in areas where they experience long summers will have shingles with shorter life expectancy. Why? 

During the day, their shingles will experience severe heat while during the night the temperature is cooler. The constant rapid changes in temperature degrade the quality of shingles. 

Homeowners who reside in humid or subtropical areas might experience the growth of molds and algae on their roofs. The algae that usually grows on your shingles is known as gloeocapsa magma, also known as blue-green algae. As suggested earlier, cleaning shingles with pressurized water might help get rid of this. Frequent cleaning is suggested as well.

Strong winds can blow-off your asphalt shingles. Make sure that you choose the right shingle appropriate for your home depending on the weather in your area. Also double-check that your shingles are properly attached to your roof. 

If your home is located in areas experiencing freezing temperatures, you may want to install a protective membrane. In preparation for the cold weather, hand-seal your asphalt shingles using a cement. Make sure not to drop or bend your shingles. And caution must be employed when you are walking on your roof during the cold climate since sealant bonds between shingles are brittle during the cold weather. 

Hail can cause aesthetic and functional damage to your shingles. Hail can cause granule loss from the shingles. Functional damage often appears as cracks. These cracks cause leaks and ultimately the shortened life expectancy of shingles.  

2. Roof Pitch

Those homes with steeper roof slopes will have shingles with longer life expectancy. Steeper slopes mean that water and snow will not be stuck on your roof, thus preventing damage and growth of molds, fungi, etc. 

3. Attic Ventilation

If your attic is not well-ventilated, your shingles can deteriorate from the inside-out. Also, for you to obtain a warranty for your shingles, manufacturers require that your attic be well-ventilated. A well-ventilated attic can prolong your shingles’ life expectancy by years. Ridge vents and eave vents can be bought to help you with this issue. 

4. Cleanliness of Your Roof

If you are installing new roof shingles, remove the old shingles and underlayer, especially if the underlayer is not in good condition. These old materials will not add to the protection of your roof and your home from the harsh conditions outside. This way, your shingles will last longer.  

Shingles and roofs are made to protect you and your home from harsh conditions outside, but how do you know when your roof shingles can no longer protect your roof and home? 

When to Replace Your Roof Shingles?

  1. More than the normal loss of colored ceramic granules (some are found in the gutter).
  2. Your shingles start to curl and buckle on the edges.
  3. Your shingles start to crack.
  4. They are brittle.
  5. If your shingles are older than 20 years, you might want to check their condition and replace them if they’re worn out.
  6. If your roof’s shingles are falling apart in the valley or gutter area, then it is time to replace them. 
  7. The presence of a spongy feel on your roof.  
  8. If your shingles are missing after a storm.

How to Choose the Right Shingles for Your Home

If you have seen signs that you should replace your shingles, here are the factors you should consider when choosing shingles for your roof: 

Personal Preference

Your home is your sanctuary, thus the materials that will give you satisfaction and peace of mind are the ones you should choose. Also, as I have discussed, some shingles require maintenance so if you are a busy person, maybe it is better if you choose shingles that require less maintenance. Of course, your budget is a factor too. 

Location of Your Home

Where you live is an important factor, specifically the weather conditions where your house is located. For example, wood shingles won’t be the best choice if you live in a dry and humid area. Asphalt shingles won’t be the best choice if you live in a wet and windy area. 

You might want to check if there are trees around your home as they might suddenly fall on your shingles (tile shingles will not survive). 

Your Home’s Sturdiness

As I mentioned earlier, the house’s structure should be able to support the metal and slate shingles’ weight if you are considering those options for your home. 

When installing asphalt shingles on your roof, nails are the recommended material. Meanwhile, when you are installing composite shingles a minimum of four fasteners must be used. And you should place your shingles’ fasteners below the sealant strip. If you are having a hard time figuring out how to maintain your roof’s shingles, you should hire a licensed roofing contractor.  

Conclusion – How Long Do Shingles Last?

The life expectancy of roof shingles depends on the type of shingles you installed on your roof. The three-tab asphalt shingles will last about 10-15 years, while other types of shingles can last about 25-30 years if they are properly maintained. Other factors such as weather and ventilation also affect how long the shingles last on a roof.