How Long Does a Shingle Roof Last?
Buying a roof is one of the biggest investments you can make in your home. Of course, you'll want to make sure you're paying for a roof that will last.
Asphalt shingles are the most popular roofing option in the United States — four out of five homes are covered with asphalt shingles.
But how long does a shingle roof last? Depending on the material of your shingle roof, it can last anywhere from 12-30 years. Plus, with the rain and snow we see here in Indiana, proper maintenance is crucial.
With years of experience installing residential roofs, we're breaking down how long each type of shingle roof is expected to last and how to get the most life out of it.
How Long Does a Shingle Roof Last?
In general, a shingle roof can last anywhere from 12-30 years. However, the lifespan of a shingle roof depends on the materials it's made with, your local weather conditions, and how well you maintain your roof.
Shingle Roofing Materials & Their Lifespans
Here's a general range for how long different types of shingle roofs last:
3-tab/strip shingles - These are the most cost-effective option and also tend to have the shortest lifespan, lasting around 12-18 years.
Premium/architectural asphalt shingles - A properly maintained premium asphalt shingle roof can last up to 30 years. Premium asphalt shingle roofs are more durable and provide an elevated look, mimicking the look of expensive slate shingles.
Metal shingles - A metal shingle roof can last up to 80 years. While you will pay a higher cost to install metal shingles vs asphalt shingles, one metal shingle roof will outlive 2-3 asphalt shingle ones.
What Affects The Lifespan of a Shingle Roof?
Regular Maintenance & Inspections
The lifespans provided above are just general ranges. One of the largest factors affecting how long a shingle roof lasts is whether you kept up with regular inspections and maintenance.
Just because your roof doesn't have a giant leak or obvious hole doesn't mean it's in perfect condition. It's recommended to have a professional roofing contractor come out and inspect your roof every six months.
They'll check for:
Damaged or loose shingles
Signs of mold
Signs of rotting
Water damage or leaks
What Happens if You Don't Replace Shingles?
If any issues are discovered during your inspection, it's important to take care of them. If you're missing a shingle or have a few cracked shingles, it's best to get them replaced now before they turn into a larger (and more expensive) problem. Getting ahead of the small stuff will help your roof last longer overall, as having a properly-maintained roof means you're protecting the structure underneath.
Plus, one of the huge pros of a shingle roof is that it's easy and affordable to replace a shingle here and there.
How Weather Affects a Roof's Lifespan
While this is out of your control, the weather where you live also plays a large part in how long your roof will last.
For example, if you live in a place where it rains all the time, an asphalt shingle roof won't last as long as it would in a place that's dryer, as it'll be more prone to deterioration, leaks, mold, and debris buildup.
Also, a metal shingle roof is much more weather-resistant than asphalt shingles. States with extreme temperature changes like we see here in Indiana can be a lot rougher on asphalt roofing. A metal roof will last longer than an asphalt one even in places with more severe weather.
Living somewhere with more severe rain and/or snow just means you have to be even more on top of your regular maintenance. After a storm, it's important to clear off any debris left on your roof, make sure water isn't pooling up anywhere, and have your shingles inspected for damage.
How Do You Know When It's Time to Replace Your Roof?
A professional roofing contractor can let you know if your roof needs to be replaced or not, but here are a few ways you can check yourself:
If you have a shingle roof that's over 20 years old, it's probably ready to be replaced
Visually inspect your roof by walking around it and looking for signs of cracks, missing shingles, or curled up shingles
Take a flashlight into your attic and look for signs of water leaks, including wet spots or water damage