Asphalt shingles are by far the most common roofing material for pitched roofs. They’re affordable, quick to install, and they add to the design aesthetic of virtually any home style. 

Furthermore, asphalt shingles are built to last due to their construction. Most asphalt shingles are composed of fiberglass or cellulose matting as a base material with tar and mineral granules (sand or gravel) for the exterior layer. This makes for an incredibly resilient, long-lasting roof protection defense system; but, exactly how long do asphalt shingles actually last? 

In this article, we’ll be answering this question. A-to-Z Roofing & Exteriors has been working with the industry’s highest-rated asphalt shingles since 1993. We have decades of first-hand experience with this type of roofing material, and we’ve seen how well it stands up to the harsh weather we have here in Colorado. 

Not All Asphalt Shingles Are Created Equal

It would be a mistake to say that all asphalt shingles last for the same amount of time. This is because there are different kinds of asphalt shingles, and each category has its own plusses and minuses.

Generally speaking, there are three main types of asphalt shingles used on pitched roofs here in Colorado. They are:

  • 3- Tab Strip Shingles. Strip shingles are the simplest and oldest type of asphalt shingles. They’re designed to lay flat against the roof, providing a slate-like look without the slate cost. 3-tab shingles are also the least expensive type of asphalt shingle. They weigh less, too, reducing the total load on rooftops.

    3-tab shingles can be expected to last between 20 and 25 years when properly installed. However, for roofs that endure constant, high-UV sun exposure in addition to high winds, heavy rain, and snow or hail, even the best 3-tab shingle roof can begin to show signs of wear within 10-15 years.
  • Dimensional/Architectural Shingles. Dimensional asphalt shingles are typically composed of more than one layer of base material and asphalt coating, and they can also have an extra layer of laminate adding to them for enhanced durability. These types of shingles are more expensive than 3-tab shingles, and they add depth to the look of the roof.

    Many homeowners choose dimensional shingles because of the wood shake-like look they provide in addition to their enhanced durability compared to 3-tab shingles.

    Dimensional shingles raise the bar for expected life after installation, and they can reasonably be expected to last for 30-50 years on most homes.
  • Premium Asphalt Shingles. Also called ‘luxury’ shingles, premium asphalt shingles exist in a class of their own. These shingles are the highest-quality shingles on the market, and they offer unparalleled durability while providing a classic, ‘old-world’ design feature. Premium shingles come in a wide variety of colors, widths, and dimensions, and homeowners can expect to pay 30-50% more for them compared to standard 3-tab or dimensional shingles.

    Premium asphalt shingles have an expected lifespan similar to that of dimensional shingles. You can expect a premium asphalt-shingled roof to last 30-50 years.
aging asphalt shingles

Factors that Affect Asphalt Shingle Lifespans

After a new asphalt shingle roof is installed, there’s going to be a wide variety of factors that play into how long it will last over time.

The most obvious of these factors are environmental. Direct sunlight, precipitation, and high-wind conditions will work together to erode the surface material over the years. Also, falling debris and the development of algae or mold can hasten the shingle degradation process.

Another important factor that affects asphalt shingle lifespan is ice formation and roof condensation. Ice formation can come as a result of poorly ventilated attic space, and if left untreated, the natural expansion and contraction of ice as it melts and refreezes can do serious damage to even the highest-quality asphalt shingles.

Roof condensation can also become a problem when water droplets form on roof shingles as a result of large temperature differences between the atmospheric air and the air in the attic. As strong as asphalt is, it will break down faster over time when there is constant moisture that is part of the equation.

Learn More about the Right Shingles for Your Roof

Get the peace of mind that comes from working with a qualified, proven roofer who knows how best to protect your home or business from the unpredictable weather we have here in Colorado.

To discuss your options for professional roof repair or replacement, contact our team today by calling (303) 781-8185. We look forward to earning your business and becoming your go-to roofing contractor for life!