What's the Life Expectancy of an Asphalt Roof

Friday, August 14th, 2020 by Amanda Ciufecu


Asphalt Shingled Home

With all the information about different roofing materials and various types of roofs, we'd like to stop and focus on one thing: asphalt shingles—specifically, the lifespan of asphalt shingles and why we at Klaus Larsen specialize in them. 

A Brief History

Asphalt shingles have been used since the 1920s and are still used in the majority of homes today. 3-tab shingles generally last 15 to 18 years on average and are cheaper, while architectural shingles can last 24 to 40 years. These numbers vary based on climate, installation, maintenance, and manufacturer.

Shingles and Temperature

Shingles are affected by weather, so shingles in colder places such as the North and Northeast tend to last 19-20+ years, while those found in the South and Southwest last around 14 years. Finally, something New Englanders have over the South!

Shingles are also affected by drastic temperature changes, as they cannot expand and contract as they should during normal temperature variations. Due to this, splits, cracks, and other damage can occur, allowing water to leak through, causing algae growth, fungal growth, and leaks. The excess water buildup can also increase shingle breakage in the wintertime due to excessive freezing and thawing, causing the shingles to wear down and lose their integrity.

The internal temperature of the house affects the shingles as well. Poor attic ventilation can cause extra heat to build up in the attic over the summer, effectively cooking the shingles and causing them to deteriorate prematurely and warp. In the winter, warm air travels up from the living space below, and if it's not vented out, it can cause the snow on top of the roof to melt and then refreeze, creating ice dams.

Varying Factors

Other factors that can affect life expectancy include the roof's angle, slope, and orientation. Higher pitch roofs tend to last longer because water quickly runs off the steeper slopes and into the gutter. Roofs facing the south will get more sunlight and therefore have a shorter life due to excessive heat, and so will a roof installed over an existing roof. Sloppy roof installations, short cuts, and inferior quality materials can degrade the quality and overall lifespan of your roof.

Condensation can also cause the roof deck to swell, making the deck and the shingles buckle and warp, eventually rotting the roofing deck. Even shingle color can affect their performance, as darker roofs tend to absorb more heat if the attic doesn't have adequate insulation.

IKO Shingles

The shingle manufacturer you choose can also impact the durability and life expectancy of the shingles, that's why we use IKO shingles. IKO shingles contain higher levels of asphalt than other manufacturers. Asphalt is what makes your shingles last longer, so the more of it, the better- for the most part. IKO shingles also have four strips of sealant to better hold the shingles together and a larger nailing strip to firmly keep the shingles in place. 

Worried Your Roof is on its Last Legs? Put a Klaus on your House!

If you're worried your roof may not survive much longer, call us at Klaus Larsen Roofing right away! We can further examine your roof to determine whether your roof needs to be repaired, or if it's nearing the end of its usable life. Call us at 1-845-335-7201 or click here for your FREE ESTIMATE.


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  • Arden
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Klaus Larsen Roofing of Hudson Valley

Hudson Valley, NY
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