Asphalt shingles are among the most popular roofing materials for houses in California. They offer many benefits to homeowners, including high durability, cost-effectiveness, low maintenance costs, and resistance to impacts, strong winds, and fire.
When considering asphalt shingles for a property, one of the most common questions homeowners ask is: “What is the average lifespan of asphalt shingle roofs?” Understanding the different types of asphalt roofs and their average service life can help you extend your asphalt roof’s lifespan.
Types of Asphalt Shingle Roofs
Determining your asphalt shingle roof’s lifespan depends on the asphalt shingles used in your roof’s construction. Most asphalt shingle roofs fall into three categories: 3-tab, architectural, and premium shingles.
Asphalt Shingles (3-Tab Shingles): 15 to 20 Years
Roofing made of 3-tab shingles is a common type of asphalt shingle roofing in California and nationwide. The name comes from the appearance of a shingle strip: it features two indentations, creating three tabs. 3-tab shingles are designed so contractors can lay them flat.
3-tab shingles’ average lifespan is 15 to 20 years, and they are the cheapest of the three asphalt shingle types. With proper ventilation and professional installation, you can extend the lifespan of a 3-tab shingle roof up to 30 years.
Asphalt Architectural Shingles: 20 to 30 Years
Architectural shingles, also known as dimensional shingles, are roofing materials designed to mimic the appearance of natural materials, such as cedar wood, slate, or wood shake. They feature a layered construction and a contoured look, which boosts their durability and wind resistance and reduces the need for asphalt roof repairs.
Although architectural shingles cost more than 3-tab shingles, they last longer and typically have longer warranties. These properties have made it the most common type of asphalt roof material in the United States. An adequately maintained architectural shingle roof can last for up to 30 years.
Premium Asphalt Shingles: 30 to 40 Years
Premium asphalt shingles, sometimes referred to as luxury shingles, are the highest-quality asphalt shingles available on the market.
Premium asphalt shingles typically have several layers, including a fiberglass mat, asphalt coating, ceramic granules, and adhesive. The exact composition may vary depending on the manufacturer and product line. They are typically constructed to resemble slate and feature a thicker and more durable construction than 3-tab or architectural shingles. These characteristics mean premium shingles have better curb appeal and higher durability than other asphalt shingle material.
As luxury products, premium asphalt shingles have the highest price. However, they also offer homeowners the best potential lifespan of the three materials: up to 40 years with proper care and maintenance.
Environmental Factors Affecting Your Asphalt Roof’s Lifespan
Regardless of where your house is located in California, every roof eventually experiences some type of degradation due to the weather. However, the type and intensity of your local weather conditions can affect your asphalt shingles’ lifespan.
For instance, studies have demonstrated that intense sunlight and the ultraviolet (UV) rays it carries can damage and crack asphalt. If you are in one of California’s sunniest regions, such as Riverside or San Bernardino counties, your roofing is at risk of premature damage and cracking.
Colder regions that experience hail can also prematurely shorten an asphalt roof’s lifespan. Studies have shown that hail damage can remove granules from the surface of the shingle, reducing the roof’s water-repelling ability. The study also suggests that hail damage is often confused with ordinary wear and tear. Consequently, minor damage often goes unnoticed until further and more severe damage occurs, such as broken edges, puncture damage, and other forms of degradation.
Seek the advice of a professional asphalt shingle roof contractor in Los Angeles, California, to determine whether your roof shingles have suffered hail damage and need repairs or replacement.
What You Can Do to Extend Your Roof’s Lifespan
Whether your asphalt roof uses 3-tab, architectural, or premium shingles, you should take the proper steps to ensure your roof is in good condition. Regular care and preventative maintenance can help you extend your roof’s lifespan beyond its average service life.
Have Your Roof Regularly Inspected
Schedule regular inspections with a skilled asphalt shingle roof contractor to ensure your roof remains in good shape. Roofing experts have the resources and knowledge to inspect your roof and may notice damage you might have missed.
When scheduling roof inspections with a local contractor, most will recommend at least one visit yearly. However, consider scheduling more frequent roof inspections if you live in an area with harsher weather conditions, such as long periods of high sunlight or frequent hail.
Keep the Roof and Gutters Free of Debris
The role of your gutters is to redirect rainwater. Clogged gutters prevent them from working correctly, introducing water damage to the edges of your roof. Debris that remains stuck on your shingles can stain and deteriorate your roof shingles, eventually introducing cracks or puncture damage.
Cleaning the roof and the gutters as often as necessary is crucial to ensure your shingles don’t sustain premature damage.
Use Proper Ventilation
Adequate ventilation for your attic helps keep the interior free of excess heat and moisture and extends the roof’s lifespan. Roof-mounted intake and exhaust vents help normalize the attic’s interior temperature and humidity levels.
During the summer, a properly working ventilation system prevents your attic from overheating during summer days and protects your shingles from temperature-related deterioration. During the winter and in periods of high humidity, the ventilation system removes the moisture before it can settle on the attic side of your roof deck and introduce moisture damage to your shingles.
Repair or Replace Damaged and Missing Shingles
Most long-time owners of asphalt shingle roofs eventually notice one or more of their shingles is either damaged, broken, or missing. If this happens to you, don’t wait. Failing to address damaged and missing shingles reduces your roof’s insulation, increases your energy bills, and elevates the risk of sustaining further roof damage. Water may also leak through damaged roofs, causing wood rot to reach your foundation or deck, resulting in costly, lengthy repairs.
A professional roofing contractor can repair shingles that have sustained light damage, such as tears or small cracks. Punctured, broken, or missing shingles are typically replaced instead.
Contact AJ Reyes Roofing For All Your Asphalt Roofing Needs
AJ Reyes Roofing is a professional roofing contractor based in Los Angeles with over 25 years of experience serving Southern California. If your asphalt shingle roofing requires an inspection or repairs, contact us for a free on-site estimate and advice on the ideal materials for your property.