How Long Does An Asphalt Roof Last?

Two-story middle-class home with white siding, black trim, and a light grey asphalt shingle roof and fronted by a freshly mown lawn


One of the most common questions about asphalt roofing in the Greater New Hampshire area is how long does a new roof last? Often it’s homebuyers wondering if they need to replace the roof of a home they might buy, and other times it’s people trying to decide which way to go on their own roof. Whichever your situation, longevity is only the beginning of the conversation.



Anatomy Of An Asphalt Shingle.

The asphalt of an asphalt shingle is only in the first layer of each shingle and exists to create a watertight seal between the shingle and your roof surface. The rest of the shingle, depending on quality, is a mixture of granules designed to protect your roof with varying levels of strength and reflectivity.

Some of the higher-end shingles, like some of the best products offered by Certainteed, use copper to eliminate organic growth and other surfacing products to limit staining or massively reduce the sun’s destructive and heating effect on your roof.


Types Of Asphalt Shingles.

Asphalt shingles are split into two main groupings:


  • Standard – your basic shingle that sits flat on your roof.
  • Architectural – multi-layered shingles that are three or more times thicker, and are often used to create a visual effect.


There is an ongoing argument whether architectural shingles offer better protection than a standard shingle, but there is no denying their beauty. In addition, they can be used to mimic more expensive and more maintenance-hungry roofing materials such as wood shingles and slate roofing.


Lifespan Of Asphalt Shingles.

Most asphalt shingles are expected to last up to 20 years, while some architectural shingles are rated up to 30 years. But the makeup of the shingles isn’t the whole story. Factors that can decrease the life of any asphalt shingle are as follow:


  • Extreme weather.
  • Extreme climate – wet or dry.
  • Failures in the underlying roof structure.
  • The quality of the installation process.
  • The quality of the underlying materials.


Even the best-made shingles won’t last long if they are installed improperly or are matched to inferior supporting products. Therefore, you should always ensure that the underlayment is the best possible match for the shingle product you are having installed. Most quality asphalt shingle manufacturers also manufacture the underlayment materials to go with their products.


Forget The Calendar And Use Your Eyes.

Most roofs will tell you when it is time for a new surface with visual cues. Clues that it’s time to start shopping for a roofing contractor include:


old asphalt shingles on home
  • Visible bare spots on the shingles.
  • Bubbling of the shingle surface.
  • Areas that are sagging.
  • Water leaks inside the home.


You should have your roof visually inspected at least once per year and after any major storms with high winds.


How To Maximize The Lifespan Of Your Roof

While there is no way around the lifespan of your asphalt shingles, there are things you can do to ensure your new roof goes the distance. Like any other part of your home, your roof needs regular maintenance to do its job properly.

Cleaning your roof at least once a year can help it stay healthy by preventing the growth of mold or mildew. Cleaning has the added benefit of getting you, or the person you’ve hired, up close and personal with your roofing surface. It’s the perfect time to check for signs of aging shingles or popped seams.

During the hard New England winters, make sure to keep the snow from getting too deep on your roof. Even a few inches of snow can add thousands of pounds to the load on your roof and weaken the structure. And if you notice an ice dam forming, you need to have it removed. Ice dams have been known to do tens of thousands of dollars worth of damage when allowed to grow.

If you are wondering if it’s time to replace the roof on your Greater New Hampshire area home, contact us at Jancewicz & Son for a free estimate.

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